Ad supported service providers like Bravenet are often ok, because the ads are often not too intrusive while the services (like showing me who visits my site here) are great.
Unfortunately, Bravenet took a turn for the worse. At first I thought it was a fluke. After a restart I visited the same Bravenet page a 2nd time and got the same problem – 94 .exe files downloading themselves onto my desktop (It would have been more, but I eventually geve up trying to hit “cancel” or “quit” and just used the “force-quit” command). How they managed to do this while I was using a Mac and running a Firefox based browser (Camino) is beyond me, but needless to say I was very annoyed. I’m just happy that .exe files won’t run on a Mac so I don’t have to worry about any spyware infections or the like.
Free is good, but it’s not worth that. I filed a complaint with Bravenet but since they allowed this to happen I’ve decided to remove all the Bravenet.com code from my webpages.
UPDATE: One thing in Bravenet’s favor is the fact that their tech support responded to my complaint faster than any online company I’ve seen in a long, long time. I don’t mean a computer generated something, I mean a living human being asked me to clarify some things and then responded again once I did so.
Bravenet might yet redeem themselves. We’ll see.