If one of your favorite television shows has yet to show up on DVD, you’re familiar with the frustration, the impatience, and the uncertainty of never knowing if you’ll ever get to see it again. For years I had waited for season three of Once & Again to come out. While the first two seasons had come out, the third season was planned, a release date given, and then was put on hold indefinitely. One night, my friend Corey had told me about a site that sold unreleased television series. I immediately logged on and was ecstatic to find Once & Again season three, for under $20, even! This was my introduction to iOffer.
iOffer presents itself as a place to “Buy, Sell & Trade.” Essentially, it’s a lot like Ebay, but with more freedom. Instead of bidding, items are put up and you can either buy them for a certain price (like eBay’s Buy-It-Now option) or you can make an offer (either monetary or for products that you have for sale). The seller can than refuse your offer or make a counteroffer. They sell anything and everything on there, though the big difference is the amount of television and movies you can find there and nowhere else.
Long gone are the days searching eBay daily, hoping you can spot an unofficial DVD set and buy it before it’s taken down. Now they’re just sitting at iOffer, waiting for you to find them. Mind you, when I say unofficial release, I mean that these sets were usually recorded from an actual TV broadcast. They’re pirated boxed sets, though some sellers make labels and boxes.
Obviously, these sets break copyright law; they’re illegal. As far as morality goes, if a studio doesn’t release a series I feel it’s fair game for these “unofficial sets” to exist. They’re a last resort. Sometimes it’s your only way to get your hands on a series. So, how come they’re only available on iOffer?
Despite having a clear policy on deleting items based on copyright law, I believe iOffer is just a lot more relaxed than eBay on the issue. This is good for the unreleased sets, which aren’t really hurting anything, but some sellers sell rips of official DVDs, which is not only douchey, but also hurts the studios. Sometimes sellers will also steal sets of others sellers who took time to make menus and master a series and then sell it themselves for much cheaper. This is the cutthroat world of pirated media.
I’d also like to point out that most (if not all) of these series are available for download via torrent sites. Heck, some are taken from torrent sites. However, there still exists a market for people who want physical media, or who don’t know how or don’t want to burn digital files themselves. Some people like printed cases and labels, even if they’re not official sets.
I think the site is great for obtaining forgotten or unreleased media. I’ve talked about television mainly, but they have out of print or never released movies and CDs, as well. I would, however, discourage people from buying unofficial stuff that has been officially released from iOffer. iOffer is great as a last resort to find unreleased stuff, but let’s not deliberately cheat studios out of money when a series has been officially released. They also sell official media, just be careful to read the description. Most sellers are very honest about what you’re getting.