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The Secrets of a Release Blog - SceneReleases Exposed

Ever been curious to know what it takes to make a Release Blog tick? FSF certainly is, so we contacted Faolan & staff at SceneReleases to find out what goes on behind the scenes (pardon the pun) at a popular release blog. Not only was I fortunate enough to be made an “editor” where I published an actual ‘live’ post, but I was also rewarded with some fascinating information regarding the inner workings and daily life of a popular scene blog.

Editors & Content

Release blogs consist of a tight-knit group comprised mainly of staff and editors. Lots of editors, and hopefully active ones. Editors are the ones responsible for all those new posts/articles you see streaming onto the site on a continual basis. Often it’s staff (owner, sysops, admins) who are the most active editors on a blog. For anyone who’s been an editor at a release blog, most of this section won’t come as much of a surprise.

What does it take to make it as an editor? — Nothing too specific. A decent command of English, an account at a good private tracker helps - or else some other scene sources (scene access is not required), and more importantly - some spare time to devote. Editors don’t even need to know how to write HTML code. In the case with SR, potential editors are first interviewed and then tested out on a 1-month trial basis whereby 7 posts must be made each week before they’re eligible to move up. And no, they don’t get paid. Some editors are specialists in one or more particular release genres (0day, XviD, TV, Apps) whereas others are more well-rounded.

How they avoid duplicate content. — Most release blogs have a private IRC staff channel where new releases are discussed & announced. This eliminates most of the problems associated whereby more than one editor is working on the exact same release, and also prevents double-posts from appearing. They often help each other out with finding links to trailers, nfo files, IMDb, torrent search, etc - when one is working on the post, others lend a hand with the links to expedite the publication.

Perks of being an editor. — This certainly varies from blog to blog, but editors that have proven themselves can often (but not always) expect to receive invites to good private trackers. After all - editors need a scene source, right? It’s worth mentioning that invites to trackers aren’t so easily given out to new editors, compared to how it once was - so don’t assume being a fledgling editor will get you into those “elite” trackers, nosiree. It’s amazing how many people try this angle. Blog staff are wise to the idea that new editors might attempt to join the team only for the invites, and then produce very little for the site. Access to the staff IRC channel is another benefit of being an editor - even more important that obtaining invites, but I won’t elaborate much on this.

Editor Security. — On SceneReleases, aspiring editors are urged to create an entirely new alias for themselves (new username & new email address) so as to protect their identity.

Creating & Publishing Releases

It’s really not much of a secret to how a new post makes it onto the site. Many, even most release blogs use WordPress as a backend in which the articles are created (and can even be previewed) before being published “live”. Editors can switch back and forth from Visual or HTML modes, upload pictures into the article and add/edit links - exactly the same features associated with any WP blog. That said; there are a few major differences between a regular blog, and a release blog.

Release blogs tend to use a magazine-style WP theme which is ideal for publishing this format of content. Equally as important as the ‘theme’ are specialized plugins such as Fluency Admin that are designed to assist both editors & admins. When editors create a new post, they can choose from a variety of predesigned templates for each release type (XviD, music, games, etc) in which the format is already done; akin to fill-in-the-blanks system. Not only is this an amazing time-saver, but editors don’t necessarily require any HTML programming skills since most of the “visual” (and code) is already done for them. Aside from saving time, the other positive byproduct is that posts appear uniformed and consistent. Depending on the type or category of release, templates will vary. The template used for creating a post about a movie will be somewhat different than for a TV release, or a music album.

A Blank Template for a Music Post:

However, not everyone prefers to work on posts via the WP interface - often this will be done on a home PC using Windows Live Writer or another WYSIWYG editor such as Dreamweaver, and once completed it’s then copy/pasted into the new blog page in the WP backend, ready for publication. With this option, site templates can even be imported locally.

WordPress Backend “Visual” View of a New Post:

All Posts from All Editors, as seen in the WP Backend:

SR Editors: 7 minutes. Sharky: 69 minutes. — Good editors at SR are able to create a new post within 7-10 minutes; complete with images, multiple links (not filehoster DDLs), an NFO file, release details and a description. Being already well-rounded with knowledge of HTML & WP, I figured this would be a snap. Much to my surprise my first post took over an hour to complete; but in my defense the delays were largely due to being unaccustomed to finding public torrents & NZB search links, a trailer, a poster image (which didn’t exist on IMDb.com for my release), downloading the official .nfo file (from the original rls, since I couldn’t find it elsewhere) and providing other mandatory links to IMDb, RT etc. Surely for those who are used to it, this is all quite an easy task. After doing this once, certainly my second post could easily be completed in under 20 minutes after getting the hang of it.

