Targetpoint & BitTorrent: Who Owns What?

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A lot of rumors circling around in the BitTorrent community about the Israeli advertising company Targetpoint and their alleged attempts to buy several torrent sites.

Several people claimed that out initial report and followup were not accurate so here’s an attempt to get the facts straight.

Empornium

Targetpoint has nothing to do with Empornium.us’s recent changes. The fact is that a former Targetpoint employee Oded Daniel was involved in the transfer and sale of empornium.us to its new owner. Daniel operates as a broker and he is listed as the registrant of the site, but the site is owned by a group of people, not related to Daniel. It might look suspicious that Oded Daniel is the domain registrant, but as a domain and site broker he is the registrant of more sites which he does not own.

At least, this is what we learned from my recent conversation with Mr. Daniel. He told that the present owner prefers to stay out of the picture. He also stressed that empornium still is a free site, but that new members can buy their way into the community when registration is closed.

So basically it is a paysite when registration is closed, but people can join for free when it’s open.

So Daniels statement on Slyck

Registration will continue to be free for all users, new and old

is not completely true… (Update: Slyck fixed it)

Wait a minute… How can he make these statements anyway if he is not involved with targetpoint or empornium? Ah… he is in charge of the monetizing of empornium.

Targetpoint Buying BitTorrent Sites

In our initial article three months ago we reported that Targetpoint tried to buy several BitTorrent sites. The fact is that three unrelated torrentsite owners told TorrentFreak that Targetpoint opted to buy their site. Among these sites is one of the biggest players in the BitTorrent scene and Meganova. Meganova who posted Targetpoints attempts to buy their site openly on their blog.

According to Meganova owner Bogaa he spoke to Ran Yehud from Targetpoint. Bogaa quotes the email correspondance at Slyck forums my emails

Quote:

Hi Bogaa,
It’s Ran from Targetpoint.
I wanted to speak with you about something please contact me or leave me a phone where I can reach you.
Thanks,
Ran

Bogaa continues: “Later on when we made the news public, we received this email:

Quote:

Hi Bogaa,
I got this earlier this week: http://TorrentFreak.com/targetpoint-is-buying-BitTorrent-sites/
I see you are doing nice PR for you site, as long as you didn’t made us look bad that is fine with me!
Anyhow, happy holidays.
Bye and best regards,
Ran

When we contacted Targetpoint about these actions they stated:

Targetpoint is an advertising network. We do not own any commercial/content sites. For that matter, we do not own any of the following sites:Empornium.us, puretna.com, imagefap.com, Thepiratebay.org and mininova.org.

However, Oded Daniel, a former Targetpoint employee and related to all the sites Targetpoint mentions told TorrentFreak:

Targetpoint’s CEO indeed confirmed to me that they tried to buy Meganova. This is not unique, these deals happen all the time. Direct deals, external deals, partner agreements and exclusive ownerships are a part of out bussiness.

So we’ve got a little contradiction here.

The Piratebay and Mininova

This is probably one of the more sensitive points, implying that “pirates cuddle toy” the Piratebay is partly owned by a third party is pretty controversial.

Let me start with saying that Targetpoint does NOT own any part of mininova.org. The only relation Mininova has with Targetpoint is strictly business; they deliver the ads, that’s all.

The Piratebay case is more complicated; two credible sources reported to TorrentFreak that former Targetpoint employee Oded Daniel has a share (37%) in The Piratebay. One of these sources got this information directly from one of The Piratebay owners.

This means that it is not Targetpoint that owns a piece of TPB, but Oded Daniel. The same person who happens to be the CEO of Random Media. A recent article on rixstep.com argued that it is Oded Daniel’s company who handles TPB’s ad revenues.

When SvD rang Oded Daniel he refused to reveal what Random Media are and why the company have an address in Switzerland but a telephone number in Stockholm. And he refused to reveal where the ad revenues for The Pirate Bay disappear to.

‘Who said I take care of the money? There are a lot of bit torrent sites. They all work the same way. Go after them instead’, said Oded.

An interesting detail is that randommedia’s website is hosted at PRQ, TPB’s hosting provider…

In our recent conversation with Oded Daniel he said that his company is delivering the ads (url: clicktorrent.info) on TBP but that there are no shares. This is actually a good point because TBP doesn’t have any shares, the only thing they can share are server costs and ad revenues. Perhaps the 37% is the shared ad revenue figure?

It is funny to see that Mr. Daniel and TPB respond exactly the same to the question about the relationship between Targetpoint and TBP:

TPB/Targetpoint used to work with Targetpoint/TPB before, currently we do not. We might in the future again

So lets wrap it up.

1. Targetpoint does not own Emponium, some guy who doesn’t wants to reveal his identity does. Mr Daniel, a former employee of Targetpoint is monetizing empornium.

2. Several sources confirm that Targetpoint is buying BitTorrent sites. Targetpoint denies these allegations.

3. Targetpoint has no shares in TPB. TPB probably has a shared ad revenue agreement with mr. Oded, but that’s pretty common. Mr. Daniel had strong links with The Piratebay and other torrentsites, the website of his company randommedia is hosted at TPB’s hosting provider.

This is what I found out, there are a lot more (minor) details, and there’s always room for conspiricy theories and other wild fantasies, but that’s why we have comments.

To quote a former admin at Empornium (slyck forums):

Like Broham said, I never claimed Oded owned anything. I personally had discussions with Oded a couple times while I was an Emp admin, and he represented himself to me as an employee of Targetpoint. Targetpoint was always represented as the investor, not Oded.

He also made it perfectly clear on more than one occasion that he did not want Targetpoint’s involvement with the site publicly disclosed, even going so far as to have Noos log into our boxes and delete forum threads and threaten anyone, including admins, with box-banning if they said anything negative about Targetpoint. The latter occasion is when the “Targetpoint is full of shit” avatars disappeared.

So it comes as no surprise to me that he is desperately trying to deny Targetpoint’s involvement. They know that corporate involvement in peer-to-peer, in porn, and a corporation asking for “donations” stinks.”

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