Slyck.com – The Beginning, The Middle, The End

Slyck.com was experiencing downtime for some time. With no signs of life, we look at the life of the site now that it has effectively died.

More than a week ago, we noticed that file-sharing news website, Slyck.com was down. For all we know, by the time we noticed, it may have been down for the better part of a month. This after an investigation into our attempt to determine how long it has been down.

As part of our due diligence, we reached out to Slyck for comment on the matter. The idea is to get comment on the downtime and see if they are coming back or if they have some final words about the site before moving on. As of now, we still didn’t hear back and the site is still down.

With all of that, it seems reasonable to call it and say that Slyck.com is effectively dead. So, we thought we’d look back at the life of Slyck and talk about where it started, how it became to be the biggest name in file-sharing news, and how it all came crashing down after.

Preface

Before we go any further, we thought we’d preface this by saying what our connections are to the site. When I started my news career, it was on this website itself. So, as a result, I got a pretty unique look on both the outside and inside of how the site worked.

Towards the end of my stint on that site, yes, I was pressured to quit myself for about a half a year to a year. This is something I, of course, ended up doing. Yes, I now find myself in the rather… interesting… position of writing the websites eulogy all these years later. At the same time, Slyck’s demise is noteworthy which is the reason why this article was written in the first place. So, that is my disclosure in all of this.

The Beginning

Slyck started with the name SlyWay.com in 2000. It was started by Ray Hoffman and Thomas Mennecke. It was started as a general file-sharing news website. One of the reasons why it was started was because media outlets, at the time, didn’t do a particularly good job at covering file-sharing back then. Most simply took an RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) or MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) press release at face value and called it a day. So, as an effort to correct this balance, Slyway came to be to offer a more balanced approach to file-sharing coverage. At the time, the only other major website that we are aware of was ZeroPaid.com.

Eventually, it was renamed to Slyck.com as it continued its news coverage of file-sharing. One of the debates in the early stages of its life was whether or not to start a web forum. If you can believe it, this was not a slam dunk decision behind the scenes as it was debated for a while. Ultimately, the side that won out was the side that was pushing for a web forum. That saw the formation of Slyck’s web forum run on PHPBB. As the forum grew, administration saw the value in having it first-hand. An internal question wound up being “where would we be without the web forum?”

Eventually, a user-submitted news aggregator became a feature. This allowed the community to take an active role in the news gathering process. A few criticized this feature as a method to allow staff writers to get an advantage of news gathering by offloading some of it to the userbase. As a former staff writer myself, this criticism is actually quite bunk. This is because when you are a writer, you tend to research much more quickly than the actual queue of stories that flow through. Generally, when there was a conflict between the news submissions and the news writing, chances are, the article was already being written by the time it landed in the submission queue. There were exceptions to this, of course, but those exceptions were pretty few and far between. The talent on staff at the time was, simply put, really good.

In addition to this was the formation of guides and even the gathering of statistics on various file-sharing networks. With this roster of features, it seemed like destiny that such a site would grow.

The Middle

As we entered around the mid-2000’s, Slyck’s userbase was very dedicated. Users even got to the point of forming their own in-forum features such as the now famous Slyck.com graveyard. The Graveyard was a thread that features all of the major file-sharing websites that were either shut down voluntarily or by authority action. Many users used it as a trip down memory lane or, if they’ve been away for a while, a resource to find out whether or not their favourite file-sharing news site was taken offline.

It was around the early to mid-2000’s that I personally joined the site as well. Shortly after, existing Slyck staff began hiring responsible forum members to the role of staff writers. As you know, I also graduated to being a staff writer in 2005. While I made numerous submissions to the news queue, I never really pictured myself as a news writer until staff member Scratch taped my shoulder to become a staff writer.

From there, news content became more diversified. Not only were there interviews from various people in the file-sharing community as well as big news stories, but also the coverage of other topics such as privacy, network neutrality, and a few other elements of what would later be known as digital rights. Who could forget the article about file-sharing scam websites?

For my part, I became known as the Canadian guy because I covered loads of news stories that came out of Canada. Thanks in part to my news coverage, entities like Michael Geist, Russell McOrmond, CIPPIC, and a few other names became very well known – some of which continue to be hugely famous to this day. So, if you are wondering how Michael Geist became such a well known figure, it was people like me that helped that process along.

