|Type of site||BitTorrent tracker|
|Launched||October 27, 2007|
|Alexa rank||16,871 (December 2013[update])|
What.CD was founded on the day of Oink's Pink Palace's closure in October 2007. In November 2007 many site users received a hoax email purporting to be from the RIAA threatening to press charges for illegal downloads.
In 2008 the Canadian Recording Industry Association asked now-defunct Moxie Colo, then What.CD's host, to take down a number of tracker sites including What.CD. The company refused, saying "We will not be following the request and will be fighting for the rights of our clients as--to date--laws in Canada protect them." In October the site released "The What CD Volume 2", a compilation album of artists that contribute to the site. Earlier in the year they released Volume One.
The Radiohead song "These Are My Twisted Words" was added to the tracker on 12 August 2009. Fans speculated that the song had been leaked by the band itself and contained hints to an upcoming EP entitled "Wall of Ice." The song was freely released on 17 August 2009 on the band's website, similar to their release of In Rainbows.
In 2010 CNET.com reported that a teenage boy had gained access to playMPE.com (an industry website used by music labels to share music with radio stations) by posing as an Australian music critic. He subsequently uploaded a number of unreleased albums to the What.CD tracker.
In September 2010, What.CD debuted the new lightweight and highly efficient tracker called "Ocelot." The lightweight tracker used only 3GB of RAM to power over five million peers.
In December 2010, What.CD's collection was reported to have reached one million torrents, a record for a private BitTorrent tracker.
In March 2011, a founder of the site (WhatMan) stepped down from his role and is no longer part of the staff.
What.CD has always accepted voluntary donations to help with their hosting costs. In return for a donation, the user will receive immunity to inactive pruning, meaning that the user's account will never be disabled due to lack of usage. The user will also receive two invites which they can use to invite people into the community.
In addition to voluntary donations, What.CD launched The What.CD Online Store, also known as TWOS, in early March 2012. The purpose of the store is to sell a variety of gear and goods in order to help maintain and operate the website. It was noted that staff members of the website would not receive any of the profit from the store. The What.CD Online Store is an alternative to those who wish to donate to the website but wish to receive a physical product in return. Throughout the months after the store opened, What.CD held multiple contests for its members to create designs to put on new shirts to sell. Since its opening, the store has expanded to sell koozies and stickers in addition to T-shirts and sweatshirts.
COFEE and other leaks
In 2009 Microsoft's COFEE forensic tool was leaked on the site. The software was later removed by administrators. The What.CD staff said of the removal: "Suddenly, we were forced to take a real look at the program, its source, and the potential impact on the site and security of our users and staff. And when we did, we didn't like what came of it. So, a decision was made. The torrent was removed (and it is not to be uploaded here again)." The leaked program is now available through several torrent sites, and can be found on Wikileaks or via Google.
On November 28, 2013 a user of What.CD uploaded scans of three unpublished stories by American author J. D. Salinger. Similar to the response to the COFEE upload, an administrator removed the torrent. It is not currently clear how the unpublished material was obtained, as the original sources came from two different locations (the University of Texas and Princeton), suggesting that the works were obtained on separate occasions and then combined. These stories quickly spread over to open BitTorrent sites like The Pirate Bay and image sharing sites such as Imgur. What.cd Staff said of the removal: "Due to this case’s rare and unlikely circumstances, due to the unnecessary and unwanted attention the Salinger leak has brought, and due to our desire to comply with the desires of the Salinger estate or other involved parties in this matter, the content has been removed from What.CD. It is not to be re-uploaded under any circumstances, and anyone found doing so will have their account disabled."
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