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Phillyman

Restricting Abuse of the Download Manager

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As you may have noticed, Retromags has turned on download restrictions for a few key member groups. Over the last 6 months I have let all registered members download as many magazines as they wished from our Download Manager. In that time all I see is rampant abuse of the system. Everything from using throw away emails for registering, to running scripts that automatically hammer the system by trying to click on every download at once. I can easily tell when files are being downloaded by a human...versus when a script is doing the work. All this does is cause grief for myself and the rest of our community. 8 out of the top 10 downloaders of our releases are members with ZERO posts, ZERO comments, ZERO contributions to anything here at Retromags. Yet each of these members have downloaded 800+ files. I see no reason to allow them to continue to cause trouble and slow down the speeds of your downloads.

In a perfect world, servers and bandwidth would be free. I would be able to let every visitor to Retromags download as much as they wanted. However this is not how the world works. The two most commonly abused member groups here at Retromags are Newcomers and Members. The group Newcomers is where everyone starts, so of course it has the most abuse. Since I can't account for every throw away email address website out there, this is the one that will really feel the squeeze.

Newcomers* - This group may download as MANY files as they want from FileFactory, Newsgroups and any other externally hosted file service. But as for DIRECTLY downloading magazines from our Download Manager, this group will be restricted to 1 file per day. Users in this group will be promoted to Members when they reach 25 posts on the forums. Staff has been notified to delete/ban anyone posting SPAM messages. I will not explain what constitutes SPAM, you know when you are adding value to a conversation.

Members* - This group may download as MANY files as they want from FileFactory, Newsgroups and any other externally hosted file service. But as for DIRECTLY downloading magazines from our Download Manager, this group will be restricted to 10 files per day. That means this group has the ability to download 3,650 files over the course of a year. It may take you a little while to grab everything, but you can still more than keep up with our releases.

Now I realize that many of our members may not have time to post, but are able to donate a few bucks towards operating costs. It would be unfair if I did nothing to recognize those efforts. So if you remember back in the day we had "Premium Memberships". Well we are bringing back those groups as 4 distinct Patron groups.

Weekly Patron - This group is for members who just need a handful of magazines. They are allowed to directly download 200 files per week.

Monthly Patron - This group is for members who want a good portion of our Download Manager. They are allowed to directly download 500 files per month.

Yearly Patron - This group is for members who want everything in our Download Manager and will settle for nothing less. They are allowed to directly download without restrictions!

Lifetime Patron - This group is for members who want everything in our Download Manager for the remainder of all time. I have also heard a rumor that members with 500+ posts on the forums get magically promoted to this group.


Finally, that brings us to the remaining groups...

Moderators, Super Moderators and Team Members - These groups have no restrictions on directly downloading files. They essentially have the same download rights as Lifetime Patron/Yearly Patron.

None of this should be a surprise to anyone, as last year's mass email laid out that anyone who donated for us to move to the dedicated server would be rewarded with unlimited downloads.

EDIT: As of 12-12-2015 I have increased the values to 5 files per day for Newcomers and 15 files per day for Members.

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Good Stuff ! I have and will always donate as much as I can to support this wonderful website, for the price levels of what we get here, everything is totally worth it !

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Good Stuff ! I have and will always donate as much as I can to support this wonderful website, for the price levels of what we get here, everything is totally worth it !

Thank you Tolust. Its members like you that make the Retromags community great. We want to encourage people to be active on this site. Come chat us up on the forums, come help us find missing Magazine Covers, come help us build up the databases with information. If all Retromags was about, was giving people a download method, I could just stick everything up on Newsgroups where it would be available for years. But we are about coming together as a community to preserve all aspects of video game magazines, not just the pages, but the history behind these magazines.

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I think this an extreme solution which reflects what seems to be Retromag's self-imposed isolation. The way I see it, interest in old mags and interest in old software are two sides of the same coin: people bought games because of the magazines, and wanted magazines because they wanted info on games. So if GOG is basically the residual face of the older game economy, why not work out a deal with them? $1800 is a paltry sum... surely the GOG people can understand the benefits, and they'd assist with resale negotiations with publishers besides. Imagine if when you got a game, you also got all the reviews/strategies associated with that game. People could play the game and compare notes afterward. Retirees in particular would probably enjoy reflecting on days gone by with friends.

Or you could try Patreon. Open Game Art's admin draws 12k/yr for basically sitting on his ass and doing a tad bit of categorization... you'll probably do better. Anyway considering the effort involved and personal expenditures of the contributors/staff, $1800 should be chump change.

