A FLVTO.biz Clone Is Already Popping Up — With Half-a-Million Monthly Pageviews

Attack of the Clones: Instagram Rolls Out Snapchat Like Live Video
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Attack of the Clones: Instagram Rolls Out Snapchat Like Live Video
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photo: John Bozeman (CC by 2.0)

We’ve seen this whack-a-mole story before — but usually the clones wait until the mothership is destroyed.

As the major labels wage legal war against YouTube ‘stream ripper’ FLVTO.biz, a clone site is already capitalizing on the anticipated demise.  According to SimilarWeb, FLTVO.cc is currently garnering 519 million pageviews a month, with a sharp trajectory upward.

By sharp contract, FLVTO.biz is drawing 117 million views monthly, according to the same data-tracker.  Those are beastly stats, which explains why FLVTO.biz is currently battling major labels WMG, Sony Music, and UMG in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

But this case is far from over — in fact, it’s just beginning.  And FLVTO.biz owner Tofig Kurbanov has assembled a serious legal team to defend himself.  Already, that three-firm defense brigade is moving to strike the case for lack of jurisdiction, with a hearing slated this week.

Still, the history on these cases usually favors the Plaintiffs, with a site teardown the ultimate result.

But that produces another result.  After the teardown, tens of millions of active users immediately search for an alternative, with many simply searching ‘FLVTO’ or ‘FLVTO.biz’ in Google.  Right now, that produces the result of FLVTO.biz, but the second result is FLVTO.cc.

FLVTO.cc, unsurprisingly, looks exactly like FLVTO.biz.  See where this strategy is going?

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Earlier, German-based site youtube-mp3.org was taken down after an out-of-court settlement with the majors was reached.  But according to piracy-tracking firm MUSO, that actually led to an increase in traffic for Youtube stream rippers, as users started scouring around for a suitable replacement.

Eventually, aggregate traffic for Youtube stream rippers returned to their previous ‘steady state,’ with other sites (including FLVTO.biz) picking up the slack.  The net result was zero reduction in YouTube conversion traffic.

That raises a typical problem for the recording industry, one that dates back to the early dates of P2P file-sharing.

After Napster was famously dismantled, other file-swapping apps quickly filled the void.  That included more sophisticated replacements like Kazaa, which operated on a decentralized, node-based sharing protocol.

But the stream ripping problem is a little different, and actually a lot simpler to solve.  The reason is that ‘YouTube stream rippers’ share a common source — i.e., YouTube — and that source has the power to greatly handicap (if not completely cripple) stream ripping sites.

So why aren’t they?