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Off the record and very hush-hush.

Buyer Beware! Don't get ripped off at the porn shop.

Ever buy a movie at the porn store and when you got home you realized you were totally ripped off and did not get your money's worth?  Well if you have, don't feel bad, it happens to everyone.  If you haven't, you're in luck, but to make sure that luck doesn't run out, here are a few tips to use when shopping for smut.

First off, let's be clear here.  You might not always be happy with the titles you purchase, by no fault of your own or the studios.  Sometimes it just doesn't work out the way you hoped.  The best laid lays of every pornographer can sometimes go astray.  This blog isn't about those instances, this blog is about the times when it's clear cut that a studio is trying to deceive you and sell you a bad product.  Hopefully your local porn store filters out the legit from the bogus, but even they can be overwhelmed and fooled.  Oftentimes you are likely on your own when making your buying decision and the immense amount of titles out there can be intimidating.  Luckily you have some weapons at your disposal.  If you're reading this, then you already know how great a site like XCritic is in helping you weed through all the movies.

Here are a few "insider" tips that you may not be aware of:

There are studios out there that take old scenes and try to pass them off as new at new release prices.  They don't tell you that it's a compilation; they just hope you fall for it.  For them this is basically pure profit.  Those scenes paid for themselves months sometimes years ago.  So they pick 5 of them, put them on a disc and ship them out.  Their only cost involved is the replication and packaging, there's essentially no overhead.  A studio can pull this off 1000s of times before the word of mouth gets so bad that the consumer realizes anything with "Company XYZ" on it is a rip off.  So that company "retires" the name "Company XYZ", and starts releasing titles under the name "Company ABC".  You just see a boxcover with a different name on it.  This company didn't relocate and open a new office or anything.  They are just hiding their true identity from you the consumer because they have ruined their reputation and name.  No doubt there are some addresses in the valley that get mail for probably 100's of different "companies".  It's also worth noting that you cannot call these movies compilations.  I believe compilations should be up front in telling you that's what they are.  This should be done simply stating that fact, or some other obvious indicator for the consumer.  It's obvious that a "Best Of" title indicates a compilation.

Sometimes these same studios also have an odd release schedule.  Whereas most other companies release 4 to 12 titles per month, these studios will do big bulk releases.  They'll release 25 "new" titles all at once with some name that you'll never hear from again.

You may also notice that their pricing isn't very in-line with everything else at your store.  If a regular new release goes for $39 for the majority of studios, but unheard of "Company XYZ"'s titles are just $19 when they are BRAND NEW, be suspicious.  This is because their cost is so little in repackaging old scenes they can afford to offer them to stores for considerably less than everyone else does.  They also know that the only way a store might take their titles is by offering a 'too good to be true' price.  Sadly some stores aren't skeptical about these things and buy into it.

Since these studios are pumping out low quality rip off movies, they don't put a lot of care and thought into them.  You'll notice numerous spelling errors, poorly rendered pictures, and obscure, contracted or retired performers in them.  To this day you'll still find "New Releases" by companies with Tiana Lynn in them.  A performer that has been retired for well over a year and was a contract performer for years before that.  They assume that you aren't informed enough to catch on to their shenanigans.

Sometimes they are so lazy in putting movies together that the performers listed/pictured on the box aren't even in the movie.  Notice how some studios put guarantees on the box that all performers pictured are in the movie?  Why did they do that?  Because other studios ripped off customers for so long that the legit ones have to separate themselves somehow.  I found a title once with Leah Luv listed and pictured on the box.  However the performer credited as being Leah Luv looked to be about 50 looking nothing like little Leah.  I pointed this out to this company which led to me no longer buying anything from them.  I was given about 10 bullshit excuses ranging from them telling me I don't know who Leah Luv is to blaming the editor.  That company is still selling this DVD to this day, and they either don't care, or are too lazy to correct it.  But that's ok, because I'm going to show you how to recognize companies like them, and how to never give them another dollar.  To be fair, even quality studios sometimes mis-credit someone, the difference is that they recall the title and fix it.

So what can you do to catch these shady studios?  Well if you are familiar with poker, there's a term called "the tell".  Porn is no different.  When someone is trying to be deceptive but isn't very good at it, they have a tell.

1.  The UPC Code - This is the single best way in my opinion.  It's quick and easy to flip a DVD over, check out the UPC code and know immediately who made this title.  When companies put out DVDs they each have a unique UPC code (or at least they should).  These codes are bought in chunks and are for the most part unique to that company.  Every new Jules Jordan Video title starts with 600148 as the first 6 digits.  All Vivid titles start 000732.  Shane's World starts 891132.  This is true in most cases, except in some situations where a studio is distributing another studio (i.e. Vivid and Reality Kings).  So this also works for the shady companies.  If you see a UPC code that starts 649107...RUN, put that DVD down and choose another.  By learning the UPC code for the Leisure Times and their ilk, you can easily identify those with suspect business practices.

The custodian of records is another indicator.  A company may produce under several labels with differing designs, but the mail (and 2257 inspector) all come to 1 place.  The name listed will often change.  I guess these studios have a high turnover in that department.  You'd think that it would be an easy job; after all they never shoot any new scenes.  I guess keeping track of all the different movies they stuck those same scenes in is a big undertaking.

Be on the lookout for contract or big name performers showing up in an unknown studios release.  Some low-end companies shot at least 1 scene with performers like Belladonna, Ashley Blue, and Tera Patrick.  And they will try to milk that scene for all it's worth for years.  Futureworks released a title in 2006 with Belladonna.  You think that scene was from 2006?  I'll bet you that scene was from the 2001 Rain title Anal University 10.  How would you feel paying new release price for a scene that is 5 years old from a title that you could easily get for less than $10.

I'm not opposed at all to generating money from older scenes, but chopping it up and putting the same scene in 25 different movies is just being dishonest.  Under that approach there's no point in even shooting new scenes.  One would wonder why only put out 25 titles a month...why not 25,000?  Just flood the market with 10s of 1000s of recycled titles at bargain basement price.  Give the consumer an inferior product and treat them like they have no standards.  It is the disdain for the customer that really upsets me.  Our customers deserve better.

I hope that you don't get ripped off when you go shopping for porn.  I'd hope that your local store would catch these dishonest companies at the door and not provide shelf space for them.  Sadly, that doesn't always happen.  Help them out; tell them that "Company XYZ" is being dishonest and that you don't appreciate being ripped off.  You have power as a consumer, you have options.  If they don't want to clean up their act, you can take your dollar elsewhere, or you can shop online.  If you went to Target and bought a bag of M&Ms only to open it and find candy corn, you'd take it back to Target with a big "WTF?" speech.  If Target didn't stop doing it, you'd buy your M&Ms at Wal Mart right?  You are a consumer, and you have the same rights any other consumer does.  You have the power to tell other consumers about "Company XYZ"'s tactics.  And thanks to the internet you have a plethora of forums to voice your story.

I hope this helps and informs you in your shopping purchases.  Feedback is welcomed and appreciated!!!
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