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Make sense to me... 1. It actually gives me a bit of incentive to be a more active member in this community (which is very amazing might i add) and 2. It would eventually weed out the abusers and leave the people that have a genuine interest in classic gaming magazines

P.S... Do you guys have like a Retromags T-Shirt or something, Cause that would rock!

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I think this is a reasonable measure. Honestly, I have tried downloading more than 3 in one day, and reached the bandwidth limit. There aren't a whole lot of magazines that I haven't already downloaded, though (since I got a ton from a torrent years ago on Underground Gamer). I doubt the people who are abusing the system are actually reading these magazines, and really, they should be going after a torrent instead.

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Torrents have been cracked down hard. Just look at PirateBay and Kickass: nobody's seeding anymore. Not even VPNs are safe... Windows 10 is banned. The way I see it, another Underground Gamer will appear and this site will go under again regardless. *shakes head*

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Underground-Gamer was predominantly about obtaining game ROM's. Magazines were more a side or by product and most magazines that appeared there were readily available on sites like Retromags or OGM. In other words hardly ANY magazine content was scanned for their site. To put it bluntly their members just downloaded the heck of sites like ours, or torrents, then took the credit when they uploaded the files there. So I think it's a little bit off the mark stating that sites like ours will "go under again" if another torrent site magically appears at some point in time.

However, while Phillyman can run the site any way he chooses to, I do personally find it "tacky" by forcing people to stump up donations for increased download rights. But that's just my view. Unfortunately by running the site on a forum based setup it just leaves you open to abuse of the system for people to get what they want. If you think it's bad here you should see the crap we got over at TheCoverProject, a site for preserving game covers etc. People just created ,basically shit, just to get the necessary posts to grab everything.

Over at OGM I run WordPress and everything is available to everyone. There are no restrictions whatsoever. And for all of that in nearly five years the site has been running and over 2500 magazines scanned and made available for download I can count the number of donations from people on the fingers on one hand.

The sad fact is that 99.99% people seem to have the belief that they are entitled to have everything they want without having to contribute anything towards getting their fix. No donations towards acquiring magazines, or scanning equipment, or even hosting costs. They don't even post a comment on the site. Such people are what I call "bottom dwellers". If this kind of person is dealt to here by the measures Phillyman has adopted then I have absolutely NO sympathy for them and the site is truly better off without them. If my download server sysop says the downloads are killing the system I will likely be forced to implement similar issues over at OGM no matter how I feel about it if it means keeping direct downloads available for active contributors.

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I don't see what the problem is. Free members can still download mags. And if you post in the forums even sporadically, you can upgrade your status fairly fast. And 10 mags a day is very generous. First of all, the average person won't read more than 3 or 4 mags a day front to back unless they are cramming them out. Secondly, if we say the average size of a mag is 100 megs (a LOW estimate, from what I have seen) than 10 mags is a gig worth of bandwidth coming down. And thats just for one user. I feel 10 mags a day is generous.

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Yep. If you don't have a credit card most countries likely have some sort of disposable pre-paid credit card you can buy at the local post shop or suchlike (In New Zealand we have Prezzie cards for example) that you can use to "buy" yourself an upgraded membership if you cannot cope with the restrictions. I'm sure Phillyman would much rather people scanned and submitted mags and helped with database info anyway but there's no accounting for those people who don't want to do absolutely anything except leech.

Edited by KiwiArcader

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The big thing is that there's no distinction in this pricing between poor countries and rich countries. $20 dollars is a lot easier to come by in English speaking nations than non-English speaking nations (Africa excluded... Nigeria is a poorhouse), but English is the language apparent of the internet. Admittedly, accomodating for these persons is easier said than done, as it's virtually impossible to know for sure where a person is from on the internet.

I have a theory about what happened with the downloaded magazines. A Google search reveals that character fan sites are archiving them on their servers for purposes of general access. Relevant articles are culled from the mags and put in a database. The mags themselves are apparently retained.for whatever purpose. There are of course also pirate sites which collect magazines indiscriminate of their age and lump them all together. Are they bottom feeders? Perhaps one person's bottom feeder is another's Robin Hood. Also important to remember is that the most secure pirates are in fact in the business of deliberately undermining the west... piracy endures because there's no reaching it in Russia, where Putin is said to smile every time a Western company reports a loss for the quarter.

