The piracy ecosystem is more structured than most people assume. While anyone can upload a file online, the most popular content is distributed by a small number of uploaders.
ETTV and ETHD are in this top echelon. The groups, which have their roots in the defunct ExtraTorrent site, have shared tens of thousands of videos in recent years. This has resulted in a following of millions of people.
In reality, these ‘groups’ are little more than some lines of code, or bots. These pull videos from private sources to make them available to the public. It’s an effective system but one that relies on a central hosting facility that has to be paid for. That is where things went wrong recently.
Little over a week ago, avid torrenters began to notice that ETTV and ETHD releases had stopped appearing online. Not just on the main ETTVdl site but also on other torrent sites, including 1337x. It seemed like the groups had simply disappeared.
Initially, it wasn’t clear what was going on, but ETTV administrator ‘sidekickbob’ tells us that the outage is linked to the recent troubles at the torrent site. They started when the original operator disappeared and that situation still hasn’t improved.
Sidekickbob has taken it upon himself to salvage the situation. A few weeks ago, he moved the ETTV site to a new domain, fearing that it would become inaccessible. However, the hosting accounts are also at risk and that’s where the ETTV and ETHD bots were hit.
The hosting accounts of the bots expired as the bills were not paid and Sidekickbob says that funding remains an issue. However, he ordered new servers to get the bots up and running again in the near future.
“Just got new servers today and I will reinstall the script that will start uploading again on all sites it uploaded before. Should be back to normal by Thursday… or close to normal,” he says.
This is good news for ETTV and ETHD fans. That said, the trouble at ETTV is bigger than just the bots. As we mentioned before, the future of the site is uncertain and as the original operator remains missing in action, things could start to fall further apart.
ETTV’s official image hosting services, extraimage.net is down as well, including all content. This site was often used by uploaders to add screenshots. Sidekickbob says he still has access to snoopimages.com, but all older content on this site has gone.
“We lost all the previous content we had on both extraimage.net and snoopimages.com … because also those servers went down as they were on a hosting I didn’t have access to, or time to move it all… extraimage had a massive database of images, gone forever,” Sidekickbob says.
On top of that, the ettv.online domain is set to expire if the original operator doesn’t resurface. Sidekickbob managed to redirect that to ettv.be, which is under his control, but ettv.online might eventually disappear.
It is clear that the troubles at ETTV are far from over. This, despite efforts from the remaining team members who continue to do whatever they can to keep things afloat.
While we don’t want to speculate too much, there might be an even larger drama at play since the site’s operator hasn’t disappeared without a reason. Thus far, however, there is no further information on precisely what happened.
Update May 12: The bots are back already.