Yesterday morning’s chaos is not something we experience often. Relentless emails all telling us the same thing – the great Demonoid seems to be back, but is it some kind of trap?
To try and discover more we spoke to a company called RamNode, the site’s host in the United States. Company owner Nick told us that D2.vu had been hosting malware, but by last evening his stance had softened a little.
“The malware may not have been intentionally hosted on this VPS,” Nick told TorrentFreak in an update. “It is possible that one of the ad banners running on the site triggered the malware alert. The server will still be removed from our network to prevent any further issues related to my company.”
Now, 24 hours later, D2.vu is back online with a new host outside the U.S. and fortunately some of our other inquiries have now paid off. So, with the owners of the site speaking with us directly, we put forward a few questions.
“As we all know these communities of free file-sharing are currently under scrutiny by government and media powers so all involved wish to remain anonymous to avoid unnecessary complications and any further risk,” the D2 domain owner told us.
Nothing particularly unusual there but what is somewhat strange is how D2.vu has somehow been able to launch with the database from Demonoid including user details, torrents and comments – how do they explain that?
“It was, as we stated in the email to the user base, an unlikely set of events that flowed from the last Ukraine install. We kept the code safe waiting for Demonoid to return. When it didn’t return we purposely rebranded, to separate from Demonoid’s past and related issues, with the main goal of maintaining the community,” we were told.
TorrentFreak tested an old Demonoid research account registered some years ago – it worked – as did one registered in more recent times. That goes someway to confirming the D2 owner’s claim that the database copy was taken from a July 2012 backup just after Demonoid’s shutdown.
So what other information culled from the old Demonoid is currently in D2’s possession?
“Everything except the domain names which led to the rebranding to d2.vu,” the admin explains.
“What you see is the tracker database of the old Demonoid. We aren’t launching the forum at this time but we do plan to start an IRC channel in the near future so the community can interact in real time,” the admin explains.
While on initial inspection there is a familiar look and feel (color changes aside), what D2 does not have is something that Demonoid was famous for – a tracker. All torrents are now tracked by outside sources/magnets which means that the site is now more like a sign-up version of The Pirate Bay than the semi-private offering users experienced before.
“This was done based on functional and legal necessity, efficiency and to take the site out of the negotiation of peer-to-peer file sharing. Also note that there is work in progress which will re-implement missing functionality and add new features,” TorrentFreak was told.
Technicalities aside, there is also another big issue – that of trust. How can former users of Demonoid be confident of the site’s intentions? For example, is the site endorsed or approved by any former senior staff?
“No former admins have been involved with this rebranding or launch. This effort is independent and undertaken entirely for the benefit of the community. We do welcome past community moderators to help with d2 if they wish,” we were told.
Thinking ahead, we posed another question to the admins of D2. Demonoid has a bit of a reputation as the comeback kid and in the past has reappeared online just when people think the show is over. If users migrate to D2 and that site gets momentum, what happens in the event that the real Demonoid comes back?
“If the previous admin group wanted the admin role back we’d have to figure out how to verify that it’s really them and then we’d work it out,” we were informed.
“The great effort we made here is for the Demonoid community. We completely understand the community’s need to be cautious and questioning. We aren’t phishing or pushing malware or attempting anything malicious. We intend to do our best to keep the site up and current. It’s in the hands of the community to participate as they did before to co-create and thrive,” the admins conclude.
More information as we get it…..