The legality of a release blog is in somewhat of a “grey area”, since many (most) blogs don’t publish download links directly within the posts themselves (one major exception being Rlslog.net, which does). However, most opt for an indirect method and simply announce the releases (publish the articles), and it’s readers who then post comments with these links to the filehosters. That’s the mightly loophole that allows release blogs to thrive; most don’t link directly to files hosted on RS, MU, HF - it’s blog readers that make a “comment” with these so-called illegal links. And even if they indeed do link directly within the articles, they’re not hosting the actual content on their servers, it’s on the filehosters’ sites. Here’s a few tidbits to explain how it all works:

Who are the commenters/uploaders? — For the most part, these are people who have affiliate accounts through the filehosters - they get a commission from “x” amount of downloads, usually between $1 - $5 per 1,000 downloads. But make no mistake - there is some serious competition going on among those who post reliable, working links. Links at the top (first comments) will usually get more hits than those that appear hours later. It’s quite lucrative, so popular blogs never have a problem finding people to post comments/links. Believe it or not, some people actually earn a living doing this.

Are Uploaders affiliated with these blogs? — We can’t speak for all blogs, but SceneReleases doesn’t have any uploaders (DDL providers) connected directly to the site (that is; those who post links in the comments are not associated with the site). Popular blogs don’t really need to do this anyways (aside from making money from their own affiliate links); and there are literally scores of people amply ready to post links.

Do staff/editors have affiliate accounts for the DDLs? — You bet your ass, they do. Well, this needs some clarification: staff/editors at SceneReleases are not uploaders at filehosters, but this cannot be said for all blogs. Rlslog.net posts affiliate DDLs inside the posts, so this is one clear-cut example which proves that editors are certainly in it for the money.

How do DDL links for published releases get posted so fast? — The scenario: A new post comes out, and all of the sudden there are dozens of comments (with working links to RS, MU, HF) within 5 minutes. That’s easy to explain - there are those who sit on RSS feeds of releases blogs (or idle in their IRC channel) and wait for new articles to be published; the links have already been created well in advance for a release even before it’s been announced on the blog. Release blogs are slower than most ’scene’ torrent trackers, not to mention uploaders who may happen to have some decent scene access - thus DDLs usually exist (minutes, hours) ahead of a post. Popular scene/P2P releases for movies & TV episodes will predictably wind up on most scene blogs sooner or later, so it’s usually a safe bet for uploaders to create these DDLs beforehand.

‘Premium’ or ‘Free’ download links? — Links to files for both account varieties are usually allowable, readers can easily gauge which links (and hosters) are best suited for their needs. For the most part, links are of the “free” variety but almost all will be connected to an affiliate account on the filehoster.

Why are there so many different filehosters listed for the same release? — Many reasons, in fact. Again, back to premium accounts vs free links. Variety offers readers a choice; RS may delete certain links rather quickly, while HotFile might not. Plus the fact that if a downloader blows out his/her daily bandwidth on “free” links, they can simply choose a different hoster to complete the set. Often you’ll see the term, “links interchangeable” which adequately gets around the free downloads limit. Size of links is also something that downloaders consider.

Password-protected links? — It’s more common to find password-protected links through forums that want to protect their source (and promote their name), rather than on blogs. There’s no point for an uploader to put a password into a .rar file and post it to a blog; this is seen as more of a nuisance than anything else - especially when there are so many alternative links that readers can choose from. Smaller blogs often still do this, though.

Are certain links, or those who post bad links banned from making comments? — Absolutely. SR, for one, has a huge banlist. The status quo suggests that links to URL-shortening services aren’t usually allowable (bit.ly, tinyurl, etc), thus only genuine links are normally OK to post. Furthermore, if commenters (uploaders) provide shifty links or phishing scams, they get banned from being able to make comments in the future. I don’t need to tell you the secrets of a release blog to explain this: it’s a simple procedure done directly through WordPress to block keywords, URLs and even IP addresses of those who post undesirable comments or bad links. Links that point to spyware, popups & ads (such as clicksor - which many blogs had a serious problem with not that long ago) are also forbidden.

DMCA ‘Takedown’ Notices. — While site disclaimers often clearly stipulate, “The links in the comments are provided solely by this site’s visitors and we can not be held responsible for them” - this doesn’t mean that release blogs aren’t receiving any pressure from the DMCA or MAFIAA affils - they are. Due to the disclaimer, blogs tend not to delete links in comments even when requested. One DMCA/MAFIAA tactic which at first seems to be more successful is for them to directly contact the 1-click hoster and report particular links as containing copyrighted content. The reality is, this is mostly a fruitless effort anyways as new comments (with fresh working links) are being added continuously. Filehosters simply can’t keep up with these requests, nor act quickly enough before thousands have already downloaded it.

