Places where people share stolen/pirated/ cracked software. Technically the host site is on the borders of doing anything wrong, They aren’t actually selling software/videos, but they sometimes charge for membership to download. The downloads are not hosted from the site – the initial one is, but many after that come from the cloud of sharers, that’s why they are called torrent sites. You could for each of the torrent hosted sites, send a legal warning of hosting copyright/stolen videos, and it may or may not do anything, where one of torrents is shut down, another will pop up. Pirate bay recently lost this battle, but it doesn’t stop the pirates.

I have a friend who owns a membership site with the same problem, I conferred with him what he did to sort it out, the problem is, it is still ongoing for him. It boils down to maybe just a single member on your site, buying content, then maybe reimbursing, and uploading to these pirate sites. If you have any chargebacks, get the IP, and you can possibly match the originator RARBG. I can possibly trace the originator by joining the cloud and seeing everyone’s IP address, but if there are lots of sharer’s it makes it difficult. Find the Originator, and you can block that IP address from your site, from purchasing any more material, and even serve legal action on him – but it depends how useful other sharer’s found the content – they may re-up it onto the torrent host sites.

There is from a traffic and marketing point of view another way to look at it, and apply dome cunning to deal with it:

  1. Consider that firstly, the people downloading – are unlikely to be customers of yours in the first place, they never pay for anything! (BUT we can get something out of them using other techniques) people that have the software to use torrent sites are looking to get stuff for free.
  2. the fact your content has made it onto a torrent site validates your product as being wanted, and has been given commercial value, consider it a test to prove your product is worth something to other people. I would even go in and check people’s comments on the torrent thehiltonian.
  3. Go in and put comments on the torrent to make people second think whether to download – ‘contains a virus’, ‘there are bits missing’ ‘wont download’ ‘wont open’ ‘someone’s hacked this!!’ post your link then say how the content is out of date… etc.. use the traffic as a free banner…
  4. fight them with the same fire; Re-up lots of the above under different names and swamp out their torrent. They come up quickly in search engines, people think they are getting stuff for free so go and check out the torrent sites, but if the torrents are diluted with a number of threads that are giving out smaller chunks of information all pointing to your site and implying up to date stuff comes from being a member – you may get conversions.

There will always be thieves who host the content or share it to sites to get money on click throughs or affiliate links. The fact that your product is considered valuable enough to share, is a badge of honour. It is possible you can trace the originators by joining the torrents, but not get rid of them. You can serve a legal notice on each site that is hosting the torrent – they may take it down but the originators might re-up it. Serve legal notice upon tracing the originators. You can, dilute them by re-upping more and using them as traffic sources, put a notice on your site to say pirated content will be pursued, indicate these torrents do not give the full benefit of being a member – that your content is unique every week, you have choices.

Just remember, professional people like yourselves, and business people, do not really have the time to mess around with these torrent systems, and debating their computer safety etc. It is more likely people downloading for free from these sites will never be your customer base anyway. A real customer who looks to find your product then finds your stuff is being offered on a dodgy download site probably gives them validation to then going on and buying in – rather than taking the risk of downloading a virus. You could put a blog up saying how some people have downloaded viruses for trying to get your content for free.