Other features also cropped up such as the Slyck shoutbox. In addition, there was what was referred to as “the bastard child of Slyck”, Fooltank. Fooltank was an offshoot web forum created by Slyck staff. Then there was contents like the avatar contests to determine by community vote who has the best avatar. There was a number in picture game which challenged people to count up numbers in pictures. A few other people also joined the staff as well. There was the inclusion of Digg buttons which helped get news stories to the then-famous social news website along with Slashdot.

Perhaps the article that got Slyck the most famous was the article about The Pirate Bay getting raided and having their servers seized. This ultimately marked the day that the entire Internet came to Slyck. Members remarked how the servers got absolutely thrashed as the site experienced downtime. I remember talking to Hoffman about it after it was over and recall distinctly how he said he was pulling out all his hair trying to keep the site online.

Really, at that point, it seemed like the sky was truly the limit for the site. The site was the number one file-sharing news website across the Internet, the community was active and vibrant, the staff was plentiful and diverse, and the future seemed so bright.

The End

The eventual downward spiral is much more difficult to explain than the massive upswing of Slyck. So, it is probably no surprise that answering the question, “What was the first thread in the fabric to be pulled that led to the downward fall?” is actually a very tough question to answer. Some might say that it was when Slyck dropped the statistics for various file-sharing networks. Being on the inside, I know for a fact that this isn’t it. I remember actually asking about this somewhere along the line. The answer is actually very simple: there is no way to properly gather statistics on the sizes of networks anymore.

In retrospect, this is actually not a big secret if you know some of the events of file-sharing back then. In fact, it was part of the actual front page coverage of the site itself at one point. During the mid-2000’s, the eDonkey2000 network seemingly experienced a massive surge in traffic. The numbers seemingly spiralled upwards with no real explanation. The network ballooned in size to 3 million users, then 4 million, then 5 million and upwards from there. While the network was popular, it wasn’t actually that popular.

As it turns out, some server operators were artificially inflating their user load as a method of advertising other websites. Other networks were seeing bots infiltrate the networks to bust file-sharers. Ultimately, the data became so polluted, the numbers became meaningless. As a result, the statistics were pulled simply because it became impossible to gather any significantly meaningful data. Regardless of anything else that was going on at the site, that feature was going to get pulled anyway and had no bearing on the health of the site itself.

So, if it wasn’t the pulling of site statistics, then what was the beginning of the cascade of events that led to the downfall? For me, the only thing that makes sense throughout the entire downfall was Mennecke simply losing interest in file-sharing news. When this started happening, even I’m not sure. What I do know is that this problem gradually snowballed over time and became bigger and bigger.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Well, who cares if one person loses interest? That shouldn’t cause the downfall of a fully staffed website.” To understand the significance of this is to understand the staffing architecture and how news becomes published.

At the top of the writing staff are editors. They receive news through a hopper. They look over the articles to ensure accuracy and that what is going to get published doesn’t get the site into trouble (liability). It’s how articles are devoid of comments like [insert big name here] blows monkey balls. The editors screen stuff like that out. Indeed, there was a time where there was two editors: Mennecke and Malicious_Intent. So, if one editor has to go on vacation or has a personal emergency, the other editor can fill the role of this. A redundancy was put in place to make sure the lights stayed on at the editorial level.

Now, the issue of Mennecke losing interest on the subject is pretty invisible at the beginning. News articles were getting pushed and Mennecke himself was writing on a near daily basis. As time went on, however, fewer articles by Mennecke were being written. Really, not a big deal. We all have lives too. Sometimes, things get busy at work or there are things going on in their personal lives. Articles kept getting written and published anyway, so there is some nice coverage going on. Eventually, the coverage from Mennecke slowed down to one article every couple of days. Again, no big deal, the coverage was getting through and he was pushing articles out to the front page in a nice and timely manner.

As that was going on, some staff members began leaving. Sometimes, it was for very legitimate reasons while other times, it seemed like things were happening beneath the surface that even I wasn’t even aware of. I do remember some of the talk, however. Some of it involved feelings of under-appreciation. Other times, it was differences of opinion with administration. In all honesty, this is where I started to get worried that something bad was happening. If it was one person, then maybe it’s not really a problem. When multiple people start individually complaining, that is a sign of a systemic problem.

At the same time, news was changing. It became less about the innovation different services were coming up with and gradually more about politics. This is where things probably grew problematic both on the outside and on the inside. To understand why this is a problem for Slyck is to once again understand how Slyck operates.

