MediaDefender Secretly Sells Porn to P2P Users

MediaDefender is widely known for their anti-piracy operations, spoofing and decoying on file-sharing networks for the entertainment industry. The company is doing more than that though, as we recently found out that adult affiliate programs were a significant source of income for them too.

mediadefenderWhen we posted an article on the Miivi project, Mediadefender CEO Randy Saaf wrote to his colleagues: “This is really fucked.” His response became public after thousands of internal emails from the company leaked on BitTorrent last year.

The emails exposed some of the innermost secrets of the anti-piracy outfit, and now another one is about to be revealed. One of the things we’ve learned already is that polluting file-sharing networks is a profitable business. MediaDefender received $4,000 to protect a music album and $2,000 for a single track. Movies were even more expensive, as they got $3.6 million from a large studio to protect just 4 movies.

The money they got from the entertainment industry must not have been enough though. We recently discovered that Mediadefender had (or has) some interesting side projects – selling access to adult sites. It makes sense. What better way to make cash on the Internet than from porn, especially if you have the knowledge and equipment to spam file-sharing networks with files that redirect people to your site.

From the leaked internal emails we’ve now learned something that wasn’t covered before. MediaDefender was spamming Limewire and other file-sharing networks with thousands of porn related files, trying to convert P2P users into paying porn subscribers. Here’s a quote from one of the emails MediaDefender’s Ben Grodsky sent to some of his colleagues:

One of the theories I’ve had about why the LimeWire redirects sell so many porn subscriptions is because one basically can’t get porn on old versions of LimeWire because our popups and spoofs overwhelm the user.

In the same email, Adult Friend Finder was mentioned as one of the affiliate programs they were working with, and probably made a lot of cash from. This is confirmed by another email, where they discuss the conversion rates:

Adult Friend Finder converts 1 in 2000 on LimeWire. If we want more users, Dylan’s eDonkey messages would get us a lot of Europeans that are a little bit older crowd….

MediaDefender also used LimeWire to promote their infamous Miivi project. In one of the emails they discuss how they can drive more traffic to Miivi, and redirect Limewire users to searches on Miivi:

Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson ARE in the system. Some of these are on the PM2 Data Collection owner sending traffic to our porn site. Any ones sending traffic to our porn site (www.enterallsites.com), you can switch over to the MiiVi links that Colin indicated below.

What’s interesting about this last email is that they don’t only use Adult Friend Finder, but they have their very own porn site, enterallsites.com. Other emails show that this site was advertised by MediaDefender on Limewire and eDonkey too.

It looks like porn was big business for MediaDefender, and we’re curious whether their stock holders are aware of this, since it is never mentioned in any of their financial reports. Thus far, the adult revenue stream has never been mentioned. Nevertheless, traffic reports from Alexa and Compete show that the active advertising stopped directly after the emails leaked September last year.

We assume that MediaDefender stopped advertising their porn projects on LimeWire and other file-sharing networks after the emails leaked, in an attempt to avoid more bad press. They did the same with their Miivi advertising after that project was uncovered. Nevertheless, even without the porn connection being out in the open, their stock price dropped to less than $0.01.

It is worth mentioning that while MediaDefender was selling pron subscriptions to thousands of file-sharers, they were also working with the New York Attorney General to track down child porn downloaders. Nothing wrong with that of course, but we raised our eyebrows when one of MediaDefender’s employees found a suspicious file on The Pirate Bay, and said: “I’m trying to download it now from a dedicated server, but it isn’t finding any peers.”

Today, more than a year after the MediaDefender email leak, enterallsites.com is still up and running. Several other adult domains also owned by the company are still redirected to the site as well. With Piracy and Porn, it must be a great working for MediaDefender.

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