Notes from inside your Wii

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SCAM: HomebreWare and Wiiunlocker

February 15th, 2009 by marcan · 30 Comments

Those of you that already know the story regarding these and other websites may skip this paragraph. Several websites have, for a while now, been selling our Wii homebrew tools in conjunction with warez loaders, under the guise of “unlocking” you Wii. In doing this, they of course make all sorts of outlandish claims, such as full compatibility, avoidance of breaking the warranty, and an impossible ability to work through future updates. Needless to say, these warez loaders aren’t fully compatible, are slower than using originals, installing homebrew breaks your warranty (whether you manage to hide it or not is a different issue), and chances are the next Nintendo update will shut them down again (why, oh, why, are you taking so long, Nintendo?). They also seem to be making a pretty penny – we’ve heard figures of $8000 monthly revenue for HomebreWare. This doesn’t make us very happy, given that we’re making these tools for free. The two websites are located at homebreware.com and wiiunlocker.com (don’t link to them, they don’t need any of our PageRank).

Apparently HomebreWare has been recently sold for $30000. The old owner linked to our website download page and at least attempted to make the package somewhat legal (if entirely redundant and a waste of money). The new owner obviously couldn’t care less about the legality part. He’s converted the “package” into exclusively a piracy tool, with no other homebrew besides the Twilight Hack, The Homebrew Channel, and the usual warez loaders, plus a generous sprinkling of Nintendo software, and hosts it all on his server. He also bundles HBC beta9, which didn’t yet include the scam warning screen (so anyone who doesn’t have an active internet connection on the Wii won’t even know that he was scammed). He also includes a handy guide on how to torrent Wii games. I’m back in the process of firing a few DMCA notices around to try to get it taken down (or at least piss them off somewhat), but this is getting absurd. If anyone knows a lawyer willing to offer advice of what, if anything, can be done (practically speaking), or what the best course of action is in these cases, I’d sincerely appreciate it if they could contact me.

As for the other guys, Wiiunlocker seems to be trying as hard as they can to hide the fact that they’re selling our software. Originally, they just hotlinked to our downloads. Since we killed unknown referrers, then they switched to non-linked tinyurl URLs (which you have to copy and paste into the address bar), which results in a blank referrer. After that, I implemented a dynamic link mechanism that forces you to go through our downloads page – then they tried copying one of those links, but they cycle every 10 minutes and thus it didn’t last long. Having lost the battle against our server, they turned to a publicly available mirror. We contacted its owner and got it shut down. They’ve switched to a secret mirror hosted at The Android News, which we can only guess is a friend of theirs, or a hacked website. We’re in the process of trying to get that taken down.

If you are currently hosting a copy of any of our software, we ask that you remove it and link to http://hbc.hackmii.com instead. We generally don’t mind mirrors, but it makes you a ripe target for one of these scammers to hotlink. Then we’d have to get in contact, and it’s all a big pain for you and us. We have plenty of bandwidth at http://hbc.hackmii.com, so it’s easiest for everyone if you just link to our downloads page.

The title might seem redundant to those that already know this, but I’m hoping it might help draw the attention of some potential “customers”.

Tags: Wii

30 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Cycloneblaze // Feb 15, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Guess what he said on that bidding sit you linked to:
    I have done a lot of research regarding any potential legal issues. I have even contacted a lawyer just to make sure that everything is the way is supposed to be.
    There is no possibility for any kind of legal issues/complications occurring with this product.

    But seriously,when Nintendo release a new system menu(what version are we on now?3.4?)
    a lot of people will be very unhappy.

  • 2 Cycloneblaze // Feb 15, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Hang on.Bidding sit?
    That should be site,obviously.

  • 3 Quali // Feb 15, 2009 at 10:38 am

    This people are bad guys. 🙁
    I have see google advertising on the google page when i search for wii homebrew.
    Can we say to google, that they do very evil things and google are banned the page from the index or from google adwords?

    So many programmers do hard work for no money and than comes the ******* and make so much money.

    …sorry for my bad english…

  • 4 http://maikelsteneker.blogspot.com/ // Feb 15, 2009 at 11:00 am

    It really is a shame that people like you need to waste time on fighting against people like this. I really can’t stand ripping off other people’s work – and especially hiding that you do it.

