On November 26th, Homeland Security closed down multiple sites including Hip Hop sites OnSmash.com and RapGodfathers.com.
This domain name has been seized by ICE – Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court under the authority of 18 U.S.C. SS 981 and 2323.
Back in 2003- 2008 I built the biggest Hip Hop fan site network with 117 domain names (known as HH411) with a peak of 70k visitors a day. I remember all the sites before they got popular and of course the not so popular ones. Believe it or not, OnSmash.com (now averaging 250k visitors a month) use to be bigger than WorldStarHipHop.com (averaging 4 Million visitors a month). OnSmash was the first video YouTube-like site that helped make videos go more viral for rappers. @hofOnSmash has been talking about the recent seizure on his twitter page and said something, at first I thought was ridiculous to say, but after hearing his response it really made me look differently at the situation:
The other site that got shut down was RapGodfathers.com, which I remember was a bit of competition for me when I ran my Hip Hop network HH411. Here is why they were even competition for me, RapGodfathers.com leaked retail albums on their site and had a section which can be easily accessible to anyone that goes to their site. How ridiculous is that? I find it REALLY funny RapGodfathers got hit with this whole seizure thing because they were known as a pirated site and would always try and take shots with me and have members try and sabotage my site. They do not support Hip Hop, they helped ruin it.
When I had gunitworld.com (the biggest 50 Cent/G-Unit website at the time) I created a very popular video section where I had all the 50 Cent/G-Unit videos a fan could ever find. I mostly pulled these from a lot of official YouTube channels. Later, I linked up with a label representative for an artist on G-Unit to help promote their videos for his upcoming album. If you build something big enough, the bigger names will HAVE to work with you….why wouldn’t they? I really thought several times to make my video section bigger and more successful but decided not to due to several reasons. I felt that the only way to get this bigger from a G-Unit video section to general hip hop videos would be more work and headaches.
OnSmash.com and WorldStarHipHop.com blew up in traffic because they posted a lot of content they didn’t have permission to post at the time. Years later it seemed OnSmash was respecting the content they put up on their site and had permission. WorldStarHipHop on the other hand baffles me how this site is even in existence. They have TONS of copyrighted videos on their site. WSHH has made a significant amount of money illegally from copyrighted content. They are basically online drug dealers if you think about it. Look at this screenshot I took of a video on their site from the NBA and their player has ADS on it….so basically they are making money off a video from the NBA, wow!
With all the money, authority and resources in the music industry how on earth are record labels so behind on all this??!?!?!?! They are just now catching up to social networking and trying to somewhat monetize their artists….how were they not aware and prepared of digital downloads and mp3s in advance????!?!?! They are the reason why albums and songs have leaked all over the place, they do a terrible job of preventing it. Below is an example I downloaded right off rapgodfather’s site which the zip file clearly says “pioneer resource of hip-hip/rap downloads, including full albums, mixtapes mp3s, and more.” LOL How much more evidence does the labels need to shut these guys down years ago?
Compete stats for WSHH are near 4 Million unique visitors, that’s insane…but sooner or later that empire will be destroyed because you don’t create a site filled with a bunch of bootleg material,make money from it and have it stay active without lawsuits and getting seized. Sooner or later something will happen and it will be ugly…last year 50 Cent sued WSHH for unlawfully using his image. These are the headaches I thought of while debating to build a big video site. WSHH should’ve been shut down a long time ago and it blows my mind how they are making money off copyrighted content. They have the worst business ethics ever and their site looks horrendous with poor coding. Before (around 2005-2006) WSHH blew up in traffic they had a bootleg section on their server where members pay X amount and they get access to download movies, music and other pirated material right off their server.
The record labels do a really poor, pathetic job of protecting their material leaking to the wrong hands. If I was head up on a Record Label I would designate a new team years ago which would prevent all the bootlegging. The music industry is so bad right now, that I refuse to pay for new music, it’s way too easy to download it. They blame file sharing programs and this and that, but really they do NOTHING to really prevent this. RapGodfathers has a DOWNLOAD section for RETAIL music, how can this be possible??? The only thing they have done is have the RIAA SUE their own customers, how ridiculous! It shouldn’t be illegal to download ANYTHING, it should be illegal to be the supplier of an illegal download.
Lastly, I would like to say after looking back at the conversation I had on twitter with @hofonsmash, I realize he should not be seized. He had a proper system where he worked with the right people and was granted permission to post that content, RapGodfathers and WSHH don’t. Worldstarhiphop is like the new eBaumsWorld (they steal content and tag it with their logo).
Wow watch this video of Bill O’Reily talking about WSHH:
UPDATE: RapGodfathers.com owner is so retarded he thinks he can out smart the federal government and created a new domain and relaunched his site under: rapgodfathers.info.
UPDATE: Changed title to “multiple” other domain names were found seized.
Seized sites list: