Pure Digital (Flip) Camcorder’s “Email Your Video” Option Harvests Email Addresses and Grabs Your Personal Videos!

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The Pure Digital PSV-352 60 Minute and Pure Digital PSV-351 30-min Point & Shoot Camcorder, the original Flip video cameras, are really catching on. What with their AA batteries and USB interface, they are the best point and shoot camcorders out there in terms of ease of use. But the software, while simple to use, is crippled, and worse, any videos made with the Pure Digital PSV-352 60-min or Pure Digital PSV-351 30 minute Point & Shoot Camcorder that you wish to email to someone are sent out through Grouper.com, where Grouper grabs not only your video, but harvests the email addresses and creates an account for you, all without letting you know at the time!

And unless you have read the fine print (and even then) you will have no idea that when you hit “share your videos by email” this is going to occur.


And, let’s face it, if software is very easy to use, people don’t read the fine print, and software manufacturers know that.

We got caught by this ‘gotcha’ when we first attempted to view the videos from the Pure Digital point and shoot by simply copying them to our hard drive and opening them in QuickTime. They are, after all, .avi files, so there should be no problem, right?

Wrong.

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Because the files are created such that even a completely up-to-date version of QuickTime may either not have any image (just sound), or will have images but the sound will be distorted (depending on the version of QuickTime and what add-ons you have installed).

In order to view the video with full image and undistorted sound, you are pushed into using the “video compatibility software” provided by Pure Digital.

Even the section of their directions about “how to view your videos without installing the software” really just tells you how to manually install their video compatibility software.

 

Once using their software, you can easily check an option to share a video by email. You are warned that files copied to your computer will not be compatible with emailing directly (“WTF?” I’d wondered – now I know why).

When you click on the “email this video” option, you may be surprised to not have your mail client pop up a new window. I was.

Instead you are given a screen where you type in the email address of the recipient, your own email address, and a message.

“How cute,” I thought, “They have their own little built-in mail client – I wonder if it will somehow grab my outbound SMTP settings to send the video, or instead prompt me for that information?”

Neither, is the answer.

Because instead what the software did was upload my video to Grouper.com, without my knowledge or consent.

It then conveyed my email address, and the recipient’s email address, to Grouper.com, who now, presumably, has it in their database – we’ll see how long it takes Grouper to spam me.

Here’s what first clued me in. After hitting send, I got this email:

“From: mailer@grouper.com
Subject: Your Pure Digital Video Camcorder and Grouper
Date: July 7, 2007 6:04:18 PM MDT
To: theinternetpatrol@example.com

Hello theinternetpatrol,

The videos you have submitted with your Pure Digital Video Camcorder are being processed. You will receive a confirmation email once processing is complete.

Pure Digital has partnered with Grouper.com to enable easy sharing of your videos.

As the newest member of Grouper you can:

Share an unlimited number of videos for free.
Share privately or publicly, and change the viewing status whenever you want.
Edit the title or description of the videos you share.
See ALL your shared videos in one place by logging in to your personal profile page on Grouper. Click here to log in.

This is your Grouper login name: theinternetpatrol@example.com
This is your temporary Grouper password: funny_word
(Note: After you log in, you can change your password.)

Enjoy!
– The Grouper and Pure Digital Teams ”

Note that I never requested a membership to Grouper! But yet, I am now their newest member.

Then came this email:

“From: mailer@grouper.com
Subject: About the Video You Emailed
Date: July 7, 2007 6:52:07 PM MDT
To: theinternetpatrol@example.com

Hello TIP,

Recently you sent a video from your Pure Digital Video Camcorder.

Your video is ready to be viewed privately on Grouper.com. The following recipients have been emailed a link to your video:

myrecipient@example.com

This is the video you sent. Click on the link to watch the video:

Jul 07 2007 – VID00025
Click here to watch

You can see ALL your shared videos in one place by logging in to your personal profile page on Grouper. Click here to log in.

This is your Grouper login name: theinternetpatrol@example.com
This is your temporary Grouper password: funny_word
(Note: After you log in, you can change your password.)

Enjoy!
– The Grouper and Pure Digital Teams”

Note, again, I not only never requested a membership, but I sure as heck didn’t want to share my videos with anyone other than the recipient – to whom I thought I was directly emailing the video!

In fact, this was a video of a fairly personal nature – I was pretty outraged that a third-party had it at all!

I logged into the Grouper account, and sure enough, I had a full-fledged account (without my request or permission), and there was the video. (Which I promptly deleted.)

Now, Mac users will find that iMovie will import the movie files just fine, and you can take it from there. Windows video editing software may do the same thing.

But how many users of a point and shoot camcorder are going to even investigate those routes, rather than just using the software that came with the camcorder?

So, unfortunately, we can’t recommend the Pure Digital Point and Shoot video camcorders. Which is a shame, because the hardware is pretty fun, and definitely easy. But the software is suspect, and their practices downright deceptive in our opinion.

What we can recommend, and what we have been using with a high degree of success, is the newer Canon Digital ELPH cameras, which all have a great video mode, and take wonderful video which is rendered in normal .avi video files which any video viewing and editing program can handle. We personally like the Canon PowerShot SD1000 which is 7.1 megapixels, and has a 3x optical zoom, and which is currently on sale through Amazon for the insane price of just $219 and with free shipping.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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3 thoughts on “Pure Digital (Flip) Camcorder’s “Email Your Video” Option Harvests Email Addresses and Grabs Your Personal Videos!

  1. Try to comparing software at download.com.
    There are many software that can compress or changing the file type for your video.
    I think .mpeg is pretty good for video.

  2. I have been given a JVC camcorder and am looking for software so that I can compress and send movies to family in Belgium. Obviously I don’t want Grouper after your article, but I wonder if you can recommend something else. I am in the UK
    Many thanks

  3. If you do a search on Google for CVS Camera. You will find a very popular hacking forum for the Pure Digital disposables. You will be able to hack one of their disposable video cameras. All you do is download some open source software, get or make a cable, and voila! You have a reusable video camera with none of the tricky stuff from their software. And at most it will cost you the price of the cam ($30) and a cable from ebay ($15) if you don’t make one yourself. Just make sure you get the right model# or it won’t work.

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