Questions about ShareReactor.
Dela: Going to start so with just a few questions about ShareReactor before it was shut down
Q. Dela: First of all, for readers who unfortunately don't know what ShareReactor is/was – Could you give me your explanation of ShareReactor? For people who never got the chance to use ShareReactor before it was shutdown, who better to explain to them what it was than you?
Simon Moon: Hmm, the best explanation i ever saw was from a user of SR, after it got shutdown. He described it as an experience, a drug and used a few other words in that direction. SR itself brought no files to the network, but was a meeting place where "links" to files could be found. The forum was an important part with its community, but the main page that was administrated by a small team was still 5 times more often visited than the forum. This page gave people only links that worked and were tested. This way you get what it says and it's free from viruses etc.
Dela: Ye. The forums were excellent but even though I used ShareReactor a lot I didn't discover them for a few months or so - After the launch of ShareReactor, how fast did the number of members grow? Did you begin with any target of users?
Simon Moon: The page started as a private page. It was sort of an experiment with PHP. The idea to have links that never go dead basically, don't depend on FTP servers etc was of course one of the core factors behind the page. It was never meant to be a huge page, just a small one for a few people that might enjoy what one person did on that page. Well, it didn't stay one person, and it didn't stay small. Within the first month there were already 500 unique users. Within 2 months there were almost 50'000 unique users each day on the page. Then it just grew until it hit 250'000 unique visitors each day.
Dela: So basically a small project that got far out of control?
Simon Moon: That is kind of an understatement but covers it in the basics.
Q. Dela: That tends to happen while hosting P2P site though, especially one with the quality people came to expect from ShareReactor. So I'm guessing you chose the eDonkey2000 network for most notably eD2K links?
Simon Moon: The choice was made because of the links. The architecture of the network dictated that a file once in the network will spread fast and stay there for long, which was the second reason to stick with it. At the point the project started, there was only one page that had some links to non ed2k skins files. That page only had about 10 links and wasn't updated for at least 6 months at that point (and never ever got an update anymore). The page started as page only, the page started as page only, the forum was something that came later.
Dela: So I'm guessing after the launch of the forum, more eD2K links quickly began to flow in.
Simon Moon: Not exactly. As i mentioned before, it was important for the community, but the links were flowing from admin's that were actively searching for them, not from the mass of the forum users. SR was always about the main page, the forum was an add-on to it, to allow discussions and help people with problems. It kind of became a life on its own and both complemented each other. Once a release appeared on the main page, it was spread like mad, even rare things. I heard someone mention that it needed to be posted in 3 pages and 10 different forums now that SR is gone and he still sees only a fifth of the sources that were around if it was just put up on the SR main page.
Dela: Yes I definitely agree with that, while eD2K sites still exist, the Network took a huge hit when SR went down. So as time went on, I'm sure the costs grew a lot larger than expected?
Simon Moon: More or less. The problem here is that it was always very hungry on server power, although i already optimized it to death and back. In total SR killed about 4 machines and was running on at least 10 different machines over its lifetime and to make maters worse, bandwidth costs and arm and a leg here.
Dela: Can you give some example of bandwidth costs?
Simon Moon: hmm, in what currency?
Dela: Euro if possible but anything will do.
Simon Moon: About 3500 Euros each month.
Dela: 3500 euro? OMG, bandwidth transfers must have been huge?
Simon Moon: It was until one month before the shutdown a 2MB line, in both directions and the line was mostly fully used. Stats said something about 98%. Then one month before the shutdown, i got a line that would have cost only about 1000 Euros each month, for 4MB.
Dela: Wow looks like costs of running the site were much higher than people realized. Did the site earn even near enough to support itself?
Simon Moon: No. I was unable to pay my bandwidth of the old line. I still have huge bills open from that.
Q. Dela: Ouch. I can imagine how much pressure it must have been to keep it going, and the last thing you would have needed is some form of trouble in ShareReactor to add to it. All I know is that a couple of years back (maybe not that long) some accusations were spread against you and some of the ShareReactor team left? Anything to say on that?
Simon Moon: Yeah, a few short things. First, most people have not the slightest clue what happened. Second, money was no factor in this. You already see that i wasn't making money of SR, just paying on top of it a lot. So there was nothing for anyone to take. The people that left had personal reasons. What is funny is no one ever mentions that most of the ones that "left" came back within the next few months. One person left because it became sort of an obsession, it was healthier for him and i agree there. Two of the ones that left were never really around, nor did many releases, both together came to 20 releases. One who left didn't like me; he was the stone that brought it rolling. One wanted to come back later but it wouldn't be possible without him losing face and one has a terminal illness, he left before all of this happened. The whole thing is a lot more complex than it seems, not a reflection of SR's state or my work on leading it.
Dela: So basically its the same as always happens, a small situation where one or just a few people turn it into hell, the general users make up their own stories and spread them, before you know it, there's about 30 different stories coming from all around you?
Simon Moon: The whole thing had a lot personal reasons involved, that's why you never see someone, not even me really going into more details. And I respect the privacy of the current and all former admin's and won't go into more details than i did but of course people speculate, and in my humble opinion, they can do that as long as they want, i don't care and it won't change what happened.
Dela: Ye, I can understand that, but people will be people and people tend to like conflict, which is sad.
Simon Moon: People will always gossip and look for the evil man, the evil intention and the conspiracy. You can prove them wrong as much as you want, you can't kill this stuff. You can only ignore it, and that's what i do; the fastest way to get rid of it.
Q. Dela: But anyway, away from all that, ill only ask one more about the earlier days. My favorite part of ShareReactor quickly became the forum. In the months leading up to the shut down, they were just getting better and better. More and more people came along and began posting eD2K links. I guess that must have been very nice to look at, to see that level of participation?
Simon Moon: That was nice form this perspective, but also the more users there were, the more morons flooded the forum. This again was the work of the mods, admin's and me to keep those out and make sure the forum stayed enjoyable. The ratio of morons and real users was about the same all the time, but of course with more users you got more people who don't contribute but actually drag the forum down and use it for their own spamming or pure bullshit. Towards the end we couldn't even really support the users we had. The forum got slower and slower.
Dela: I know what you mean about the morons, but that cant be helped, they get everywhere, well, before i get onto the ShareReactor investigation, id just like to hear some of your views on other legal situations on P2P at the moment if that's ok?
Simon Moon: Sure, go ahead.