I’m sure we’ve all come across movie download websites that promise “unlimited downloads” of your favorite movies. For what appears to be a reasonable fee, some offer a yearly or lifetime membership that allows you to get a hold of thousands of movies, ranging from classics to recent blockbusters homepage. And it’s all available right from the convenience of your own PC! Sounds like a great deal, right?
And better yet, many of these movie download websites promise you these great films in high DVD quality, or a format compatible with your Sony PSP, iPod, or entertainment system. Some don’t just offer movies, but music too! And for a one time membership fee? This looks too good to be true!
And unfortunately, it is.
Although I haven’t had a chance to investigate all of these movie download websites, I’ve done some digging on a popular one called The Movie Downloads (I cannot provide the full link for legal reasons, but you can Google it and read about it for yourself. Anyway, the site is very slick-looking, well-organized, and easy to read site that seems to clearly spell out everything it has to offer, from FAQs to tech support. By the professional layout of the homepage, it certainly looks legit.
Read on, and find out why you’ll feel like an idiot if you sign up…
What it claims: They boast unlimited downloads, a wide range of movies and music, and a variety of formats to choose from (.avi, divx, .mov, .mp3, etc). The service claims to be spyware/virus free (for those of you using Windows), and for mac users, The Movie Downloads says it’s totally mac friendly.
They even offer software (if you need it) to burn the files you download onto CDs and DVDs. With a tech support system in place, this site will refund your money if you are not satisfied for any reason.
All that’s left for you to do is sign up for their service, choose the membership option that’s best for you, then pay the $49.99 fee. From there, you should have instant access.
What really happens: Once you’re in, you define yourself as a mac or PC user, then select whether or not you’re an “Advanced” or “Beginner” user. For “Advanced” users, you are directed to download uTorrent (Windows) or Tomato Torrent (Mac).
Here’s the dumb part…
Programs like uTorrent and TomatoTorrent (other than having dumb names) are already available online for free! If you selected “Beginner” user, you’re simply directed to download Limewire, which is also free!. The bottom line is this: You never had to drop $49.99 in the first place!
Moral of the story: Movie download websites such as The Movie Downloads trap people who are a little less web/tech savvy by simply convincing them to pay good money for stuff that’s available free of charge.
Lesson #1 is this: Don’t believe free movie download websites that offer films/music/pictures/porn/beer for free. It ain’t gonna happen. Even if you see the occasional “free movie download” links on the Google ads displayed on my very own site, avoid them and click something else.
Lesson #2: Even if you are one step ahead of the crooks and are already an expert in using bit-torrent or P2P software, watch your back. Downloading gobs of movies, TV shows, and music using bit torrent sites/services such as can get you into a heap of legal trouble. Sure, thousands of other people (mostly kids) are doing it, they feel the thrill of “beating the system,” enjoy bragging about it, and the authorities don’t have the resources to police the entire internet (not yet, at least).