For years, users complained about difficulty in downloading the free version of RealPlayer. When the free version was found, there were additional complaints of pop-ups, registration problems, file association hijacking, and icons that were added just about everywhere. RealNetworks was faced with a decision. Address the user complaints or keep it Real by ignoring them while continuing to pitch Real Player Plus and associated pay services.
What happened next was an example of how "keeping it Real goes wrong" (small rant/article at Ars Technica).

Update: Here's a direct link to the Realplayer 10 free download, no spyware/adware on this version according to Real's website.