On the forums, there are a number of rules in place. Two of those rules expressly forbid politics and religion. These rules are sometimes misunderstood by some people on the public side of things. Some people actually come to the conclusion that Slyck staff is anti-religion and anti-politics because of these rule. While it comes off as such, that is actually not the case. The simple reason is that discussions of politics and religion are very divisive topics. As far as the staff are concerned, these topics exposes cracks and divides in the community that would otherwise remain invisible. By banning the discussion of both, people at the time generally stay happier and get along better.

These rules made sense at the time because Slyck.com is not a forum or site that discusses religion. In that aspect, it still makes sense. The discussion of politics, however, is where the rules and structure began to break down over time.

In the early 2000’s, politics and file-sharing and copyright were entirely separate things. So, you can have full coverage of copyright and file-sharing while leaving the politics out. It keeps the forum more harmonious and we all move on. That began to change in the mid-2000’s. Governments started tabling copyright reform bills specifically tackling file-sharing and implementing mass surveillance. These are very noteworthy developments even back then. So, an interesting question to ask is, “What happens when a government introduces an anti-file-sharing bill with respect to coverage?” You simply have to cover it even though the forums explicitly ban the discussion. Ultimately, this is a catch-22 that I think Slyck had a hard time grappling with.

For me personally, I just forged ahead with the stories. They are noteworthy developments and to not cover it is to simply admit that I don’t want to do my own job anymore. In that regard, I wound up personally pushing the envelope. I think initially, the coverage went ahead because it was relevant to what Slyck covered. At times, close to half of the news traffic went to articles I wrote. Since Slyck is ad-supported, what I did not only helped make me something of a small bread-winner for the site, but I also helped evolve the coverage to be more in line with where news was headed. With coverage nowhere near close coming out of the United States, I always held the impression that administration was collectively plugging their noses and hitting “publish” hoping that discussion doesn’t get out of hand. After all, it’s hard to argue with results even if you weren’t a huge fan of where things were going.

While there were some internal threats forming, there was another threat to Slyck: Torrentfreak. Honestly, it felt like I was the only one seeing just how serious of a threat this was. On the outside, they were spamming the submission queue with their articles. Every other submission felt like a TorrentFreak article. They were handing out in the forums, trying to get on everyone’s good side. On the inside, they were trying to talk with every staff member, attempting to squeeze information out of the weakest link in the chain. While staff did speak to me on multiple occasions, they were ultimately not successful with me. Still, there were rumours of an internal leak in the staff and that, ultimately, that leak was removed after someone effectively got fired for something else.

Sometime after, Malicious_Intent wound up leaving the staff. It had nothing to do with my coverage, but another conflict that was completely separate from me. As a result, Slyck was down to only one editor: Mennecke. Additionally, Scratch also wound up leaving the staff. So, the staff artist for news items also wound up leaving as well.

For news writers, we were down to Mennecke, myself, LanJackel, and LordFoul if I remember correctly. It’s a sizable staff still, but compared to the height of Slyck, we were down to a shell of our former selves by that point. I could be very prolific and I did largely take over duties of gathering stories for the user submission queue (Scratch did a lot of that before me). Ultimately, I found myself taking over responsibilities to help keep things looking like they were running smoothly. Behind the scenes, I personally felt like I was watching leaks spring from the dike and all I could do was use my fingers and feet to desperately plug as many holes as possible. Eventually, LordFoul and Lanjackel left the writing staff, leaving me to take up the slack left behind.

As things were beginning to melt down, I found myself registering my concerns of where things were going. Slyck’s overall traffic was sliding, the manpower was down to bare bones and it honestly felt like I was the last person breaking out a sweat keeping the site afloat.

To make matters worse, editorial duties were getting more and more delayed. After writing an article, I saw articles getting delayed two days, three days, four days. If I remember correctly, the worst cases saw the articles get delayed to five days. When I mentioned that this is becoming a problem, the most progress I ever got was an admission that administration has dropped the ball on things and that things will get better. So, I gave some of the people responsible for kick-starting my career as a journalist the benefit of a doubt.

As for my other concerns, I was told that it was not a big deal as eye-popping as it sounds. I remember being told by one of the administrators that I was effectively expendable. More broadly, I was told how if I were to leave, someone else will simply step up and take my place. When I pressed my concerns that things were, in fact, going sideways, I was told on no uncertain terms that if I didn’t like what was going on, then I could leave.