Honestly though, I think very few people are aware that this site exists. This is both good and bad. On the one hand, the site is only known by people looking to reuse the magazines; on the other, collectors do not know the site exists and that's probably a good thing. If merchants knew this site was trying to scan all the mags, the auction prices for them would soar. Computer Game Review mags are already ridiculously priced.... Old games go for very little precisely because emulators and ROMs exist. Comic readers and pdfs are the magazine equivalent. The more money this site is perceived to be making, the more it will cost to expand it.

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I think this topic is very reasonable. Order must be and point is taken. By the way - if you actually want to read 1 magazine completely - you will need a heck of a time. Like a half of the day. So there is no point to download any more magazines only to "own" them. Anyway - I'm a collector too and this is nice to actually have a right to download 10 magz per day for free. Other thing is donation system. It's very logic and generous in fact. Imagine all this hard work to scan every page correctly, manage colors and other design stuff. Firstly - uploader must own a magazine (some of them are very expensive if you trying to find near mint quality). Second - Uploader must have pretty good scaning hardware to produce very good quality scans (even bigger investment). And lastly - as I mentioned above - hard and time consuming process by scanning it.

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I don't see what the problem is. Free members can still download mags. And if you post in the forums even sporadically, you can upgrade your status fairly fast. And 10 mags a day is very generous. First of all, the average person won't read more than 3 or 4 mags a day front to back unless they are cramming them out. Secondly, if we say the average size of a mag is 100 megs (a LOW estimate, from what I have seen) than 10 mags is a gig worth of bandwidth coming down. And thats just for one user. I feel 10 mags a day is generous.

Exactly, many of our releases are now starting to come in at around 200MB in size. So basically we are giving members who just signed up 1.4GB of downloads per week for just registering. For those members that make it to Member status, now you are talking about 14GB worth of downloads per week.

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Exactly, many of our releases are now starting to come in at around 200MB in size. So basically we are giving members who just signed up 1.4GB of downloads per week for just registering. For those members that make it to Member status, now you are talking about 14GB worth of downloads per week.

I don't understand the logic of 200-400MB magazines in any case (unless they are 90s era PC mags with hundreds of pages). I do understand the need to have those highly detailed scans on hand for preservation purposes (although they might be better served in the Smithsonian), but I don't see what use casual readers have for them. At 720p they look much bigger than in real life, and are really kind of unreadable except when downscaled. They certainly don't recreate the original experience of the magazine from an aesthetic standpoint, instead looking grainy and textured where the real mag has the appearance of solid color to the naked eye. And of course, JPGs don't authentically source the image anyway... only PNG does.

I don't think casual readers want to spend that much time downloading magazines, either.

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The sad fact is that 99.99% people seem to have the belief that they are entitled to have everything they want without having to contribute anything towards getting their fix. No donations towards acquiring magazines, or scanning equipment, or even hosting costs. They don't even post a comment on the site. Such people are what I call "bottom dwellers". If this kind of person is dealt to here by the measures Phillyman has adopted then I have absolutely NO sympathy for them and the site is truly better off without them. If my download server sysop says the downloads are killing the system I will likely be forced to implement similar issues over at OGM no matter how I feel about it if it means keeping direct downloads available for active contributors.

Right on point, lets be honest for a second. From an administrative standpoint, when I see a new account created here at Retromags, it could be the next E-Day, Areala, Marktrade, Sean697.....who actively add value to this site. On the flip side, that new account could be the next one of these....

@alliener - used some 126.com Chinese email address and downloaded 1112 files, only visitied Retromags on 10 seperate days. No posts, no contributions.

@bickman2k - used a gmail address, has 839 downloads, only visited Retromags on 4 seperate days. No posts, no contributions.

@loismustdie - used a yahoo address, has 810 downloads, only visitied Retromags 1 day. Yup, he downloaded 810 files in 1 freaking day. No posts, no contributions.

@dea2015 - used some 163.com Chinese email address and downloaded 740 files, only visited Retromags on 10 seperate days. No posts, no contributions.

12_10_2015_8_21_12_AM.png

Are these the people I should be worrying about providing unlimited downloads to? No, I can't be bothered to worry about these users. So there needs to be a system in place that discourages leeching.....and rewards participation. To that new member that just signed up to Retromags, set yourself apart from these other accounts. Come join us in the forums, come help us gather information.....and if you absolutely have no time to help us out....feel free to donate a few dollars so we can keep the lights on. Everyone can still download our magazines, but the days of 800+ files being downloaded in an afternoon......are gone!

