At one point in time the site had several million visitors a day, but this popularity decayed in recent years in part through Google’s anti-piracy measures.
The site does still have plenty of visitors though, and last month it was highlighted by the RIAA as one of the top pirate sites on the Internet.
Hoping to shake off this pirate image, FilesTube shut down its search engine today. Instead, it transformed itself into a video portal through which users can watch licensed content, for free.
“FilesTube is now a film aggregation platform, using third-party video players. The business model change means that the site is now an aggregator of only licensed content,” a spokesperson tells TF.
“Users now have the option to stream films and series directly on FilesTube. These are free, legal, and can’t be downloaded,” FilesTube adds.
The change from a search engine of virtually all popular online media to a licensed platform is a big one. The site now lists relatively unknown content and not the Hollywood blockbusters many users were used to. Music, books, games and other media categories are entirely gone.
With the move to a licensed platform FilesTube no longer has to rely on shady ads and pop-unders. This increases revenue potential as the site can run higher value advertisements.
To build traffic FilesTube is offering partners hard cash in exchange for traffic. The site has been hit hard by Google’s algorithm changes in the past so it can’t rely on search engine traffic anymore.
“As one of our marketing channels FilesTube has started an affiliate program. Now Filestube users can earn up to $10 per 1000 visits by promoting legal content on websites and social media,” FilesTube tells TF.
During the coming months FilesTube will continue to expand its content library and hopefully add more mainstream content. At the site time, it hopes that the remnants of its pirate image will fade away.
Google has received more than 10 million DMCA notices for the site, and currently downranks the site in its search engine. Similarly, a UK High Court order still requires the country’s major ISPs to block access to the site.