After about eight years of serving up links to large volumes of mainstream content, the site had apparently disappeared. There was no warning or indication of what may have transpired, but several weeks ago a message appeared on its homepage, indicating the platform was up for sale.
Intrigued as to why its operators had decided to throw in the towel, TF made contact seeking information. This week we received a response from part owner and long-standing editor ‘Error’ but it wasn’t what we were expecting.
“The problems started when we stopped paying attention to our website due to real-life issues,” Error explained.
“Once we forgot to renew our domain which caused a few days of down time and more recently we switched to a new server and the payment renewal was not automated, so it expired. In the end, I decided it would be better to sell the site to a person who can actually take care of it and run it as we used to years back.”
Error says that after putting the site up for sale they had a lot of responses from people with bids, but one individual stood out as a reasonable person with a decent offer.
In the world of ‘warez’, however, not many things are straightforward. Few people want to make their identities known and meeting people face to face is mostly out of the question. Error says he asked the prospective buyer to nominate an intermediary, such as a trusted and well-known person within the warez scene. The offer was declined.
“[The buyer] said that he didn’t trust anyone and was fine sending the money in two payments, half before he received the database and half after he was satisfied that he can work with the old database. Then the domain transfer could happen,” Error explains.
The buyer identified himself as a former editor of a Sceper rival which had shut down under legal pressure back in 2012.
Additional proof came in the form of a panel screenshot which showed the buyer had access to a current scene release blog and other related domains. An email address used in correspondence with Error also belonged to the same blog, confirming the buyer’s identity.
Error says he hadn’t heard of the release blog until that moment, but he concluded that Sceper would be safe under this potential new ownership. However, when asked to send the first payment before receiving the Sceper database, the buyer asked for the database in advance, ostensibly to see it working first. Error put trust in him.
“After a couple of days he told me that the database had some issues, it was too big and consuming a lot of hardware resources, so he needed to run it live,” Error explains. After some back and forth, Error agreed to add the buyer’s nameservers to the Sceper.ws domain.
“The site went live and I came back to check the next day. He said MySQL had some issues and he needed more time to extract posts and import everything to a fresh installation to resolve the issues completely.”
With technical discussions underway on Skype, chats seen by TF dating back to May reveal Error repeatedly asking for an initial payment. Each time, the prospective buyer – who we will call ‘FD’ – gave reasons not to pay.
“I know you waited long, but it was very hard work. I worked whole days on it, please be a little more patient. I am not sure many people would be able to fix this, if any, so basically you found the right person,” FD said.
What followed was a discussion about what money system to use, such as bitcoin, but the conversation suddenly died on Saturday, May 26. Messages sent on a daily basis after that went ignored.
On May 30, FD finally responded, informing Error that he’d been in an accident and asking for more time. Error asked for more details but received no response. It took until June 3 before radio silence was broken by a person on Skype claiming to be FD’s brother.
Apparently, ‘FD’ had been involved in a “direct hit” with another car whose driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and veered onto the other side of the road. FD reportedly had significant injuries and was in hospital but had managed to brief his brother on the Sceper deal, from both technical and financial perspectives.
Messages reviewed by TF show clear similarities in writing style between the supposed brothers, something which didn’t go unnoticed by Error. Nevertheless, in correspondence Error remained both calm and polite, showing concern for the reportedly injured party and assisting with the transfer.
“I just didn’t want to be too rude and out of courtesy gave him the benefit of doubt,” he says.
“Of course, I did not believe it, it was too obvious the way he was messaging, acting like he knows every technical detail like his brother but backing off the moment I brought up the topic of money.”
From June 6, several messages to FD and/or his supposed brother went unanswered but with Error dealing with real-life issues, the site became less of a priority.
A couple of days later, however, Error noticed that the Sceper homepage had an announcement advising former users of Sceper.ws to switch to Sceper.net. This coincided with several posts to Reddit (by an account known to be affiliated with the release blog run by the prospective buyer) telling people to use the .net domain.
Sceper.net itself, which was registered just days before, also carried a notice claiming to be the new home of Sceper.ws.
“That rang the alarm bell. I logged in to my Skype and FD was no longer in my friend list. I removed his name servers and placed an image on Sceper.ws,” Error explains.
From there the dispute moved to email, with FD insisting that he’d been in the hospital for the previous 15 days. However, he did offer an explanation for the mysterious and coincidental promotion of the Sceper.net domain.
“I am investigating the happening around Sceper at the moment,” he wrote in a June 12 email to Error.
“I see that someone redirected Sceper.ws traffic somehow. The leak might be coming from the server, there’s been a couple of brute force attacks recently, so some data might have been compromised.”
In response, Error pointed out the mounting issues. The reluctance to pay, the posts on Reddit and elsewhere advertising the .net domain, being blocked on Skype, not to mention the disabling of Error’s WordPress account.
FD responded by doubling down on the malware claims and stating that at this point he was simply glad to be alive. Ever polite, Error wished FD a speedy recovery but was then offered something extraordinary in return.
“Since you’ve been very patient and understanding I will neglect your accusations pointed at me. I can help you bring down Sceper.net cause I found out how and where my data got stolen,” FD said.
The quid pro quo for this generous act was that FD wouldn’t be paying for the database anymore because it had failed to live up to expectations and wouldn’t generate the traffic he hoped. Instead, there would be a new deal, with him buying just the Sceper.ws domain in two installments. Error flatly refused and said that he’d only accept payment for the full amount.
“Have a nice day,” Error concluded. And that was that.
After reviewing all chat logs and emails detailing the proposed sale and negotiations after that, TorrentFreak contacted ‘FD’ for his take on the above allegations. At the time of publication, we had not received a response.
So now a new wait continues, not necessarily for the sale of Sceper.ws, but for its relaunch. With a fresh outlook, Error says the site will relaunch “very soon.” He’ll be hoping that moving forward, any drama will be kept to a minimum.