Playster and Colin Stratchan Copyright Abuses, Bait and Switch, False Advertising, Misleading Consumers, Supporting Spammers, Keeping the profits from questionable affiliate activities.
Playster and Colin Strachan the communications and publishing manager of Playster are reported for questionable activities and for promoting a 'bait and switch' scam designed to attract subscribers to sign up for a Playster free trial, with the lure of being able to download a free book in PDF format. The scam is that the PDF of the book is not available on Playster, yet Playster affiliates are busy filling up Google search results with spammy self-hosted wordpress websites.
When clicked on, sometimes one lands on a Playster landing page featuring a banner, offering the book in PDF form, using copyrighted book images without author permission. One must then sign up for a Playster free trial, only to find the PDF does not actually exist, a problem for consumers. The extent of the problem is significant in that many independant authors report problems with Playster and filing DMCA's. They appear not to be hosting PDFs, yet claim to do so in such a misleading and persistent manner, that someone searching for a book title on Google may find many fake websites operated by Playster affiliates.
In brief, the scam involves using author names, book titles and copyrighted images scraped from Amazon, having affiliates make websites that then confuse consumers into signing up with Playster, where they find the PDF is not there. Playster claim to submit DMCA takedown requests on behalf of authors who complain, yet links can persist for some weeks, or fresh websites appear, bearing the same affiliate code. In one instance, an affiliate code was linked to 125+ DMCA infringements. When Playster were made aware, they did nothing to terminate the affiliate, and Colin Strachan, the communications manager, had nothing more to say.
Playster clearly pay the affiliates and thus must know who they are, but choose not to act and thus their behaviour is somewhat questionable. The company Playster appears a fresh start-up (2015), but there is nothing new, fresh or innovative about building a file sharing or media downloading venture based on spamming, upsetting authors or abusing copyright. There are also complaints in the consumer arena about not being able to cancel a Playster subscription, and seems a close variation on the Usenet Nl scam (offering free trials and then not allowing cancellations). Playster are not recommended for ebook downloads, for the content advertised is often not present, and is not recommended for independant authors, for once spammers have access to your book descriptions, one may find one spends months of ones life filing DMCA takedown requests.
There are literally many thousands of fake book listings on the web that promote Playster. Playster keep the commissions earned when authors complain and turn nothing over to the author, which is unethical as well as fraudulent. The screenshots show the misleading advertising that Playster promote, in violation of authors rights.
Other unhappy authors should contact Colin Strachan the communications manager, as well as to file DMCA complaints with Google, and to contact the Playster site hosts. One can also send a formal cease and desist letter to Playster, that Playster are legally obliged to honour to avoid legal reprecussions later (although in this case they did not) Authors are also advised to take screenshots of offending links and to use video capture software to demonstrate the links in action.
Review about: Playster Free Trial.
Reason of review: False advertising of authors works.
Preferred solution: Settle the loss and clean up their act.
I didn't like: Misleading advertising, Degrading the works of independant authors, Keeping the proceeds from questionable affiliate behaviour, Misleading consumers.