In November 2016, Zone Téléchargement was arrested following an investigation by the National Gendarmerie which led to several arrests. However, the site may have been closed, but a replica appeared some time later, under the domain name .ws, originating from the Samoan Islands. A quick and smooth transition that will have delighted many.
For those who missed the events of 2016, here is the video of the police raid.
Before it had to go out of business, Zone Téléchargement premier du nom was the 11th most visited site in France The injury had been estimated at EUR 75 million for 110 000 downloads of films and series per day. However, although some people saw their world collapse and their weekends get longer, a near-compliant copy of the site appeared soon after.
Initially, this Copycat did not have much content. Site admins have addressed this problem by adding up to 1,230 new titles each week between December 2016 and February 2017. The pace then slows down to 420 titles per week from March 2017. The frequency of additions suggests that this new site is not run by amateurs eager to see a stronghold survive, but by people whose work rhythm is equivalent to a full-time job.
As of June 2017, the site had 17,000 movies, 57,000 episodes of series and 500 video games 90% of content additions would come from the 14 most active contributors. As for its Business model the site is following the path set out by its predecessor. The advertising is not aggressive and some banners promote mobile games or ads.
Zone Téléchargement.ws has also adopted protect-zt.com, the neighboring site that takes care of hiding the links, before the user can access the file. In this way, the site only hosts shortened links, avoiding problems related to dereferencing and allowing to add an advertising page. Thus, the absence of the Download Zone will have been only temporary, and above all quite short. The site has become the 29th most visited site in France and should continue to do so. It remains to be seen whether or not the authorities will manage to close it down as well.
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