Playster Playster.Com / Colin Strachan (Communications Manager) False and Misleading Advertising, Bait and Switch, DMCA Violations, Ignoring DMCA takedown requests, supporting bookjackers and spammers, deceiving people into signing up for free trial in order to access PDFs of authors books NOT in their database Internet
Playster.Com 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.
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.
This is confirmed by another author, where a post on 247news.net explains the scam.
In brief, the scam involves using author names, book titles and copyrighted images scraped from Amazon or Goodreads, 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, 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.
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. Authors are also advised to take screenshots of offending links and to use video capture software to demonstrate the links in action.