02.A how-to guide to navigating geo-blocking
How do I get stuff shipped?
The price is often right with
online retailers until you reach
the checkout, only to be told
that shipping to Australia isn’t possible.
Third-party delivery services,
such as MyUS.com, Bongo and Australian-based
company Price USA, remove
physical shipping barriers, opening
up new shopping opportunities for
From computers to clothing,
the basic principle is the same: you
purchase the product, enter the
warehouse address of the parcel-forwarding
service you choose, and
wait until they redirect the mail to
your Australian address. Some
companies, such as Price USA,
actually buy the product on your
To read more about third-party
forwarding services, see Shopping online for overseas goods.
How do I access movies, TV shows and software usually unavailable in Australia?
As a client
connecting to a virtual private network (VPN) server that’s in
the same country as the site you’re
attempting to access, you have
unimpeded access to services and
purchases usually unavailable to
There are hundreds of free
and paid VPN service providers
available online. Some popular options include TorVPN,
LogMeIn Hamachi, Hotspot Shield,
HMA, IPVanish and Overplay.
Opening the Netflix or Hulu
webpage while connected to a
VPN server in the US allows
you to successfully set up an
account if you use a legitimate
US postal address.
The alternative to using a VPN is
to adopt a US-based Domain Name
System (DNS) server, such as
unblock-us.com, for about $5 per
month. Rerouting your internet
connection through a DNS server –
a simple configuration in your
computer’s network preferences –
can also trick the site you’re
attempting to access into believing
you are in fact elsewhere.
If documentaries or international
news is your thing, you can access
BBC iPlayer and international news
networks, usually blocked here in
Australia, in a similar way.
How do I play games online without feeling ripped off?
It’s no surprise that Aussie online gamers
are keen to navigate their way
around geo-blocks when the
average cost of a game is 50%
more here. Access to the
lower prices offered on the US
version of online gaming service
Steam is a difficult one to get
around without a US credit card. However, the cheaper US prices for
PlayStation 3 Online and Xbox LIVE
can be accessed by purchasing
prepaid vouchers that can be used
to add credit to an account set up via
a VPN, provided you also use a legitimate
How do I set up a US iTunes account?
In the US iTunes store, the Beatles’
No. 1 album sells for US$12.99, yet
Australians fork out almost 60%
more to buy it from an Australian
IP address. To get around this, you
can set up a US iTunes account
by altering the country setting
automatically detected when
opening the iTunes store and
entering a legitimate US address.
To get around the US credit card
requirement, it’s possible to make
your maiden purchase a free app
and later top up your account with
prepaid US iTunes store gift cards
purchased from eBay.