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I'm sure Phillyman would much rather people scanned and submitted mags and helped with database info anyway but there's no accounting for those people who don't want to do absolutely anything except leech.

On this point, absolutely! As a matter of fact...all of our Patron groups will have the ability to be earned through other methods.

Weekly Patron - This group can be earned by uploading 5 missing Magazine Covers, or by indexing 1 magazine in our database.

Monthly Patron - This group can be earned by uploading 25 missing Magazine Covers, or by indexing 5 magazines in our database

Yearly Patron - This group can be earned by uploaidng 50 missing Magazine Covers, or by indexing 10 magazines in our database

Lifetime Patron - This group can be earned by uploading 100 missing Magazine Covers, or by indexing 25 magazines in our database. This group can also be earned by reaching 500 posts on the forums.

Once a member reaches one of these goals, they can simply contact E-Day or myself to generate a voucher that zeroes out the cost of the membership. Of course I will lay out the fine points of this system in a separate post. We don't want people ripping covers from other websites and uploading them here.....just to achieve Patron status.

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Thanks for reporting this dead link, I have redownloaded the file from our Download Manager and reuploaded it to our FileFactory account at the following address

http://filebox.filefactory.com/retromags

That took about 4 minutes to fix, I then took another 3 minutes to go to 4Shared and Mega to provide two more additional links. Now that record for GamePro Issue 1 has FOUR different methods for our members to retrieve that release. Now of course I am doing this as an example. The Staff here at Retromags will only really concern themselves with the Direct and Filefactory links, but we do leave additional "USER Provided" download methods for our community to fill in. When you have 900+ releases, E-Day and I can't keep 4-5 different download methods working for you guys. We need some members of this community to step forward and help provide redundancy for their fellow friends here.

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You'd have a lot more interest from people wanting to donate if you arranged a system for compensating acquirers for their expenses (might even get Archive.org on board). You could have a system in place to match acquirers with opportunities, to get the lowest price they are willing to pay. The system would arrange their automatic reimbursement via e-deposit (once the funds were available). With such a system in place you'd have an advantage over collectors at market level.

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I think all this is reasonable. I'm kind of against restrictions but none of these seem unreasonable. My only thing is kind of in place , letting a new user DL at least 1 a day. So if they like what is here they wil probably more likely to come back and maybe contribute. Rather than see a site that has no DL at all unless you post. I had been browsing this site for years previously and the pain in the ass it took to just DL one magazine I was looking for caused me to not want to come back a lot of times. In the last few years it's been great. I don't think this new policy will hurt anyone . I like it.

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I think all this is reasonable. I'm kind of against restrictions but none of these seem unreasonable. My only thing is kind of in place , letting a new user DL at least 1 a day. So if they like what is here they wil probably more likely to come back and maybe contribute. Rather than see a site that has no DL at all unless you post. I had been browsing this site for years previously and the pain in the ass it took to just DL one magazine I was looking for caused me to not want to come back a lot of times. In the last few years it's been great. I don't think this new policy will hurt anyone . I like it.

I think most peoples irritation is that the Newcomers only get 1 direct download per day. While I could increase this to say 5 downloads per day, I am almost positive that once I did that, I would see a jump in clone accounts being created to get around this. I can look to see if I can find a hook or piece of code to prevent clone accounts, and then I would be able to increase the download limit. The other way is I could allow for 5 downloads per day for Newcomers, but restrict the download speed of those files, or put in a wait time between each file download. Right now we are in a testing phase to see what works, the easiest way for members to get more downloads is to just join us in the forums and start some topics of discussion.

I will also mention that from time to time I will lift the restrictions for Newcomers and Members. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the restrictions will be lifted.

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On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the restrictions will be lifted.

You must be joking. New Years, not Xmas, unless you want to be relentlessly derided on Twitter and possibly hacked...

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You must be joking. New Years, not Xmas, unless you want to be relentlessly derided on Twitter and possibly hacked...

Phillyman is in the US. Why should he be attacked for celebrating a US holiday? No one would say anything if he were british and used Boxing Day as an excuse to lift restrictions, they would just be thankful restrictions were lifted for a day no matter what the reason.

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You must be joking. New Years, not Xmas, unless you want to be relentlessly derided on Twitter and possibly hacked...

You can download on those days even if you don't celebrate those holidays. :)

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