Private torrent sites, or private trackers as they are commonly known, have a special place in the piracy ecosystem.
These sites tend to be more community-oriented than public torrent and streaming sites, which most people simply visit with a hit-and-run mentality.
Many private trackers have come and gone over the years. The Romanian-based tracker FileList.io is one of the bigger ones to survive, although it came close to shutting down a few years ago when Romanian authorities seized its domain name.
The enforcement action was a wake-up call for both staff and users of the members-only tracker, but it didn’t mark the end of the road. FileList simply switched from the seized .ro domain to an .io version and with the database unscathed, it kept on going.
According to recent traffic stats from SimilarWeb, the tracker hasn’t lost its appeal. With an estimated average of roughly six million monthly visits, the site continues to draw a massive audience. That, however, is about to change.
A few hours ago, FileList sysop “EboLLa” informed the site’s members that the doors will permanently close in a few weeks. This isn’t the result of legal pressure; it’s a conscious and well-evaluated life choice.
“Unfortunately, I no longer have the time to run the site. A site like this requires quite a lot of commitment and my priorities in everyday life have changed in recent years. Time is the most precious resource for all of us and I have invested enough time here,” the operator writes.
The decision was a difficult one. FileList’s operator long considered handing the reigns to a successor, but that is easier said than done, especially after the dream candidate was no longer an option.
“I don’t have anyone to leave it to. ToXiC, the one who was going to take my place is no longer with us,” EboLLa writes.
Of course, dozens of people will be eager to step up and run the site, but leaving the tracker to a relative stranger doesn’t feel right for the operator. Running a private tracker that stores sensitive personal data of numerous people is a massive responsibility.
There are various angles for potential abuse and handing this type of power and control to someone, even if they’re well-intentioned, simply doesn’t feel right. Instead, EboLLa prefers to close the tracker’s doors indefinitely.
“It is quite difficult to find a person who is integrated here and shares the same values and has the same dedication that you have enjoyed for the last 16 years. I decided that the best thing to do is to close the site rather than risk something like this.”
The operator says that the decision was made with the community at heart, and he thanks all members for contributing to the site over the years. That includes all the files that were shared, the lively discussions, and financial contributions to pay the server bills.
FileList no longer accepts any donations at the time of writing and the current funds are sufficient to keep the lights on for a few more weeks. After that, the site’s users will have to go elsewhere.
“During this time you can still enjoy the site, download what you need from here and post your goodbye message in the thread. After ~3 months, sometime around January 2024, the site will be closed permanently,” EboLLa concludes.