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Home > Tips January 30th, 2017

Why Not to Buy Adobe Software on eBay, Craigslist or Amazon Mkt

[UPDATE – Adobe just stopped selling CS6 entirely – here’s why… This means the CS products are no longer being made by the company, nor legitimately for sale through any channel in any country, from any vendor or reseller.]

Some folks think it might be a good idea to try to save a few bucks and buy Adobe software off of eBay, Craigslist, Amazon Marketplace, or from any vendor who is unfamiliar.  It could be Creative Cloud, CS6, Photoshop, Lightroom, Acrobat, Elements, or any other title – in a retail, student, full or upgrade version… or sometimes it’s the “OEM” scam, or the plausible-sounding “extra” volume/enterprise license swindle.

But it’s actually not a very good idea at all.  Why?

Why You Should Never Buy Adobe Software on eBay, Craigslist, or Amazon Marketplace

The first problem is that Adobe does not recognize these venues as valid or authorized resellers, they are fully disregarded and invalid. So as a result, Adobe will not officially recognize any of those buyers as actually owning their software. Yes, you read that right.

Meaning, you think you own the genuine article but effectively you don’t. You cannot provide an accepted proof of purchase – so you can’t formally prove you own the products. You may not be able to transfer the software to someone else, nor be able to get product support or upgrade to the next version, etc…  You also aren’t able to return the software to get your money back from Adobe like you normally can.

Why doesn’t Adobe recognize the people that go through those places? Doesn’t that seem unfair? Can’t these software vendors who you’ve never heard of be trusted?

No, because in this area, reputation matters… a lot.  The simple reason is – and the real problem is – that 90% of the software sold on places like eBay is counterfeit! Yes, it’s true. And it’s not a new problem.

Adobe states, “Purchasing from known and trusted sources is the best way to avoid risks. Avoid all online auction sites — they’re rife with counterfeiters. The only safe way to purchase genuine software for download is through the Adobe Store.”

So you can be pretty sure that what someone’s getting on those auction and vendor sites is not legitimate, not able to be legally transferred, and possibly even quite unsafe.

Fake or Hacked Software –> Unsafe Computer, Loss of Money, Stolen Information, or Worse

That last part is the real kicker. A great deal of the hacked and pirated Adobe software out there now is embedded with malware. These infections include viruses, worms, and trojans that can do significant harm to your computer, personal data, and privacy (like quietly stealing your sensitive information such as logins, passwords, and credit card numbers). Or increasingly, install ransom­ware to hold your entire hard disk hostage with no fix available.

Or put another way, you dramatically “increase your risk of exposure to viruses, spyware, or adware that can destroy (or, worse, publish to criminals) valuable data.”  But unfortunately, many people don’t learn about this until it’s too late.  Often they do this unknowingly – and are essen­tially paying someone to do it to them by buying the unauthorized software.

How prevalent is malware in illegal software? Well, just one example: China reportedly has a piracy rate of 79% – and a corresponding computer infection rate of nearly 70% – both are the highest in the world. There is a direct correlation.

Yes, there can occasionally be exceptions – but there are many more headlines over the years: “Adobe Creative Suite Crack Harvests Zombie Computers”“Malware Writers Target Would-Be Pirated Software Users”“Rogue Adobe Product Downloads Infect Machines with Undetected Keylogger”“Bootlegged Mac Photoshop Delivers New Trojan Horses”

The second Trojan was discovered Sunday, hidden inside torrented copies of Adobe Systems’ Photoshop program. Once installed, the software silently lets someone else take remote control of the computer and rob the sensitive data upon it.

The risk seems obvious for older or used/secondhand copies, right?  But even advertised “new in box” (NIB) items in seemingly original packaging can easily be fake (see what the FBI says about this here) – and it’s often very difficult to tell the difference from the outside of the packaging, or even from the inside.  As Adobe says, “… it can come with sophisticated-looking cases, manuals, and even registration cards. You’ll only discover software is pirated when you try to register it and can’t, often rendering the software unusable.” Or worse.

But even if the software within is authentic, it’s still breaking the law. Per the SIIA, “As this prosecution demonstrates, it is both a crime to create counterfeit software and a crime to sell authentic software without authorization.”  So in any event, these buyers still face all the other issues above.

And if anyone ever offers a download or serial number that’s coming from anywhere else other than Adobe – it’s definitely not genuine, or legal.

The old advice applies here: anything that sounds too good to be true probably is, in pricing or otherwise… (note that Adobe’s true Student & Teacher Editions at up to 70% off including the $19 complete Creative Cloud are exceptions to this)

So what’s your best bet?

