Notepad++ dev slams Google-clogging 'parasite'

Imitator seemingly swiftly sunk from search after plea to users for help

Updated The developer of popular text editor Notepad++ is warning users to beware of a "parasite website" that he says has dubious intentions.

Programmer Don Ho told users this month about a site with the domain that he said showed up near the top of Google search results for the open source app. The Register was able to confirm the presence of in some search results when we looked earlier.

The dot-plus site, which states at the bottom of every page that it is in no way official nor affiliated with Notepad++, "harbors a hidden agenda," Ho claimed.

"It is riddled with malicious advertisements on every page," he argued. "These advertisements aim to deceive unsuspecting Notepad++ users into clicking on them, generating profits for the site owners." By that, Ho appears to mean someone is or was effectively making money off a site that does very little other than point out the existence of Notepad++ and the official domain.

Ho urged Notepad++ users to report the website to Google and, as of writing, it appears the page is no longer showing up when searching for Notepad++. Turning a spotlight on the dot-plus domain may have helped dump it from results, killing off whatever passing ad revenue it may have been scoring.

While it may no longer be occupying a top spot on Google search results, it's still worth looking at to see what the deal is.

A look around the site reveals a bare-bones domain with little in the way of content. There are a few blog posts and how-to pages that could've been written by an AI and not much else, but no ads, at least today. In addition to that, all the download links for Notepad++ on redirect to the official website, making at best pointless. was registered in 2019 by an unknown party, and it began showing up on the web the following year. A crawl through its pages captured by the Internet Archive reveals the website was largely unchanged in the few years since it appeared, until last year.

Archived copies of from early 2023 show areas reserved for advertising that weren't there in earlier snapshots and aren't present on the site right now. As we said, adverts may have been placed there to make a fast buck on the back of the app's popularity.

As we've noted in the past, SEO spam and questionable websites clogging up Google search results is a growing problem, and seems to be another example of this.

When in doubt, always download software directly from the source - in this case, the official Notepad++ website linked above. Some miscreants have in the past tried to disguise malware as Notepad++ downloads.

We've reached out to Don Ho and the owners of for further comment, and we'll let you know if we hear from them. ®

Updated to add

The owner of the website has got in touch with The Register and suggests that maybe Don Ho's criticism "seems a bit overzealous."

"I have never spoken to Mr. Ho, but I am a fan of his work and the Notepad++ program. As you can see, my site (which is about 5 years old) hosts a small number of informational blog posts to help other users/fans of Notepad++ learn how to use the program," they said.

They explained that the site doesn't run adverts, malicious or otherwise, and hasn't for many years. It did sport some ads a few years ago, while under the ownership of a colleague, but even then all adverts were vetted by the Google AdSense platform before being used, we're told.

"While I do understand Don's concern for the community, especially in light of bad actors using his program as a cover to spread malware, his targeting of my site seems a bit overzealous," they concluded.

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like