Caution: RabbitTV

This appeared in my email today:

RabbitScam

Sound too good to be true? Well, guess what.

From SFGate:

Q: I’ve been seeing TV commercials for Rabbit TV, a USB stick that supposedly provides free access to thousands of television stations worldwide over the Internet – including all the big networks, Disney and ESPN. Apparently when you plug it into an Internet-connected computer, a menu appears with links that take you directly to video streams. The Rabbit TV costs $10 a year. As a person who pays nearly $100 a month for satellite TV, I’m afraid this sounds too good to be true. Is Rabbit TV legit, or is it a scam?

A: It’s a big-time scam. All Rabbit TV does is point you to websites that have video. And, with rare exceptions for breaking news, the big U.S. networks don’t show live programming on the Internet. Ditto for ESPN, Disney and other top cable networks. With Rabbit TV, live streaming is limited to small local stations, religious and shopping channels. Repeat: There is nothing on Rabbit TV that you can’t get by entering a URL into your browser.

In fact, you can get the same experience that Rabbit TV provides by going to wwitv.com. That’s World Wide Internet Television, which, like Rabbit TV, has a clickable menu for accessing websites of global TV stations that show live and recorded programming.


This piece of junkvertising reminds me of the most deceptive advertisement I’ve ever seen.

Rabbit TV responds with the following text on their rebuttal website:

Q: Why would I use Rabbit TV when I can access most of the same stuff on my own?

A: Viewers want to spend time watching content, not searching for it.

Similar to the print publication TV Guide, who for years made you aware of what was going to be on your television set every week, Rabbit TV is simply more robust, interactive, and option-packed for the new age of TV, automatically gathering, categorizing, managing and organizing an overwhelming 2 million+ video updates daily. It also introduces you to loads of new content you’d never find on your own everyday, including massive worldwide options that aren’t even available through cable or satellite.

Rabbit TV does all the work, so you don’t have to.

If Rabbit TV were advertised as an information aggregator service, it would probably pass muster. Based on their spamvertising and their deceptive website (I don’t recommend clicking that link, but I provide it in the interest of full disclosure), however, they appear to offer one thing but in actuality offer something entirely different, and that’s where the problem lies.

The drones are still hoping that there’s a sucker born every minute; sadly, they’re right. No one is immune – all of us can be taken in by a slick operator if the conditions are right, because these slimeballs are very good at what they do. All we can do is educate ourselves and strengthen our resolve to be vigilant. And, of course, pass the word along.

I’ll stop (barely) short of calling it a scam myself because apparently there are some people who like this service; judge for yourself, but be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

4 responses to “Caution: RabbitTV

  1. For some reason this reminds me of the guy who, a long, long time ago, put up a “Windows XP Folder” on eBay (I saw this ad myself, way back when), and he got not one but several people bidding on it as well, ended up selling the item at a generous price, and shipped it by email wrapped in a ZIP archive along with instructions on how to unpack it to the desired location. A bargain!

    Apparently someone went to the trouble of saving the ad page and putting it up elsewhere for posterity (eBay has long ago removed the original). I took a screenshot and put it on http://imgur.com/OloRSAT

    Notice the “Current bid”, which I think is fairly accurate (i.e. not “doctored” in post-production). I could make a bleeping fortune in that business! 😉

    If memory serves, this was by far the only occurrence of computer folders on eBay.

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