You refer to AnyDVD's Email support being shitty - I think I paid about $78 for AnyDVD, CloneDVD2 and CloneCD - I get lifetime free updates for all products (okay technically 1 year for CloneDVD2, but as of yet, no-one has ever had to pay for an update yet). My laptop came with Windows XP pre-installed - Microsoft will not give me any support at all (well I can buy a support package, and I think I get to ask 3 questions or something!!)
Slysoft are a very small company, but to put things into perspective, I had a movie I could not backup. It was a Saturday afternoon, and I think they had a new version out in about 2 hours - now that is what I call service.
Your problem seems to be very isolated - most people on this forum have this program working no problem, so it is not a problem with AnyDVD, but more likely some conflict on your system.
So.... What exactly is your problem? You say that that 188.8.131.52 would not even load - can you give more details? When you rolled back to a previous version did you get the info window pop up when you inserted a movie? If so can you post it?
If you post all the information on this site, I am sure that people here can help you solve your problem.