So, I found myself thinking that I could just keep my head down and keep writing news. The number of articles from Mennecke were continuing to drop and, after a while, I started seeing the delays again. All of this on top of all the other problems seemingly getting out of control. When I spoke my mind about concerns, and, by this point, I was beginning to lose my mind over it all, I was once again told that while my contributions are appreciated, I was still replaceable because if I were to leave, others would simply take my place.

So, there I was sitting in a situation where things have gotten so far out of hand that even I couldn’t salvage the situation. What I found was an editor who was largely absent, myself attempting to plug every hold in the dike with every extremity, administration telling me repeatedly that I was replaceable, and TorrentFreak staff with a sledge hammer grinning mischievously, cackling, and taking more and more swings at the dike as they sucked Slyck’s traffic dry with their relentless spamming of the submission queue and throwing up links everywhere possible. Staff never saw a problem with any of this – or at least it was never vocalized to me. If anything, I was told that it was interesting TorrentFreak was on the rise, but they would never last and that Slyck will be there to take on the traffic again.

This led me to probably one of the most emotional decisions I had to make in my entire writing career. Do I stay loyal to the site that enabled me to see my talents as a journalist, or do I jump ship from a site with every alarm blaring while being told how oh-so replaceable I am? After all, by me leaving, Mennecke would be all that is left of the writing staff. Ultimately, I jumped ship out of self-preservation. The stress I was going through to help keep the site afloat regardless of emotional connection simply was not worth it. It was time that I look after myself as opposed to the site itself on the front end. I still had a lot of doubts that what I was doing was the right move because it’s something I’ve never done before. Was this a rash decision on my part? Will I have a future by leaving Slyck? Doubt was certainly abound, but staying was unhealthy at the same time.

When I announced that I was leaving, I was told about how selfish I was for making such a decision. In response, my name got erased from every article I wrote and my account was ultimately permanently banned. This ultimately showed parts of the retaliatory efforts against me personally. I couldn’t help but think that if the staff was this passionate of exacting revenge on me for the simple action of leaving the staff, Slyck would have carried on business as usual for years to come. The reaction simply proved that what I did in deciding to leave was the right move.

I felt more confident at that moment that moving to ZeroPaid was the right decision. Yes, I was in unfamiliar territory and the rivalry between ZeroPaid and Slyck was legendary. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I would be accepted to come aboard because I thought people would look at me suspiciously enough to consider me a mole of some sort. Still, the community eventually accepted me and I also had control over when to publish news articles (something I’ve never had before as I was used to having articles I write get a once over before going live).

Back to Slyck, there may have been reverberations throughout the community not only over my decision to leave and the reasons why, but also the staff reaction as well. Regardless, the theory of how people will step in to fill the void I left behind was about to be tested whether they like it or not.

A couple of users did step up and continue with the user submitted articles from other sites, but for people to immediately step in and fill my role as a news writer? Well, that took a long time to even come close to happening. It took a few years before staff was able to promote someone to the role of a staff writer, but even that didn’t last for very long. In the mean time, articles gradually slowed down to a trickle as Mennecke seemed to continue to lose interest in the topic. An actual vidcast was produced, but Mennecke seemingly spent that time offering film critiques of Star Wars movies as opposed to file-sharing news itself. After a few episodes, that show gradually died off and simply ground to a halt on the front page.

There was, of course, one of the only active things left on the site and that is the legal letter discussion letters. This was only starting up at the end of my personal tenure at Slyck and I had moved on. Still, there was the occasional person still wandering in to ask for help and there were still responses and, eventually, a long history of users helping out. In 2010, in response to some of the comments by anonymous users, ACS:Law sent a legal threat to Slyck. After getting the backing of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, nothing really became of the legal threat. While it was a sign of Slyck’s overall resolve to stay alive, as time went on, that resolve did eventually dim. For those wondering, we started a thread on our own forums to extend the help to those still hoping to help others and those who are still seeking help if they run into these situations.

User submissions gradually worked their way down to a trickle. Eventually, on a good week, someone copied and pasted a link every day which was a far cry from the 20 or 30 submissions Slyck used to get a day. Eventually, whole weeks were missed. Actual news stories eventually ceased sometime in 2016. Interest in the site gradually waned as it seemed like motivation to keep the lights on kept dropping as the weeks went on.

Perhaps the final nail in the coffin came in 2017 when Mennecke announced that he was moving on. If the site depends on an editor to publish news and the editor leaves, how does such a news site even publish news in the first place? The trust placed on the editor is immense and, during a time when user interest in the site was drying up fast, Mennecke would not be easily replaced save for a massive external intervention. With the oh-so-replaceable staff writers gone and not actually proving to be oh-so-replaceable, the site itself gradually became a zombie site.