    I wish I could help you more, but at least I’m going to check if I have any mirrors of any of your software. I’ll link to the official download page and this article so everyone knows what’s going on.

  • 5 triggerftu // Feb 15, 2009 at 11:40 am

    1st of all 1st…
    2nd people like this selling free software and piracy no less should fry and burn for their mistakes. homebreware should as i sead before burn. marcan when ya hit em make sure ya hit em so hard they cant even touch a system. they should be able to feel as their …… (not goin in to detail) …. and never be able to have children. (sry if it sounds alitle harsh but it’s true) good luck dudes and i hope u guys do something and make em pay good for their mistake.

  • 6 openid.aol.com/raindog469 // Feb 15, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    These guys (more specifically, their dozens or hundreds of affiliates) have been spamming Yahoo Answers with this garbage for months. I made a Yahoo Answers ID just so I could report some of their answers as incorrect but it seems you have to participate in the site for some time before you can judge other people’s answers. It’s really frustrating that they started acting like they were cooperating and then stabbed you in the back. Good luck with getting them shut down.

  • 7 The MAZZTer // Feb 15, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    You should probably mention that since the new versions include the scam screen, fighting mirrors only needs to be done for outdated mirrors. That didn’t occur to me until I started typing this.

    You might also want to remove or update your ISO download since it doesn’t have the scam warning either, yes?

  • 8 jkgm // Feb 15, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Both of these sites accept PayPal for purchases. It can’t hurt to report their illegal goods to PP, since this obviously violates the terms of service there.

  • 9 wiisixtyfour // Feb 15, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    “There are several ways to do this. There are free ways to do it, but the free ways are inferior to the method I’m am offering which is the best method (simplest and easiest). Everything is well explained in a series of 4 videos , so that even the least tech savvy customer would be able to perform the unlock. If you find the wrong free information, you’re also risking damaging your Nintendo Wii console.

    Furthermore, the free methods for doing this, are very hard to find, the average user won’t be able to find those methods on the internet, that’s why so many customers go for the method that is offered with Homebreware.”
    “The Nintendo Wii will stay the way it is, Nintendo ocassionaly releases some minor updates for the console, but nothing major that will affect this product”


  • 10 ChuckBartowski // Feb 15, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Do you think being a top contrib might help? Im a top contrib in the Wii Category so i might get a little more noticed if i report. Ive already been trying to report as many as i can, but this makes me want to help more.

    @marcan IDK if these people who run this blog(look at the bottom) will help but they are piracy lawyers apparently. Hope it helps.

  • 11 ckrames1234 // Feb 15, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I sent a support request saying all this stuff on how you work so hard to make this and they just come and steal it, mirror it somewhere else, and then sell it to unaware people, and they sent an email back (word for word):

    “Our customer support team personnel has replied to your support request #870260

    I’ve just emailed Marcan about this. We’ll work this out.

    We hope this response has sufficiently answered your questions. If not, please do not send another email. Instead, reply to this email or login to your account for a complete archive of all your support request and responses.”

  • 12 ckrames1234 // Feb 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I’ve been looking at their site, and there is a testimonial where the guys name is Kobayashi. Isnt that the guy who eats in a lot of Hot Dog Competitions?

  • 13 tompccs // Feb 15, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    It’s just a game of voices now. There’s no reason for anyone to have to pay for these services. All that needs to be done is ensure people are informed of a product which is superior (and cheaper by a factor of infinity).

    I think we should embark upon an old-school open-source-style marketing endeavour. I’m talking about buttons for websites, wallpapers, maybe coffee mugs and t-shirts if we’re feeling frivolous.


  • 14 tompccs // Feb 15, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    …also, you have HomebrewWare ads plastered all over your blog and wiibrew.org. Any way of filtering those out?

  • 15 Remadon // Feb 15, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Ugh, This bull again….

