“The number of the error is: -8971” was a message that stopped my video viewing in its tracks,  quite a while back. I’m detailing my experience here (and how I finally solved it) in case it happens to you too


I’d downloaded a video training segment from a 12-month affiliate marketing course I’d signed up for – but I couldn’t open it. Instead, the following error message kept popping up:

“Couldn't open the file "s4-attractive-aweber-forms-wordpress.mp4" because an unknown error occurred. The number of the error is: -8971"

Instantly assuming it was a corrupt download, I repeated the process – with no luck. I still got the same error message.

“-8971” was a new one to me, so I instantly Googled it: However, this merely revealed dozens of viewers with the same question – and apparently no answer.

I submitted a ticket to my affiliate marketing course’s Help Desk, and quickly moved on to the usual pressing myriad of marketing tasks.

A week later I received possibly the most unhelpful reply I’ve ever had from a dedicated Help Desk paid employee in my life:

“Unfortunately, I don't have any idea why you wouldn't be able to reach the destination URL.  They work fine for me and I've had no other reports of any problems from the 1,000 members.

It is definitely an isolated situation on your end, but as to how it can be corrected, I am have no knowledge.

I'd recommend that you contact your ISP regarding connectivity issues.”

To say I was disgusted with such a “hey, it must be you, you’re doing something wrong”, buck-passing answer is an understatement.  (Besides which, I wasn’t trying to reach any “destination URL – I’d downloaded the video file, as I clearly stated in my ticket details.)

I put everything aside, did some more research – and was finally able to fish out the answer to my question.

A Simple Answer After All?

Now, when I realized the problem, I just about kicked myself. It all lay in that tiny little file extension name, “mp4”, which somehow I’d missed in the error message – I’d been concentrating so hard on that mysterious-looking “error: -8971”.

All I needed to do was upgrade my Quick Time to the latest version, in order to be able to read the mp4 format. Which I promptly did. Problem solved.

Now, maybe it’s unforgivable that I missed a big clue right under my nose in the error message (the “mp4” designation) – but for a paid tech support person working for the Help Desk to one of the top affiliate marketing courses to fob me off with an answer such as “they work fine for me [and the] other 1,000 members” is downright disgusting.

And I can imagine the answer I would have got, had I contacted my “ISP regarding connectivity issues”.

The moral of my story: Don’t immediately assume a video-related problem is too complex for you to solve by yourself – check every component of the error message carefully.

Chances are you’ll figure it out faster than that dedicated, paid Help Desk employee did (or rather, didn’t!)