In the time since, the whole site pretty much dwindled down to MrFredPFL occasionally posting a user generated link every so often. The submissions drew little to no responses and the forums – and the whole site for that matter – gradually became a one man show. Some people certainly visited the site for nostalgia reasons, but considering the outright implosion that took place over the course of a few years, it was difficult to really see a possible recovery of any kind.

Indeed, the site pretty much wandered aimlessly and lifelessly along and the memories of the site faded for people. There was no real reason to even bother visiting the site any more. Features fell into disrepair, the original news ceased to be functional, and the forums became quite dead. With so many other viable alternatives out there, it was hardly a surprise that the site fell into this state of affairs. Yet, for three more years, it stayed online perhaps out of some kind of hope that someone would eventually swoop in and save the day. That hero figure never came and the miraculous intervention never happened. Is it really a surprise that maybe, just maybe, the administrator finally put the site out of its misery? Probably not.

Even if the site did somehow miraculously come back, administration would be basically back to square one and fighting towering giants just to eke out a slice of the file-sharing news pie. It’s a monumental challenge that lies ahead and given how low motivation was even while I was still around, is there anything left in the tank to get the site to its former glory? If the last five years is anything to go by, that is extremely unlikely.

Final Thoughts

There is no question that what Slyck accomplished was actually impressive. In fact, the achievements the site was able to get is certainly something to be proud of. Few people who know the site well will say that they didn’t look up to the site at some point. Slyck was authoritative in the news and had a great community of people which is something not easily replicated – especially in the age of Facebook anyway.

Of course, the run isn’t perfect and even the staff would admit that maybe they did make mistakes along the way. In some ways, Mennecke is right in saying that the mid-2000’s was a unique time for Slyck even if this is also speaking to his motivation to continue writing.

While I was a part of it and I didn’t have the most pleasant ending to my tenure, I also don’t regret being part of the team to help make Slyck the site that it ultimately became. After all, without Slyck, there may not have been a Freezenet. While I did see this day coming that I may find myself writing the sites eulogy one day, I still get mixed emotions about it all even though we are talking about events that happened more than a decade ago.

While Slyck may be gone, the need to hold power accountable through news writing in this area is still alive and well. For that, all I can do personally is carry on where Slyck (and ZeroPaid for that matter) left off. What the future has in store for me personally, I don’t really know. Even TorrentFreak can admit that I certainly don’t go down easy even if I am the last man standing. I may not have the power to revive either of these sites, but I do have the power of choosing where to move forward from here. If people don’t like the idea of me surviving everything, tough. There is nothing for me to apologize for.

Slyck may be dead, but Freezenet lives on – and that should be fantastic news for all. You can’t change the past, but you can certainly change the future.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



19 Comments

  • WitchHunterRobin says:

    As a former member of Slyck in its heyday, its sad to see it go. I would still check in on the site from time to time for nostalgia’s sake, but noticed the lack of interest.

    Your article was a good read, but failed to mention one of the reasons for its decline, as well as file-sharing in general – streaming. As someone who was a dedicated P2P network user (going back to Napster, Morpheus, and the like), then Bittorrent (with a generous share ratio of around 5:1), even I myself went over to the streaming side, losing interest almost entirely in file-sharing. I still have an impressive collection of movies and music, but even I find it easier just to use a family Netflix account amongst other things for digital entertainment. Many of the then-young users such as myself have since also grown up, and moved on.

    Technology moves fast, and nobody could have predicted the Netflix/Youtube streaming model would become the dominant force, effectively taming file-sharing, to the point of utilizing all this straight from our Smart TV’s. What will the digital entertainment landscape look like in another 5, 10 years? Who knows, but cheers to Slyck for creating an environment I can look back fondly on.

    -Former Slyck member WitchHunterRobin, active in the mid-2000’s.

    • Drew Wilson says:

      The movement of technology didn’t really play a role in Slyck’s decline. Even while I was on staff, the user submitted news section expanded to general technology. After I left, I went over to ZeroPaid to continue covering file-sharing related news. By the time we reached that part of history, the decline of Slyck was well under way at 2008. ZeroPaid’s run continued well into 2014 with the coverage of file-sharing combined with coverage of other topics.

