OT: Nearly free MP3s -- but a problem

Guys, please forgive the intrusion into your newsgroup's topic ... I'm
trying to reach a large number of people in order to influence events.
And save people loads of problems. And make a nice resource more
(safely) available to those same people.
Everybody knows that MP3s at $0.99 a pop aren't exactly a wonderful
deal, considering downloading saves the recording industry the cost of
producing CDs, printing, jewel cases, distribution, billing, etc.,
etc.. Enter AllOfMP3, a Russian site which is apparently legal (so far)
in Russia and charging around a tenth to a fifth of that, depending on
the bit rate (i.e., the file sizes) you're downloading. They say they
contribute their fair share to the recording industry, but of course if
they do the artists are not likely to be getting anything much out of
it. Despite the questionable ethics of their operation ... and of
dealing with their operation ... that's still a tempting proposition
You can argue the ethics 'til we're all blue in the face, but I'll say
this much about it -- if you're downloading music that you've already
bought (CD's albums, tapes) then I personally don't have many qualms
about it. I'll gladly pay $1 to $3 an album to avoid having to convert
even CDs to MP3s, not even to speak of vinyl and cassettes, and I don't
feel like the artist has been shorted. OK, well that's at least
somewhat debateable, but I figure I've done my part for the artist if
I've bought their music in whatever form, and certainly I figure I've
done enough for the recording industry.
Now, AllOfMP3 makes it easy to find and download whatever you want, at
whatever bit rate you specify. The BIG problem comes in making
payment. They gladly accept credit cards, naturally, but are YOU going
to give your credit card to a Russian company via their Web site? MANY,
MANY PEOPLE DO, however. AllOfMP3 is one of the most popular sites on
the Net right now. And it turns out (not particularly surprisingly)
that SOME people HAVE begin reporting credit card fraud (ostensibly
originating is Russia) after paying AllOfMP3, although the number and
percentage -- SO FAR -- are apparently rather small. It's probably not
AllOfMP3 that is at fault, but rather the payment processing company
that they use, or some hacker who has gotten in via a backdoor because
of shoddy security, or just a dishonest employee.
BUT, AllOfMP3 offers another way to pay -- anonymously. No, not PayPal
(which has stopped dealing with them directly, perhaps because of the
thorny legal and ethical questions), but rather another Russian company
called XROST ... which DOES deal with PayPal, or so they have said. You
buy a credit in increments of $10 and then you can apply that credit
anonymously and pretty securely to AllOfMP3. You're buffered by two
layers of anonymity, and although that's no absolute guarantee, it
appears (from doing some behind the scenes research) that it's highly
unlikely that anyone would ever be able and willing to go so far as to
find out the names of those who download file from this "service".
Not so fast, though. XROST isn't working, and apparently hasn't been
working for several months at least. A disclaimer on their site
indicates:
"Currently, our service is being relocated to a new payment provider in
order to improve security and performance. During the relocation you
will be unable to order new PIN codes; you will still be able to see
your previous orders."
Shucks -- looks like we're snookered if we want to keep ourselves
relatively safe. That is unless we can light a fire under someone or
get things moving in another direction.
TOWARDS THAT END, if you are buying MP3s from this AllOfMP3 service,
please STOP. And ask anyone you know who is using the service to stop
also. Instead, send a message to these people to indicate that you are
not going to support them unless they come up with a secure and
anonymous way to pay. Send the same message to XROST. Indications are
they may be the same people, but even if they aren't the impact of your
message is thereby increased by sending a message to both Internet
entities.
Reply to
Crabby Patty
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Doesn't seem to be a scam, from the experience of many, many people. As I wrote, the number of people experiencing fraud seems to be a very, very small fraction of those paying via credit cards, and most of those reporting seem to think the payment provider at the Russian end is at fault. And like I said, this is one of the most popular sites on the Net right now, so if this was a scam it would become widely known pretty quickly. Giving these people your card number, though, has got to be a bad decision. Obviously, they're making enormous amounts of money and don't feel the need to provide more security for their customers. It will take a significant boycott and/or a lot of messages to get them to take notice that there is a problem.
MM wrote:
Reply to
Crabby Patty

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