Why is there a dialog "Your download will start in 5 seconds" on many sites? And they even always provide direct link. Why not just point browser directly to file (which always works perfectly for me)?

  • -1 for sneakyness – vemv Jul 22 '11 at 12:17
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    Your answer will appear in 5 seconds. – magnattic Jul 22 '11 at 12:47

In some cases, not all, it's so that the site can display some ads for a few seconds more.

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In addition to displaying ads, the site uses that time to check the availability of the file at the target URL. In some cases, a referrer is sent so the target knows the source of the "new business", and in some cases, payment is made for the referral.

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    Especially if there are multiple mirrors hosting the actual file, they can check mirror availability relative to the location of the download. Something like this happens when downloading the FireFox browser. Sourceforge employs some heavy location sensing to keep the load well balanced across their various mirrors. – music2myear Jul 22 '11 at 14:42

Sometimes to distinguish between the site's paid service and free one. Most of these sites have a subscription/paid service that should have no wait time or, no ads as well.

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There is also another option, when you have multiple location-based services, the file will be downloaded from the closest server to your home. As I know, Sourceforge used to operate this way. You'll get a link, but probably will be a randomly-chosen server.

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If you want to make your download server, you must have some profits without premium members.

In some cases, not all, it's so that the site can display some ads for a few seconds more. If you will have ads on your download server, you can deter the uploaders and downloaders. Most it's for premium membership.

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It's because it should lure you to buy premium account or lure you to look around and click on some advertisements.

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