When BitTorrent trackers get emails from content producers it’s usually an indication that relationships are about to break down in a big way. But when lifestyle and clothing company Voleurz saw their videos being made available on the ExtremeBits BitTorrent tracker they didn’t send the usual cease and desist. Instead, they asked the site to spread more of their videos while using their torrent stats in sponsorship proposals.
In operation since July 2006, ExtremeBits is a BitTorrent tracker focused on a wide array of extreme sports such as BASE jumping, BMX, skateboarding, climbing, motoX, snowboarding, skydiving, skiing, street racing and rallying.
Having been shut down briefly in 2008, the site is no stranger to negativity about some of its work. However, unlike most sites, it recently received a welcome boost from a content owner who for once didn’t have smoke coming out of his ears and a team of lawyers behind him.
“We were recently approached by one of the owners of Voleurz, a company that produces fantastic winter sports movies, with a proposition,” ExtremeBits staffer CB told TorrentFreak.
Noting that he’d already spotted two of their earlier productions on the site’s tracker, Voleurz co-owner Bruce Giovando told ExtremeBits that his company had a brand new video just about to come out. But rather than warning the site about leaking it early, Voleurz took a completely different approach.
“I’d love it if we could drop our new video titled ‘Look on the Bright Side’ here a little early to support this awesome community,” Bruce told ExtremeBits.
“Awesome” isn’t usually a word used by content creators to describe torrent sites so TorrentFreak caught up with Bruce to find out what is so special about a Voleurz / ExtremeBits tie-up.
“To give you some background info on approach I’ll need to explain a little bit about our company. It’s called Voleurz and was originally started in University when filmmaker Darren Rayner and I got together,” he explained.
“Voleurz is actually, for all intents and purposes, a clothing company, but we like to describe it as a lifestyle brand because that’s what we really see ourselves as selling. Since day one we’ve been producing videos and sharing our crazy experiences with the action-sports community. Every year we’d produce a video that encompasses all the sports we were doing – skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding.”
Between 2005 and 2007 Voluerz relied on DVD sales, but the numbers weren’t adding up. The company was barely breaking even on their production costs and due to small distribution numbers it was hard to pitch to potential sponsors. So the company chose a different path.
“We made the decision to forgo selling the DVD and instead give movies away online for free,” said Bruce.
“At the time this was still a relatively new idea, right around the same time Radiohead released their album online for free. This approach was unique to the action-sports industry and because of this we raised a few eyebrows, and received substantially more press than we would have otherwise. It was considered a little controversial at the time.”
For then on, when Voleurz pitched projects to potential sponsors (which include household names such as Coors Light) they used download stats from ExtremeBits and also The Pirate Bay in order to illustrate the promotional benefits of torrents. Bruce said that due to the specialist and relatively untapped nature of the ExtremeBits userbase, that site was of particular interest.
During a count last week, ExtremeBits had 13,372 active users. One of those members is Bruce who has been quietly using the site since 2007 and actually witnessed some of Voleurz’s earlier movies get released there.
“It was pretty awesome to see our first two free films put up on Extreme Bits without any interaction of my own,” he said. “The users found and uploaded the video themselves – this was gratifying for us, it really justified all the hard work that went into making the video.”
ExtremeBits are very proud that Voleurz views them so positively and told TorrentFreak that they hope this is a taste of things to come.
“Our hope is that this approach from Voleurz will open the eyes of other creators to the possibilities of free exposure of their sponsors,” CB told us. “It would be fantastic to see more cooperation between creators and fans who mostly get their material via P2P.”
Those interested in reading more about Voleurz and their products can do so here while anyone who’d like to join ExtremeBits (and sample some free Voleurz videos) can signup here. Hurry though – registrations are only open at the weekends.