On Illegal File Sharing & Guilty Pleasures…

User-friendliness is paramount in the word of internet shopping. Sites like Amazon, iTunes, and other legitimate sources to buy media have gone to great lengths to make their platforms easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. Along the way, many features have been added in a desperate attempt to curb illegal file sharing, and encourage consumers to come back and keep spending. There is one feature however that I believe most of us could do without. It is one that makes us face our individual guilty pleasures head-on – something none of us are psychologically prepared for, and in my opinion ENCOURAGES illegal downloading as a result.

What is it you ask? Well… we’ve all been there… you are one click away from getting your hands on the newest Britney Spears single or Abs-of-Steel DVD when you see it. That little column somewhere on the checkout page telling you what others who have purchased the same items as you – your “peers” – have also bought. The internal computer of the site you are using is judging you… openly. It equivocates your purchases (with a mocking matter-of-factness) to a list of self-help audio books, a sappy chick-flick, or the soundtrack to High School Musical 2.

All of a sudden… your mood shifts. What was previously a euphoric moment of stress-free online shopping for your favorite guilty pleasure has turned into an anxiety-ridden personal crisis. Am I REALLY the kind of person who would purchase a $105 Box set of The OC? Amazon seems to think so… and I’m not even going to tell you what iTunes has to say about me…

So, in order to avoid the private humiliation of such an epiphany, many users are turning to the illegal and controversial world of file-sharing for all their guilty pleasure needs. It would seem that the general population would rather risk potential legal action than face the truth about their own embarrassing taste in movies and music.

Once again, a technological advancement aiming to give people more of what they want is actually driving customers away. You know what they say about good intentions…

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