Rapidshare.com: the mother of all file lockers. Part 4

Rapidshare’s affiliate program which rewarded uploaders based on the amount of downloads of their files has been officially disconnected in 2010, but prior to that it existed for many years and provided incentives to upload copyrighted files to Rapidshare servers. And even after their affiliate program was officially disconnected Rapidshare kept rewarding uploaders using other options, such as the recently introduced scheme where uploaders would get rewarded with the so called “rapids”. “Rapids” are the Rapidshare’s inner currency which can buy some services from Rapidshare such as faster download speeds, and it can also be transferred between the users.

Although non-monetary rewards usually do not provide enough of a stimulus to the professional uploaders who seek to get paid by money, it is still a strong incentive for amateur uploaders who occasionally post copyrighted works at piracy forums which they frequent. And it also fits the mentality of a certain type of pirates who believe that “sharing” for money is bad, but getting faster download speeds or bigger storage space as a reward for their “hard work” is fine. Below you can see one example of such amateur uploader who’s asking visitors of a piracy site to download from his links in a certain manner which will allow for him to be rewarded by Rapidshare with faster upload speeds.

As you can see even non-monetary rewards can provide enough of an incentive for uploaders to distribute more copyrighted works, when they’re left unchecked to upload and post what they please where they want, and when a company which provides this incentives is willing to turn a blind eye to their activity, such as not terminating repeat offenders and not investigating their traffic sources which leads to rampant infringement at piracy/warez sites.

But the matter of fact is that Rapidshare doesn’t even need an affiliate program nowadays much because it can attract uploaders anyway, through their quality infrastructure and brand name recognition. Back in the day when they had an affiliate program and pretty much all uploaders where using Rapidshare, that allowed them to build the the most recognizable brand in the file sharing scene, and they also built quality infrastructure with all the money they earned from large scale copyright infringement.

Now they capitalize on both – there’s always a room in the file sharing scene for a host or two which doesn’t provide monetary rewards but provides quality service to end users which allows piracy/warez sites to maintain their traffic in the hope that some of their visitors would still download from other hosts which are paying. In the screenshot below you can see one example of how it is happening, and an uploader asking downloaders to use “links which pay” whenever possible.

We didn’t find any proof of Rapidshare’s providing direct support at piracy/warez forums, or of their direct dealing with piracy/warez sites. They’re smart enough not to do that. And not that it is much necessary for them anyway, because most (if not all) piracy sites voluntarily allow Rapidshare links to be used by uploaders, and have Rapidshare in the list of either allow or sometimes even required hosts – well known brand, excellent infrastructure and quality end user service, and most importantly their well proven willingness to turn a blind eye to copyright infringements, all of that ensure Rapidshare’s popularity and their heavy presence at piracy/warez sites. Below you can see an example of Rapidshare being in the list of the allowed hosts at a very popular piracy forum.

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