Over the past 48 to 72 hours, the operators of many prominent cyberlocker services have been taking unprecedented actions that can not simply be explained away by mere coincidence. The details in the Megaupload indictment clearly have some players in the file-hosting world spooked.
One of the key allegations is that between 2005 and mid 2011, Megaupload ran a program that rewarded users for uploading infringing material. A cited internal email allegedly shows staff members discussing cash payments going to people uploading “full popular DVD rips” and “software with keygenerators (Warez)”.
Although Megaupload stopped paying out rewards in July 2011, that didn’t stop the site from getting raided. Other cyberlocker services are clearly hoping they will be more lucky.
Last evening Filesonic, a top 10 player in the file-sharing world with a billion pageviews a month, not only withdrew its affiliate rewards program, but also banned any third parties downloading files. Simply put, users can now only download files from the service that they uploaded themselves.
But according to reports, there’s no guarantee of that. Account owners report that their files are being mass deleted, that’s if their entire account hasn’t been banned already.
Fileserve, another leading player, also ended its affiliate program this weekend. Additionally, this morning TorrentFreak received news that Fileserve has now joined Filesonic in banning all 3rd party downloads.
Other users of Fileserve are experiencing an even further degraded level of service. Reports describe mass deletion of their uploads and the banning of accounts on apparent ‘Terms of Service’ violations.
As previously reported, Uploaded.to banned all US IP addresses in what appears to be an effort to distance itself from US jurisdiction. Its affiliate program is still listed as operational but the same cannot be said about those run by some of its competitors.
VideoBB and VideoZer have both reportedly closed their rewards program and according to reports have also been mass deleting accounts and huge numbers of files.
Other sites closing their affiliate programs and/or deleting accounts/files include FileJungle, UploadStation and FilePost.
Do you know of other file-hosts/cyberlockers taking similar action? Send us your stories and screenshots to the usual address.
Update: Smaller host UploadBox calls it quits. “All files will be deleted on January 30th. Feel free to download the files you store with UploadBox until this date.”
Update2: Another host, x7.to, shuts down.
Update 3: TorrentFreak has seen evidence that on request PayPal is refunding cash paid to Filesonic over the weekend.
Update 4: FileJungle and UploadStation have disabled all 3rd party downloads.
Update 5: 4shared cancels affiilate program.