      Furthermore, while Slyck had staff writers, a move could have easily been made to pivot to streaming related services. That simply never happened while I was there.

      While the excuse that file-sharing went by the wayside explains the overall decline, there is very little evidence of that. It’s something that can be said to bring up warm fuzzy feelings and try and blame something else for the decline, that’s all such an explanation will ever be.

      So, that is why the article didn’t mention the technological move away from file-sharing as a reason. That really played such a minor role – if at all – it wasn’t worth mentioning. To believe that a technological change meant the demise of Slyck is to believe that Slyck is completely incapable of changing. My experience suggests that this is not true by any stretch of the imagination given how easily Slyck had no problem covering BitTorrent when BitTorrent became a thing. By the time the staff was down to both me and Tom, what should have happened was a call for more staff writers to fill the voids left behind by others like M_I and ultimately me. Instead, a grand total of one active writer was all that could be mustered to my knowledge. With an ever shrinking pool of people that could have been utilized, the window to replace lost staff members simply kept shrinking until it was too late and the talent dried up.

  • Nick says:

    Nice to see you made a career of things, Drew. We go back a long way, and I confess to a little disappoint at not being mentioned.

    Having been both instrumental in driving the site standard (along with the incredibly talented Scratch, M_I, Da Blade and Macker) it was indeed going places and gaining traction as a credible news site. But for me it was generally a part time thing, being an established lawyer myself. Although it was often incredibly frustrating, dealing with opinionated kids and often irrelevant US law.

    At the same time, there were opposing forces between Hoffman and Mennecke, who held down a full time job (FAA?). Despite having met as a group in Amsterdam, Mennecke was always a bit of a cold fish, and objected to the website evolving into a legitimate news site. And, as you say, he never took the rising threat that was Torrentfreak that seriously.

    Having flown across the Atlantic to interview Dean Garfield (head of the MPAA legal team), and having produced one of the biggest stories on Slyck, I had set myself up as a target for much dissent, and Mennecke liked having the applause (and the control) himself. (Although none of us took Zerpaid seriously). He was forever dissing people in the background, the lack of respect shown to the hard working Scratch and M_I was staggeribg.

    Anyway, I digress. Having been approached to represent some (shall we just say) very high profile clients, when I WAS told by Hoffman that Mennecke was troubled by the direction the site was taking, it came out of the blue. I have a strong feeling that MrFedPFL was actively trying to interfere in things, but I could be wrong. Anyway, history has it that Slyck was moving downhill very fast, and becoming an embarrassment anyway.

    No loss, Hoffman at that stage told me that if he was given the choice of working with Mennecke or myself, he would leave himself rather than lose his long term partner. I didn’t have to think twice, I left and went on to successfully represent the winning defendants in two of the world’s largest to date copyright law cases – one I am unable to name as they are still a client and the other being thr 7 year EU case of ITV V TVCatchup,

    Now? I have my fingers in a couple of medium scale internet businesses, consult for a large client on copyright matters and enjoy an early retirement lifestyle in sunny Portugal after a near death health experience last year.

    I wish you well, as I do Scratch, M_I, Da Blade and Macker, and having me email address, you/re welcome to drop me a line. As for Slyck, RIP the old and middle Slyck, but it will never be missed.

    Nick aka SlyckBick

  • Nick says:

    Nice to see you made a career of things, Drew. We go back a long way, and I confess to a little disappointment at not being mentioned.

    Having been both instrumental in driving the site standard (along with the incredibly talented Scratch, M_I, Da Blade and Macker) it was indeed going places and gaining traction as a credible news site. But for me it was generally a part time thing, being an established lawyer myself. Although it was often incredibly frustrating, dealing with opinionated kids and often irrelevant US law.

    At the same time, there were opposing forces between Hoffman and Mennecke, who held down a full time job (FAA?). Despite having met as a group in Amsterdam, Mennecke was always a bit of a cold fish, and objected to the website evolving into a legitimate news site. And, as you say, he never took the rising threat that was Torrentfreak that seriously.

    Having flown across the Atlantic to interview Dean Garfield (head of the MPAA legal team), and having produced one of the biggest stories on Slyck, I had set myself up as a target for much dissent, and Mennecke liked having the applause (and the control) himself. (Although none of us took Zerpaid seriously). He was forever dissing people in the background, the lack of respect shown to the hard working Scratch and M_I was staggeribg.

