This post is my gratuitous offer to Microsoft to help them track down websites of piracy advocates who store and/or share activation cracks and similar nuisances. This all started as an experiment to see how many ways I could find a particular file and I’ve come to the conclusion that Microsoft probably either isn’t implementing half the methods I’ve devised or they don’t have the time/interest or a person/team in-house or outsourced dedicated to formulating solutions like this. I’ve cherry-picked two methods to delve into, then listed some action items to follow through with in taking said methods into consideration.
I would use Bing for these examples, but I’m still waiting for an all-encompassing guide for using advanced syntax usage in Bing. Usually, when I try to replicate my Google methods in Bing (yes, I make sure I’m using Bing’s syntax where applicable), the results are dismal. Anyway, I’d like to think someone at Microsoft will see this for what it is and bring me in to really get creative with this stuff, because there’s a whooooooole lot more where this came from! But I won’t hold my breath, because in the words of one Tony Lucca, “if I held my breath, you’d be the death of me.” lol.
Method 1: Use the following query in Google (I’ve even hyper-linked it for your pleasure):
Results: A large number of personal websites where they have the RemoveWAT file stored and directly accessible for anyone to immediately download.
Method 2: Go to Google. Click “more” and then click “Blogs.” Now, perform a search using the following query and then, on the left-hand side, click, “Sorted by date” (yes, I’ve hyper-linked this one as well already using the aforementioned steps):
Results: An ever-expanding list of blogs linking to the file(s) you’re interested in getting off the internet. Most of them link to file sharing services, but that’s a major score as well.
Action Items: Bearing in mind the methods above, the next thing is to gather a list of as many variables of the RemoveWAT file name as you can, such as scene release names, shortened versions, etc. and interchange them throughout the queries. Rinse and repeat the process with other activation crack technologies and voila. From there, of course, gather contact information from somewhere on the site, perform a whois search, etc. to contact the individual(s) to remove the file or simply send a DMCA take-down request to the host or whatever legal actions Microsoft has to adhere to.
Also, you can get more extensive with the research portion and use Yahoo Site Explorer or SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer to search for inbound links to the links harvested via method 1. The results are a mixed bag where that’s concerned, but I’ve found that Google typically yields those results after spidering the site from a completely separate entry point, so whether or not the person posted the file in a public forum or simply posted something completely irrelevant and Google happened to spider its way to the particular file is up in the air until additional research is performed.
Oh, and while you’re at it, you might as well try to make this process as automated, productive and facile as possible by setting up some Google Alerts (or something similar) for all the terms/queries you come up with and keep an eye on when new sites are indexed with those file names. What a great way of finding and getting rid of those files from (probably) a completely untapped avenue.
There! I’ve officially put my personal information-finding and off-page SEO research methods to good use for Microsoft’s anti-piracy endeavors. =) But bear in mind, the aforementioned methods and action items are just the tip of the iceberg. If I so chose, I could use just about any Microsoft product for free without ever touching a P2P application or utilizing a crack — all thanks to Google and absolutely careless individuals out there. There’s a lot out there; you just have to know how to find it.
Happy hunting, Microsoft.