Goes Down for Unknown Reasons, Joins Being Offline

File-sharing news website is officially down. We first noticed the downtime yesterday afternoon and, checking today, the site is still down.

For a lot of people, may not ring a bell. However, if you’ve been around for more than a decade, you might be more familiar with the name. Slyck is an old file-sharing news website that gained popularity in the mid-2000’s. The idea behind the site is that coverage of file-sharing is, at best, spotty amongst much larger news services. At the time, many major media outlets simply took press releases from the Recording Industry Association and the Motion Picture Association of America and simply called it a day.

So, Slyck came about largely to help set the record straight in a lot of cases. It really helped bring into focus that copyright is actually a much more nuanced thing because there really is economics both from the consumer perspective as well as the major corporate interests. In addition to this, Slyck covered a lot of the stories surrounding the different file-sharing applications and how the various file-sharing networks were doing.

Of course, since the mid-2000’s, the popularity faded as the production of news stories slowed in favour of news websites like ZeroPaid who only ramped up coverage. So, by around 2009 or 2010, forum activity and readership simply dropped out in favour of other websites. As a result, it fell out of the public conscious over time. In 2016, news coverage of any kind stopped altogether, relegating itself to a news aggregator.

In February of 2017, Slyck editor, Thomas Menneck, announced that he was “moving on”. Here’s part of his statement back then:

And that gets to my next point. Yes, is not what it used to be. At its peak, was a formidable force in the file-sharing and P2P news genre. It was an amazing time filled with technological marvels cropping up nearly every day. I’m grateful Slyck was a part of those days.

Time moves on and people move on as well. Obviously I moved on. Around 2011, I went to law school and became an attorney. My specialty is housing and rental law in New York City. And I love it! The effort that I put into Slyck absolutely helped in that venture. It helped me become a better writer, researcher, professional, and I can go on. And Slyck was all about fighting for the little people and against corrupt power, which helped focus my legal interest as a public interest/social justice attorney.

What isn’t clear is what is causing the recent downtime. Whether it is a network outage or if the administrator has finally let the website go, we don’t really know. We looked around for public statements about the status of the website, but were unable to locate anything.

What is also unclear is how long the outage has lasted up to this point. We know that we checked yesterday, but we only infrequently spot check different sites. The Internet Archive last took a capture on February 8, 2020. So, we know for sure that the outage started sometime after the 8th and before April 5, 2020.

Another thing to note is that ZeroPaid, the other major file-sharing news website, left the scene in a similar manner. No real official statement, but all news reporting halted somewhere around 2015 and the website’s uptime became intermittent. By 2018, after significantly long downtime, we had to call it and say that ZeroPaid shut down sometime in 2018. Like Slyck, ZeroPaid didn’t really have an official statement about going offline or whether or not they left, they just left the scene quietly. If Slyck is officially gone, it probably wouldn’t be a surprise if they simply left quietly as well.

So, the next question is, as of now, what all is left between Slyck and ZeroPaid? The simple answer is Freezenet, me (some of you would remember me as IceCube), and former members who wanted to take refuge in the official Freezenet forums. Two decades ago, that would be unthinkable, yet, as of now, that is where we are at this time.

Whether or not Slyck will ever come back is unclear at this point. We’ll keep an eye out for if Slyck comes back or if any statement is ever released about the status of the site. Still, not the most pleasant development to say the least. We’ve reached out to Slyck for comment on the matter and will update you if we hear anything.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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