    Its time to contact nintendo about this, They will bother to hire lawyers and all that, and judgeing on how they react to Bushing telling them about a sucurity exploit, I dont think they would be too happy hearing from you guys again…

    Marcan, If you want, My uncle works for nintendo in california and He can get a message pretty far up, Tell me if you want me to do anything…

  • 16 linkinworm-c98 // Feb 15, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    you have to love them testimonials , i just surely hope there fake, saying they “searched” on how to homebrewable there wiis returned these sites and not returning nothing on FREE softmod from any other site that will have at least one guide on the TP hack is just stupid, offering a service for the user to not have to search for everything and what not for a few $$$(like under $5) would be ok IMO but $30? they need to be shutdown, and soon.

  • 17 Unicron // Feb 16, 2009 at 2:03 am

    Maybe incorporating an Anti-Scam function into libOGC, which upon starting the app would show a warning screen(or make a “libAntiScam”)?
    That would make them unable to give out updates without allowing the scammed ones to find out(given tha fact that coders actually implement it…).

    It’s sad seeing free software beeing sold…

  • 18 seaccor // Feb 16, 2009 at 4:52 am

    Sadly, I really think you cannot win this fight.
    I only can think of one way to fight it, by starting a free alternative to those websites. One that lists on top of the google searches and is easy to understand by n00bs.

    I don’t like the whole piracy shit, but I think you are fighting against something you can’t win and only will cost a lot of your time.

  • 19 John_K // Feb 16, 2009 at 6:30 am

    @tompccs: We try to block them but it’s hard to keep up with all the sites that keep popping up.

  • 20 jotokun // Feb 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    What about having bootmii “require” the latest version of the Homebrew Chanel to install(by having its installer as an elf, probably), so the people who bought this product would know that they were scammed? That would probably put some hurt on them since they wouldn’t be able to use bootmii, which I’m sure a good amount of the homebrew out there would move over to.

  • 21 Remadon // Feb 16, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    … I can see them just stealing boot mii to load up their software on boot too… This could end up very bad.

  • 22 Brainy142 // Feb 16, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I will try to delete our mirrors (on our homebrew site) and go to direct links (not to the download but to the page)

  • 23 Mikka // Feb 19, 2009 at 1:22 am

    I’ve been installing homebrew on a few of my friends Wiis. Some people say that i should be charging them money.
    I obviously say no, in due respect to the devs at Team Twiizers.
    Good luck fighting off these pirates guys!

  • 24 SuperToxic // Feb 22, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Meh. Just make sure that when the homebrew channel is patched or a major beta for it is released make sure that the anti-scam screen on it. If Nintendo is too lazy to patch it then you are cooked.

  • 25 starwolffan // Sep 30, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Heya. Its JD here. I recently emailed the admin of the hombreware.com site and sent some very incriminating evedence…i have many friends of mine that can help bring this site down so im gonna do my best to help. hope i can help all at HackMii.com and help those awesome guys at Team Twiizers in taking down this guy!


  • 26 matoking.myopenid.com/ // Oct 10, 2009 at 4:21 am

    Woah, there is now some kind of whore telling about the great features of Homebrewinstaller on the bottom of Homebrewinstaller site. [INSERT FACEPALM.JPG HERE]

  • 27 GG Allin // Feb 10, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Well I am sorry to say, but my girlfriend got scammed on the homebreware. It was thirty bucks. All these promises of they have are lies also. I am somewhat of a noob to this and she was worried I would tear up her wii so she did it. I already had mine working fine… But I checked it out and all these “guides” he offered for like 6 different thing, 4 of the 5 where the same damn guide. And not to mention, “Every month we have a new peice of software for you!” It hasn’t been updated since like last October. A promise of refund if I am not sastified (I am not!) isn’t even an option after you pay. I am new, and I am learning, an I want all the help I can get, but not from assholes like him. Shut his ass down my friends.

  • 28 AgentG1Man // Jan 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Hey, this is slightly related, but there’s someone I know who’s charging people to install your software on their Wiis, and has claimed that he has asked your permission to do, and has been granted it. I really just wanted to check, because it really does seem like he’s just scamming. I think he’s charging something £25 for the install :S

  • 29 Albedo // Jan 18, 2011 at 10:10 am


    They’re charging $150 for all of the stuff and $50 for the files alone

  • 30 Don’t buy ConsoleUnlock | WiiVault // Dec 16, 2012 at 7:48 am

    […] created their software for free. There are a couple sites you can read about regarding this HackMii blog and Hombrew Channel […]

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