One of the saddest things about these websites is that they really don't try very hard and are actually often very obvious - once you know what to look for. For example, the sites all look extremely similar, the writing is almost interchangeable, and many of them share the following factors:
1) Search engines that find results for absolutely ANYTHING you put into them.
For example, your search query of "Nothing but a $@#%@# scam!" displays the following results:
Nothing But A $@#%@# Scam!
Nothing But A $@#%@# Scam! Download
Nothing But A $@#%@# Scam! Serial
Nothing But A $@#%@# Scam! Password
Nothing But A $@#%@# Scam! DVDRip
Found 6 download results for Nothing But A $@#%@# Scam!. Full version with crack, serial, keygen.
Interesting, isn't it? Why, I didn't know the DVDRip of "Nothing but a $@#%@# scam!" was out already! (Great film, by the way : P) But seriously though, this should be your first and most important clue that something is EXTREMELY wrong with a site. If you type in several gibberish queries like "fdslkfsj" and they claim to have them, then you know they're lying through their teeth in a pathetic attempt to entice you.
2) Suspicious, overly-enthusiastic testimonials.
Let's think about this one for a moment: if one of these sites did actually work and you were using it to illegally download films and software, would you actually write in to brag about it - especially using your real, full name? On some of the sites, they really insult our intelligence by going so far as to include airbrushed headshots (over solid-colored backgrounds) of these "real customers." Yeah... I don't think so.
* To add a further note about this: across many of these sites they use the exact same testimonials, but under different names. For example, on downloadaccess.net, Anthony from the USA wrote "God I had no idea you guys kept old TV shows, hah, I dont even think this was released on DVD -- donno how you got it! Just surfaced mid-way through a Golden Girls marathon to say thanks ;D" However, on baydownloads.com, it was Margaret from Italy who said the exact same thing. What a coincidence! The good thing about their laziness here is that it just made it that much easier for me to trace which sites are actually connected and run by the same crooks!
3) Statistics that fluctuate senselessly, reset when you refresh the page, or just never change at all.
All of these sites attempt to show off some pretty impressive statistics. For example, when you first go to nowdownloadall.com, the ticker at the top shows they have a total of 3698415 files, which keeps going up by dozens every second or so. Refresh the page, however, and it goes back right to the original number! Some sites take a different approach, with their numbers bouncing up and down endlessly right before your eyes while still others just show static numbers that never, ever change - you can sign in today, tomorrow, or 4 weeks from now and they will always have the same amount of files "available."
4) When signing up, they sneakily try to bundle multiple useless - and costly - extra items.
If you're signing up for a $1.99 trial offer, would a legitimate business actually expect you to spend an extra $60 on top of it? Things like "TorrentPrivacy," "Download Protection," and "Codec Packs" are just absolute garbage and will likely infect your computer. However, they throw around this type of technical terminology to lure in newbies who just don't know any better. But you know what? It works. The boxes for these items are pre-checked so you really have to be perceptive or else you'll have given them "permission" to charge all that extra money. The funny thing is that even if you do remember to uncheck them, you'll likely still be charged for them. These bastards have no mercy.
5) Customer support is only available via "tickets" or you must be logged in to gain access to it.
Most of these websites brag about their "award-winning, industry-recognized" support team yet they provide you with extremely limited ways of reaching them. Wouldn't a legit company proudly display its phone number and email so that you could reach them if you had any questions/concerns before, during or after the sign-up process? Any company that has to hide this most basic of services is likely up to something. By being so inaccessible, they protect themselves from the thousands of angry callers who would otherwise demand explanations and their money back. However, this way, all these scam sites have to do is send you some half-assed response or, more likely, just ignore you altogether.