    Anyway, I digress. Having been approached to represent some (shall we just say) very high profile clients, when I WAS told by Hoffman that Mennecke was troubled by the direction the site was taking, it came out of the blue. I have a strong feeling that MrFedPFL was actively trying to interfere in things, but I could be wrong. Anyway, history has it that Slyck was moving downhill very fast, and becoming an embarrassment anyway.

    No loss, Hoffman at that stage told me that if he was given the choice of working with Mennecke or myself, he would leave himself rather than lose his long term partner. I didn’t have to think twice, I left and went on to successfully represent the winning defendants in two of the world’s largest to date copyright law cases – one I am unable to name as they are still a client and the other being thr 7 year EU case of ITV V TVCatchup,

    Now? I have my fingers in a couple of medium scale internet businesses, consult for a large client on copyright matters and enjoy an early retirement lifestyle in sunny Portugal after a near death health experience last year.

    I wish you well, as I do Scratch, M_I, Da Blade and Macker, and having me email address, you/re welcome to drop me a line. As for Slyck, RIP the old and middle Slyck, but it will never be missed.

    Nick aka SlyckBick

  • Nick says:

    Apologies for double posti g, also for name typo
    Nick
    Aka SlyckNick

  • John Wills says:

    No long post from me.

    I was a mere user of one forum thread for years, which, I stumbled upon when I got a letter saying, I had downloaded and shared a film, despite the fact I hadn’t. I then stuck around for years to help others.

    I had no idea, the site was going to be going offline, but I only ever looked at the one forum post and the posts in this one thread, were only updated very rarely in the past 2-3 years.

    I just hope support for innocent people will still be available elsewhere.

  • Drake says:

    It’s a bit sad that I find out that Slyck is dead this way. I have a few observations.

    I learned a lot about P2P on slyck and I enjoyed reading and posting on their forums, although if I were to do some of it over, I wouldn’t get involved in some of the immature debates or take some things too seriously.

    I sometimes wonder what happened to Ray. We know that Tom became a lawyer but there’s no mention of when or why Ray left Slyck. But everyone deserves their privacy so I just hope he’s doing well.

    You mention TorrentFreak but as great a website it has been for several years, their story comment section at its peak did not match Slyck’s community in its prime.

    Here are a few other observations:

    – I didn’t know you made Michael Geist. Wow… and CIPPIC too. I’m surprised you didn’t come out and say that you made Tom Mennecke. Give your head a shake, Geist would be just as famous today if you had never mentioned him and I can’t begin to understand why you believe you had any effect on CIPPIC’s popularity.

    – This website is a bit creepy. You’ve tried to clone Slyck’s design but it looks strange.

    – If any of the old Slyck.com forum members are reading this, what’s up? I hope you guys are doing well and that you’re still pirating media every day. 🙂

    • Drew Wilson says:

      I sometimes wonder what happened to Ray. We know that Tom became a lawyer but there’s no mention of when or why Ray left Slyck. But everyone deserves their privacy so I just hope he’s doing well.

      Ray kept to himself much more than Tom did. So, I never really did figure that one out.

      – I didn’t know you made Michael Geist. Wow… and CIPPIC too. I’m surprised you didn’t come out and say that you made Tom Mennecke. Give your head a shake, Geist would be just as famous today if you had never mentioned him and I can’t begin to understand why you believe you had any effect on CIPPIC’s popularity.

      Who wrote about the guy so much in the mid-2000’s? I was one of them. Sorry, but I really did contribute to the name recognition of Geist and CIPPIC. In fact, some people ended up telling me that I needed to write about stuff other than what he talked about even though so much was happening in Canada back then. But hey, I’m not stopping you from engaging in a little revisionist history there. Whatever makes you feel better in your quest to make Drew the bad guy.

      This website is a bit creepy. You’ve tried to clone Slyck’s design but it looks strange.

      The design is not even close to Slyck let along being a clone of Slyck. This is my own design that I spent hours coding by hand and the site has gone through 4 variations already. If anything, this site is a massive overall improvement over what Slyck had back then.

  • Tim says:

    Wow. How can someone as nice as Drew come from a site with so many shitty people? Looking at the comments, it sounds like this Slyck site was packed full of assholes. I’m actually glad it’s gone now.

    Drew, stop responding to these trolls. Their comments just scream of jealousy.

  • Nick says:

    The people who inhabited Slyck were not always polite, especially towards the end, but times were a lot harder and there was much to be said.