About SceneReleases.info

FileShareFreak spoke with Faolan Scath, a senior staff member at SceneReleases.info who enlighted us on a few things specific to the site:

Staff — Consists of three senior staff members, internally called the triad - and each has their own set of skills inside the site. When discussing new ideas, concepts or other decision making, the triad simply puts it to a vote. If a topic receives 2 out of 3 positive votes, then the decision is approved - and final. There is no inside fighting, no distinctive “levels” of staff.

Editors — There are no ’senior editors’ who have the power to oversee site decisions or control other editors. Everything falls back on the triad, and all editors are equal - SR currently has 7 full-time active editors.

Money & SR — SR does this for the fun of it, and doesn’t gain anything at all. All the money from the ads etc. go straight back into the site, they have a break even situation. “Sharing is caring” is one of their most used slogans.

Post on Request? — SR doesn’t post on request whatsoever, even though they receive a steady stream of email requests with all the info about the release.

No ‘opinion’ posts — Unlike other blogs, SR doesn’t include or allow editorial opinions for releases. They like it plain and simple, with no extra words on the quality - just the release info with a few searchlinks and NFO file, and that’s it. For example, there’s no point in chitchatting about the quality of a HD release or plot synopis for a movie; it’s assumed that readers are already well-informed.

Editor Requirements — At SR, all new editors are on a 1 month trial period. New editors have a quota requirement to fill, which is 7 posts in 1 week (so that’s 1 each day, or 4 in 1 day and 3 the next). Fast editors can easily fill this quota in less than 30 minutes a day, if posting just one article each day.

Becoming an Editor at SR — Think you got what it takes to be an editor at SceneReleases? Aspiring editors can find out more info on their application page, or at SR’s IRC channel on irc.p2p-net.eu in #SceneReleases (hotlink here). The application is based through an IRC interview, in which questions such as these might be asked:

  • • What is your age?
  • • Do you have access to scene releases?
  • • What private trackers are you apart of?
  • • How much free time do you have?
  • • What is your level of IRC experience?
  • • Do you have a good sense of humor?

Side Projects — SR is working on an exciting new domain for their list of Scene Groups. We can’t give out the URL just yet, since the project isn’t yet completed. You’ll have to wait for the article on FSF, but here’s a sneak pic:

  1. thrd Says:

    lol i used to be editor @ sr

  2. sbb Says:

    it s a very good site if you have a rapid and hotfile account :)

  3. Anonymous Says:

    funny that a site that calls itself “scenereleases.info” publishes info about P2P releases :’)

  4. omfg Says:

    nice article tho nothing surprising

  5. HUH? Says:

    they don’t seem to be as good as they used to be at getting info on the latest releases,
    ever since the they went down a while back the site seems to be lacking

  6. Giwrgos Says:

    need to set the correct imdb link on your 1st post, but nice work :)

  7. theddlera Says:

    Some editors on rlslog earn $100s a month with ease.

  8. nice Says:

    rlslog is my 1st source, scenereleases my 2nd nice sites since i dont have a private tracker account

  9. blurg Says:

    So you learned how to copy and paste?

  10. anon Says:

    i used to be an editor in ZeroSec. they had awesome tools there. all you had to do was enter the release name and all the rest were generated for you. the script basically grabbed nfo file for the release from X and uploaded to ZeroSec server. then, all the HTML codes were generated. So, it took me 10-20 seconds to post TV Shows.

  11. me Says:

    scnsrc is best, + theu guys are cool

  12. ist Says:

    only 100$ a monh?
    poor lol

  13. mike Says:

    yah scenereleases is quite a good site now that zerosec and rlslog have went down the drain. has anyone found a better release site cause scenereleases is quite slow and doesnt post all the releases.

  14. dikc Says:

    nice little advert for scenereleases.. wonder if they blew your dick as payment lol

  15. DVD Says:

    nice write-up sharky.

    gotta love your sensational article titles :rolleyes:

  16. Ahmet ATR Says:

    scenereleases is good rlslog is the best but.SR posts just movie releases and sometimes music albums.Other releases may be posted also ,too.I think they are sometimes very slow for movies

  17. ist Says:

    this site sucks ahahahaha
    only shit

    i hope there is a big sceneban in future

  18. tom Says:

    i prefer rlslog…. i think is much better

  19. DM Says:

    the spam, virus links and fakes on rlslog is quite ridiculous and getting worse every month
    sr has a much nicer comment/linkspam ratio

  20. LOL Says:

    scenereleases is slow as fuck. they post stuff hours if not days late.

    right now it doesn’t even have 24 or any of todays tv episodes, all of which pre’d about 5 hours ago.

