How common are pay for download warez scams?
June 21, 2008 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Are warez sites that are a "one time payment for unlimited downloads" basically all a scam?

I was bumping around the net yesterday and was running into a lot of warez sites that all want a one time payment of about 5 bucks for unlimited downloads from their database. I'll skip any example links, but im sure anyone could find this type of thing.

So what is the deal with these types of warez sites? Are they any more or less "safe" than a normal piratebay type torrent site?

I assume they just charge more than they say they will for whatever small print reason - I mean, why would anyone have trust in such a site? But i would also assume that they actually deliver some sort of product.

I am generally fascinated by the warez world as it is something that is quite paradoxical. Its hard to find any sort of valid theoretical discussion about them anywhere, yet they exist a dime a dozen. I guess its mostly young high school guys that keep most of it in motion - but thats only an assumption. So i guess my follow up question is if anyone knows of good resources that talk more theory and academic discussions on warez in general? Anytime I try to search for this sort of thing, all i get is actual warez download sites. Thanks!
posted by figTree to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Many of these sites will give you a download link to free software after you pay. Five dollars might get you a link to Kazaa, for example.
posted by null terminated at 11:07 AM on June 21, 2008

I would imagine that many of them will sell your payment data to ID thieves. Pure speculation, though.
posted by ®@ at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2008

A lot of them will claim to have the software you're looking for but don't or when you download it, it wont work.
posted by missmagenta at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2008

If you're not sure how their business is sustainable ($5 to cover perpetual bandwidth costs?), and they're selling illegal goods, ...
posted by zippy at 11:35 AM on June 21, 2008

Whats there to know about warez? Since I was a little ape with a 1200 baud modem theyve been available. People like to crack games and copy them. Others like to brag about cracking them. Others like to make a little money on the side.

I imagine the answer to your question depends on the site. Most would probably just thank you for your credit card number, name, and address and go off on a identity theft spree. Others might just send you a link to their own branded torrent client and tell you to search at mininova. The client is probably loaded with spyware too.

Considering how easy it is to get any software, the idea of paying someone for this privilege should make you think scam instantly.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:49 AM on June 21, 2008

Why would anyone pay for such things now that everything in the universe is available in a torrent, and why would any proprietor take on so much risk for so little return? $5 won't do much toward their future legal bills.

Also, no website that charges a one-time $5 fee is worth your time.

posted by rokusan at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2008 [3 favorites]

The problem with downloading warez these days is that they might be modified to include viruses or Trojans. If you want free software, just get it off the pirate bay.
posted by delmoi at 12:24 PM on June 21, 2008

why would any proprietor take on so much risk for so little return? $5 won't do much toward their future legal bills.

You could take suckers' money then not deliver anything - and because you don't deliver any pirated software, you won't be arrested for distributing pirated software. It's not like your customers are going to sue.

This would also work with drugs and child porn.
posted by Mike1024 at 12:51 PM on June 21, 2008

Something that hasn't been addressed by the above responses:

You mention you're interested in the inner-workings of the "warez" scene, and I think you're looking in the wrong place when you just look for "warez theory". What you're really interested is in The Scene, i.e. the catch-all term describing the various groups who actually release the software, movies, games, etc etc... This is where it all begins, and it just trickles down from there: first to the private FTPs, then to the private p2p hubs, then to the private torrent trackers, and only then to the public (all of this happening within mere hours, usually).

These dollar-bin warez sites would be the last-of-the-last to ever get anything just because they're working at the bottom of the barrel, and actually going against the grain of the scene (in trying to be the profiteers of it all). You may think they have some sort of authority but that's just because their websites often have a glossy appearance (and the websites, surprise surprise, are 90% of the time pirated layouts from places like

You may also be interested in a little indie webseries called Welcome to the Scene to see how it actually gets played out, in a sort of humorous dramatic kind of way.
posted by tybeet at 3:03 PM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Probably total scams, but there are also sites that will 'sell' torrents, usenet software, and links to files hosted on 1-click sites like rapidshare. All of this stuff is available elsewhere with no payment needed.
posted by unmake at 8:06 PM on June 21, 2008

For a somewhat substantive news type site covering goings-on in p2p, you might check out TorrentFreak.
posted by whir at 8:55 PM on June 24, 2008

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