    As for Geist, he wasnt particularly relevant to the 600m living in Europe. Same for much of the Slyck content, which Mennecke was determined to keep US centric. I would have thought he’d make a lousy lawyer, as well as leaving it somewhat late in life to pursue law as a career.

    Drew contributing to Geists’ career? I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration (read a lot), and it would be such a shame to allow a touch of reality ruin an otherwise good story. And, respect to him, he soes atill write a decent (if not quite accurate) story.

    Still, in keeping with the tainted spirit of Slyck, his site, his rules.

  • Nick says:

    Quick ps to Drake remembered and hope you’re keeping well also

  • ZeldaFan91 says:

    I looked into the comment that said that Drew cloned Slyck’s design. Found the home page of Slyck https://web.archive.org/web/20200208224050/http://www.slyck.com/

    Drake needs to lay off the crack pipe. Freezenet looks nothing like Slyck

  • ZeldaFan91 says:

    Everyone keeps saying Slyck was so popular. It looks like Drew re-posted his old stuff.

    Geist https://www.freezenet.ca/michael-geist-releases-book-canadian-copyright/
    CIPPIC https://www.freezenet.ca/cippic-says-cria-headed-wrong-direction/
    Geist https://www.freezenet.ca/truth-canadian-copyright/
    CIPPIC https://www.freezenet.ca/bill-c-60-bill-c-74-die/
    Geist https://www.freezenet.ca/michael-geist-wraps-30-days-drm/

    Prolly lots others. Articles like that on a popular website would make people like that more famous. The evidence is there. Drew is right

  • X says:

    the HELL guys??? Drew is one guy! ONE guy! and the two of your couldnt take him out? seriously what the fuck is the problem here? how can you let a bunch of stupid randos stop you like this????

    Drew, you got lucky this time. but sooner or later your luck WILL run out. as long as us Slyckers are around we will make sure you will never EVER succeed!

    • Drew Wilson says:

      Uh, first of all, who are you?

      Secondly, get a life. I left Slyck in 2007. That is 13 years ago now. The fact that you are still pissed off at me after all of this time suggests that you need to seek medical help. If you hate me this badly, just ignore me. There is an entire Internet out there beyond Slyck and Freezenet – explore it. The same goes for anyone else who still has an axe to grind against me. Re-evaluate your life if you are holding a grudge against me after all this time because it is blatantly obvious that it is unhealthy at this stage. I know for those who still used Slyck, this is a sad time. All I did is offer a way for people to express their sadness and memories here and offer an alternative platform in the absence of the site. That is it. For me, I’ve written a bunch of articles about countless things since this one.

      Slyck is gone. I’ve had nothing to do with that decision to pull the plug. If you want to grieve, grieve. If you want to share memories, share the memories. Otherwise, if you have nothing constructive to say about all of this, move on. You guys were from a website that held the mantra “share something intelligent”. Act like it.

  • Nick says:

    I think it is probably irritating to people that you are claiming such credit for Slyck’s one time professionalism, whereas you were actually just very small cog in a very much larger machine.

    I well remember your own contribtion (was it 13 years ago?) and you were OK. Just that, nothing special, so get over yourself. You were just a schoolkid, into DDR.
    Learn to expect to be called out when you exaggerate your self worth or boast about your successes in public.

    And yes, I do know and have already stated the reason why Slyck folded – it became an embarassment, people had better things to do with their time, the site became dominated by American kids and they had distanced themselves from the talented contributors thanks to Mennecke’s inferiority complex.

    ex (Slyck)Nick

    • Drew Wilson says:

      I well remember your own contribtion (was it 13 years ago?) and you were OK. Just that, nothing special, so get over yourself. You were just a schoolkid, into DDR.
      Learn to expect to be called out when you exaggerate your self worth or boast about your successes in public.

      It’s called “analytics” and data tracking. If the data said that my contributions didn’t mean much, I would’ve taken a much different angle. You may have your personal opinion on what is and isn’t a valuable contribution, but I’ve had access to the raw data from two different websites. They painted a very VERY different picture than what you are trying to push. There is no exaggeration on my part. I’ve had many articles go into 6 digits on sites where that is not common. My contributions on Slyck made regular appearances on most popular articles. At times, my articles accounted for half of all the top viewed articles on the site. That is simply fact. I’m sorry that this has irritated you to the point where you have to insistently run in here and talk me down, but like I said, I think it’s time to move on.

    • Robo says:

      Nick,

      >>it is probably irritating to people

      Don’t pretend you have the backing of readers around here. You do not have it.

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