TV-torrent distribution group ETTV switched to a new domain name a few days ago. While domain changes are not unusual, the background to this decision is quite worrisome. According to a top ETTV staffer, the site’s main operator disappeared without a trace last December, which makes the site’s future rather uncertain.
Three years ago, the torrent community was hit hard when the popular torrent site ExtraTorrent suddenly shut its doors.
The site provided a safe harbor for millions of file-sharers and was also the birthing ground for several popular releasers and distribution groups. This includes ETTV, which is short for ExtraTorrent TV.
With its home gone, ETTV decided to carry on independently by launching its own website. Over the past years, this has grown out to become a medium-sized torrent site with a dedicated and vetted group of regular uploaders.
Although the site has operated as usual in recent months, behind the scenes staff faced a critical problem. The main ETTV operator who controlled the domains, servers, and ads, suddenly went missing.
TorrentFreak spoke to ETTV administrator ‘sidekickbob’ who informed us that the operator last logged in December last year. Around the same time, he also sent out an email telling the staffer that he had experienced health issues.
After almost four months had passed without an official word from the operator, ‘sidekickbob’ decided to step into action. The first step was to disable the ads since he had no control over them. Coincidence or not, two days later someone canceled the server.
The admin doesn’t believe that ETTV’s operator did this. However, someone clearly was responding, as the server that hosted the torrents was also canceled. After paying the bills, Sidekickbob was able to get the site’s server back, but for the time being ETTV will use magnet links only.
To guarantee that he retained full control, Sidekickbob then decided to switch to a new domain name, ETTVdl.com. While he has access to the registrar login of the other domains, as well as root access to the server, he wants to prevent a ‘third-party’ from taking over.
“I redirected all traffic from ettv.to,” sidekickbob tells us, adding that the other domains are set to expire later this year.
This domain change was also communicated in the forums, without any further background detail.
Unless the original operator reappears, the ‘new’ admin will also reinstate some ads so he can pay the bills. However, sidekickbob has no intention of steering the ship any longer than needed. He is currently looking for a trusted person to take the lead, or else he will shut it down.
“It’s all left to me, and if I don’t manage to ‘transfer’ it to somebody else I will eventually shut it down, most likely at the end of this year,” he says, adding that he doesn’t have enough time to manage the site himself.
This means that ETTV’s future is highly uncertain. In any case, the new admin doesn’t simply plan to sell the site to the highest bidder. If a third-party takes over, it has to be someone with a good track record and some experience
“Ultimately my intention is to sell it to somebody that wants to run the torrent site. Preferably somebody that has experience in running a medium traffic torrent site. I’m not going to give it to some random kids,” sidekickbob concludes.
Shutting down ETTV will certainly have an impact. While the site is not crucial, the ETTV and ETHD bots supply torrents to a wide variety of even more popular torrent sites. If these go down as well, it will surely be noticed.
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.