Ensure your Adobe software is genuine

The only safe and legal place to instantly download any of these products (either trial or full versions) is directly from Adobe’s servers.

And only safe and legal place to buy any boxed retail software is directly from Adobe itself, or through their officially authorized resellers or retailers.

They put all this in place to protect customers – not only from harmful or counterfeit software, but also protecting your rights as a legitimate buyer and recognized licensee of the products – fully able to receive customer service, technical support, important updates, and future upgrades.

See all the recommended tips on how to avoid Adobe piracy. And if the regular product prices are out of reach for you, see if you qualify for Adobe’s deeply-discounted education versions, or check out their affordable Creative Cloud offering including the successor to Creative Suite — the new CC 2017 release — which is guaranteed to be the genuine article.


See Also

Download New Adobe CC 2017 Free Trials (Direct Links)

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  1. Duane

    My concern is that software producers are turning to ongoing licenses for everything. Those of us with limited use just want a software package we can buy and use without payment a monthly fee. I can’t justify a monthly fee at this time. We may not need the latest bells and whistles. I still use Cool Edit on an old pc for tinkering with my music files. I have adobe 1 on a newer device but I think I need v3 or newer to make it work with Windows Media Mixer apparently.

  2. Philip Bellefleur

    @Duane
    I agree with him 100%. and I have brought this complaint to Adobe myself. I was with Adobe PS from PS4 to CS5 and now I am retired I just want to “recreate pictures” and play. It seems to me that after all those years you would have more consideration for those of us who grew up with your company. I would love to have CS6 but I simply can’t afford you anymore. Philip A. Bellefleur

  3. James

    I want something to show for my money should I choose to stop making payments. I also never upgraded more than once every 3-5 years. Adobe made billions from us. What a slap in the face not to offer another purchase option.

    • Well, each to their own. Most customers don’t think $10 a month for the latest full desktop versions of both Photoshop CC + Lightroom CC (plus all related mobile apps and workflows) is too much to ask, considering that these two best-of-breed professional tools used to cost well over $1,000 upfront just to get in the door, not including upgrades! And people who previously upgraded only once every 5 years are probably not the customers Adobe targeted with the new model.

      There’s no question that some folks weren’t happy about the transition from perpetual-only to subscription-only products – but as a Pulitzer Prize winner once said, “I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” Adobe took a risk and it could have flopped or flown. They may have lost some customers, but at the same time gained many new ones because of the far-lower cost of entry than before.

      By virtually every measure in the industry, their transition to Creative Cloud has been widely hailed as a major success, surprising a lot of skeptics and even exceeding the company’s own original expectations. Never before (not even with CS6), have so many millions of customers upgraded and been running the same single release of Adobe software, which makes the platform all the more powerful. There are thousands of improvements and new features in CC 2017 as compared to CS6… If you haven’t missed what you don’t have yet, that’s fine – but if the latest releases can help millions of people get better work done faster, then time is money.

      Looking back to 2012, it’s clear now that Adobe didn’t do this to make anybody upset but rather made a business decision on what would be best for the future of the company and the sustainability of their franchise. The subscription model is more flexible in many ways and allows them to keep the tools current with fast-moving technology, as well as make record investments in their product line and advance the state of the art in creative software.

      Bottom line, you are quite free to stay in 2011. Sure, you can mutter darkly about how you personally don’t like the transformation but that really isn’t going to change anything. The train has left the station but of course you don’t need to be on it – it’s a personal choice whether to remain competitive as a provider of creative services or not. Either way, those CC adoption numbers are pretty impressive and pointing unambiguously to the future, and the company is clearly not looking back now.

  4. James

    @ProDesignTools
    how many subscribers will ever take or have the time to learn every single program Adobe offers? In addition to membership options, the old fashion way, or the 2011 train station options could still be offered with little effort. There are many who don’t care or need to upgrade every sixty seconds.

  5. Zulma

    @ProDesignTools
    I am one of those who do not care to be on your running train. I loved the CS6 and I would like to purchase another (new CS6) software to replace it since I lost my older one.
    I do not want to learn new features in the Creative Cloud model. I am retired and all I want is to play with the PS program and remain doing just what I liked doing by creating new images/art without having to pay a monthly fee for many new items that do not interest me.
    I would like to know just why can’t Adobe sell to us the old Photoshop CS6 software at an affordable price? You will be amazed to learn that many millions of us still want to purchase it legally.

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