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©03 The Media Desk
The Desk checks out almost everything. No, maybe it checks out Everything, almost.
In any case. It got a couple of emails almost back to back in one of its multiple accounts that got its attention.
One of the biggest rackets on the Web is AVS services. For those who don't know AVS is the Adult Verification Services. They are third party outfits that hold a database of members who have demonstrated, usually through a credit card, that they are who they say they are, and are over the age of majority in whatever state they reside, usually 18, 19, or 21, whichever.
In the early days of the Web most of these services were fairly respectable, some of them required your producing an official ID to their agent, who then activated your account, some charged for this service others didn't some were a division of a larger outfit, there were, and are, all manner of variations on the theme. Now many are little more than a front for porn houses and casinos who are supposed to keep minors out of their sites. Except any half-swift fourteen year old with time on their hands can enter enough numbers into the credit card field and eventually get in. Then some housewife in Boise has to explain to her husband why she is being charged membership to a smut broker in New Jersey.
Some of the mainstream outfits have their own AVS, they do NOT sell their list to SPAMMERS, they do not bill recurring charges unless you sign up from jump for those services, and they do not run spurious charges to your card for 'active gravity usage'. Others are more or less independant operations with a code of ethics and hold themselves accountable for their information and what is done with it.
Some of the others, no the Desk is not saying the below examples are this type of business: charge you for everything and then some and when you protest to the card company you find out that by agreeing to their membership terms you have agreed to pay for sunshine and pixie dust as well as gravity, but you never know.
Now the next question. What if you NEED some sort of AVS? Which one is the best one? Well, there is an easy answer to that. If you want to play at an online casino, see which one, or ones, they use. Then sign up with one of them but make sure you print out and READ and UNDERSTAND everything associated with it BEFORE you sign up. That goes for both the membership to the AVS, and the Casino as well. Including the fine print about the ongoing renewals, surcharges, processing and other fees. ALSO read the part about premium services and options to see if they apply to what you are signing up for and whether or not you want them and IF you can get out of them if you don't.
The Desk had an AVS once upon a time, hhhmmmm... about seven years ago now... (wow, it HAS been that long), a really and truly free one at that. But that company was swallowed whole and unchewed by another one, then another, and then later whoever it was now decided to void all existing free accounts but you may upgrade your membership by paying the low annual premium of... Thanks, but no thanks. Bye bye AVS.
And life goes on.
Now to the emails.
Yes the Desk has upward of a dozen and a half WORKING email accounts that collect SPAM on every continent except Antarctica. It gets Portuguese SPAM in Brazil, Malay SPAM in SE Asia, even Russian SPAM in the former USSR.
But these were in American English and raised the price of FREE from $19.95 a month to either almost forty dollars a month or even Fifty a Month if you picked that service.
Fifty bucks for a FREE AVS. rrriiighgghhht
The Cost of FREE has indeed gone up.
Free at $38.31 a month
[The Quoted paragraphs below were taken from the membership validation page of the two services referenced in the below paragraphs. NOTE, the AVS ID's mentioned are actually free, however, the issuance of said AVS is contingent on accepting at least one month of membership to the partner site.]
Your IP address 209.9x.xxx.xxx will be recorded. All fraudulent transactions will be investigated. By clicking on the SUBMIT button, you are agreeing to the following: I acknowledge that my free XXXPassport ID is FREE even if I don't purchase the premium website, Tempted AVS. My FREE XXXPassport password will not expire and I will not be charged to access its thousands of websites. My FREE XXXPassport password will be emailed to my valid email address. I acknowledge I will be charged $38.31 for a full membership to your partner's site, Tempted AVS. I further acknowledge that today I will be charged a $2.68 processing fee. Even if I cancel my membership to Tempted AVS, my FREE XXXPassport ID will remain valid. For my convenience, this full membership automatically renews every 30 days unless I cancel. I may cancel by contacting their Customer Service by email mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting their Customer Service http://help.pythonvideo.com/. I certify that I am 18 years of age or over and am permitted by law to view adult materials and I understand that the contents of this site are of a sexual nature. I am fully authorized to use this credit card. Any receipts will appear on my credit card statement as MSBill.COM and/or Paycom.net. I have read and agree to the TERMS and CONDITIONS http://www.xxxpassport.com/terms.html of Membership. Bottom of Form 1 =====
RealFreeAVSEnd of Quoted Material
By clicking on the Join Now button, you are agreeing to the following: * You acknowledge that your free RealFreeAVS ID will never expire and you will never be charged for it. You further acknowledge that today you will be charged $49.95 USD for a full membership to Boobtropolis or Hardcrank. Even if you cancel your membership to Boobtropolis or Hardcrank, your RealFreeAVS ID is free and will never expire. For your convenience, this full membership automatically renews every 30 days unless you cancel. You may cancel by contacting them here for Boobtropolis or here for Hardcrank. You certify that you are 18 years of age or over and are permitted by law to view adult materials and you understand that the contents of this site are of a sexual nature. You are fully authorized to use this credit card. You certify that your membership will be used for your own personal enjoyment and that you will not under any condition, share or transfer your membership. You have read and agree to the TERMS and CONDITIONS of Membership. ---
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