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In 2007 I wrote a post about aXXo’s place in the bittorrent downloading community and the irony that surrounded the feud he seemed to be having with Scene rippers and The Priate Bay tracker site.  If that sentence was utter gibberish to you, you might take a look at that earlier post for some definitions and background.

People continue to come to the blog through web searches for things like “axxo gone” or “where is axxo” so I figure I’ll write a little update to bring those guys up to speed with the state of things in 2009.

In that 2007 post, I wrote about aXXo’s place and importance in the movie sharing community, saying:

You may be thinking, ‘what’s the significance of aXXo or these so called scene groups?’  MPAA-hired agents became notorious for flooding the P2P networks with bogus material using file names that mimic the aXXo or other dedicated rippers’ monikers.  Virus and malware purveyors also employed this technique, likely the source of the idea for the MPAA rent-a-cyber-cops.  The bad file would contain some error that would render the file unusable, but that would only be discovered after spending time downloading the entire thing and, using BitTorrent, helping others to download it as well.  In downloading it, you would also have to connect directly to a copyright security firm’s computer, exposing your IP address holder to the dreaded copyright infringement letter threatening legal action….

aXXo announced a set format for his downloads which mad it harder to impersonate and since he was the original seeder of his torrents, one was assured that the downloads offered under his account were legitimate.

The problem a lot of people probably run into is that “aXXo” the user never re-materialized.  His user account on thepiratebay.org is still empty (while the user accounts using the aXXo moniker at mininova.org and btmon.com are still active) and since it is the Pirate Bay is the most famous tracker site, he might as well be gone.

And he might as well be gone in terms of meeting the purposes lifted from the 2007 post quoted above as well.  The Pirate Bay has since established a set of identifiers to note major uploaders and bittorrent clients mostly let users see and select exactly what files and file types the tracker they are loading will download.  Below is crop from thepiratebay.org showing trackers for several movie torrents depicting some obvious information along with some cryptic icons.

the pirate bay - skull and bones

Two of those icons are of value to the discerning downloader.  The green arrows simply link directly to the tracker download, bypassing the individual tracker page.  The little yellow bubble indicates the tracker entry has comments and a rollover will give the number.  Comments are of great security use on bittorrent tracker sites, not just The Pirate Bay, as issues with the tracker or the downloaded content is often reported through them.  The little colored skull and bones represent the greatest advance for security and indicate the displacement of aXXo’s place in the community.  There are a couple of these icons, green for VIP members and purple for Trusted members.  Sticking with trackers that these types of users have seeded will give you about the same assurances as sticking with aXXo user accounts.  Again, seeds from aXXo’s accounts (not just trackers that say aXXo in the title) gave downloaders the assurance that the seeds were safe and indicated a consistent level of quality.  You’ll still find torrents labeled with aXXo seeded by other members on The Pirate Bay but they seem to be using them to simply indicate the quality and file format aXXo release downloaders were accustomed to.  The VIP and Trusted members have seeded numerous files and likely would have been outed and shunned if they had put up suspicious content.  And aside from that, there is a greater diversity of content than just what aXXo could put up.

So let’s get over the aXXo pining already.