  21. bleh Says:

    How they avoid duplicate content?…
    RlsLog and ZeroSec (and ScnSrc I believe) have a sort of custom shoutbox on their “new post” page above the title field where editors add the release and “grab” it to show that they are posting it… so in that respect SceneReleases seems very primitive :P

  22. Umer Trinko Says:

    Oh wow, this actaully makes very good sense dude.

    Jess
    http://www.complete-anonymity.cz.tc

  23. hmm Says:

    ZERO SEC WAS THE BEST, MAYBE NOT THE FASTEST BUT WAS OVERALL THE BEST. BUT QUALITY COMMENT, SCREEN CAP, ETC.

    NEW OWNERS SCREWED US !

  24. hmm Says:

    ZERO SEC WAS THE BEST, MAYBE NOT THE FASTEST BUT WAS OVERALL THE BEST. BUT QUALITY COMMENT, SCREEN CAP, ETC.

    NEW OWNERS SCREWED US !

    P.S RS editors can make way over $100, and the owner can TRIPICATE THAT WAY OVER.

  25. Taylor Says:

    http://www.lemonthread.co.uk/
    Check it out !!!

  26. Nigel du compaise Says:

    Zerosec was indeed the premier site for releases and sites such as this in the review pale in comparison to the prominence and prestige engendered by ZS

  27. Jus Says:

    Scenereleases is a joke, what do you expect when it is run by FAILon - just their first page is 2 days worth of releases - talk about lazy. RLSLOG maybe be shity because of Martin, but at least you have to scroll about 4 pages to see what has been released today. So clearly their editors at least do something! Scnsrc would have been good but they don’t post enough articles per page and I don’t want to click through 20 pages. Scnsrc should increase the number of items and reduce the amount of space a single article takes - we’re arent blind for fucks sake! Also scnsrc and scenereleases have dark skins and those are off putting. Lighter themes are easier on the eyes and more welcoming than dark sinister looking themes.

    Zerosec were the best in terms of balance/theme/layout/editors/posts etc but too bad its too late to interview them. That interview would have been more interesting.

    Another reason scenreleases suck is that when Zerosec collapsed - they didn’t even bother to embrace the potential flux of members they could get - afterall, zerosec visitors had to now go elsewhere for their scene info. They had the perfect oppotunity to step up and post like mad so they get new followers, but what happened? we went there and yes only 2 posts from the previous day still there - so everyone went to scnsrc instead. FAILon couldn’t be more truly deserving username!

  28. scenekid Says:

    Nice site :)

  29. Old School Says:

    # • What is your age?
    # • Do you have access to scene releases?
    # • What private trackers are you apart of?

    WTF? It’s none of their business. Anyone that’s willing to answer any of those three questions to total strangers is NOT someone you want working with you in anything piracy related. And the same goes for anyone that would ask such questions. This is one reason why security is so lax lately in some parts of the Scene. If you have axx, you DON’T tell anyone.

    What’s the first rule of Fight Club?……..

  30. GamerZFX Says:

    SR is a joke really, and the triad stuff is pure bs, the site has never been good ever since Xolerman had issues. I was an editor their for a while (when they were about to start the xxx release blog) but in anycase you dont get any invites to elite trackers thats complete bs, faolan just Fails at everything Sta1ns is the only one worth anything and fruitloop is almost as bad as faolan…

  31. 888DDL Says:

    Everything about DDL’s have been discussed. How about enlightening us on how they get their files?

  32. Jill Garahan Says:

    Dreamweaver has been for a while my goto application for years. I truly don’t know what I would undoubtedly do without it. There were times when I first started working with the program, and I believed it was way too sophisticated. Now I fly around it, and it has grown to be a great asset in my personal tool box. Anyhow thanks for the content.

  33. Vantec Says:

    I’ve posted at Rlslog for a while. We don’t have a system there. All was done using the HTML editor, no templates or anything.

  34. 888DDL Says:

    Written above that readers of Blog sites post links, not the site itself. But before the readers can post links, they have to get the files first. How do the readers who post links get the files?

  35. jiggaboo Says:

    Nobody’s going to tell how you get the releases so fast because they’re money grubbing faggots that want to keep it to themselves. But that’s when you go to prison. When you start making money off this shit. So I hope everybody that makes money from warez saved some for bail and a lawyer. You’re going to need it one day.

  36. Rapidshare Mix Says:

    Fluency plugin doesnt crete post templates.It changes your admin/login interface.Great post anyway.Lots of new informations.
    Thanks

  37. torrentflux Says:

    nice article tho nothing surprising

    http://www.rapidleechhosting.net/

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