Vixy.net was a website that made it possible for users to "convert a Flash Video/FLV file (YouTube's movies, etc.) to MPEG4 (AVI/MOV/MP4/MP3/3GP) file". Even though the service was not officially associated with YouTube, it grew to be popular because of its YouTube converter software.
Today, if you tried to convert a Flash Video/FLV file into another format using Vixy.net, you would discover that the service is no longer available. What could have happened to a service whose converter and downloader tools were once used by over 30 million people?
We took some time to find out what happened to Vixy.net. We follow the website's history, describe the services it offered, and finally attempt to find out why it stopped publishing.
The History of Vixy.net
A visit to the internet archives shows that Vixy.net was the brainchild of Takuma Mori. The website appears on the internet for the first time in August 2006 as an open-source digital video transcoding service.
Mori started the service to deliver a solution to YouTube users who were frustrated by the platform's lack of portability of its videos. The project, Vixy.net, aimed to help YouTube viewers enjoy the convenience of converting and downloading YouTube videos, and videos from other sites, to watch offline.
According to Mori, the name Vixy was coined out of the words "VIdeo proXY". In its early days, Vixy.net used the Sakura.ne.jp server, which Mori describes as "a high-performance server".
It's not clear whether Vixy.net made much money. However, the website told users, "Your donations are very appreciated and will help to keep Vixy.net up and running!" It also looks like the open-source service was initially supported by two Japanese companies named Farside Inc. and SGRA Corporation.
A few years after launching, the site interface was changed, and Applian Technologies Inc. replaced the former backers. In asserting its authority, Applian Technologies posted a statement indicating that it was "the sole owner of the information collected on this site". It assured users, "We will not sell, share, or rent this information to anyone".
Was Vixy.net Legal and Safe
One of the significant challenges people face when using services like Vixy.net is whether the services are safe or legal. This is because anyone who converts material on YouTube, downloads, and stores it in any format may be committing a crime: copyright infringement.
In answering questions linked to whether the service was safe, Vixy.net told users that, "This website takes every precaution to protect our customers' information." It adds, "When customers submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected both online and offline."
Regarding the more intricate issues of legitimacy, Vixy.net informed users that it was not associated with Google. It clarified, "These recording products are not intended for use in circumventing copy protection mechanisms, or for making illegal copies of copyrighted content." Users were requested to "respect the rights of the content owners when recording."
Even though Vixy.net could help users convert videos from different platforms, it became well known as a YouTube video converter application. The service came with a video recommendation feature that suggested videos based on a user's previous activity.
To use the software, you had to copy and paste the video URL into a search bar, select your preferred format, and then click on the convert button. Vixy.net was free to use and accessible at any location provided the user had an internet connection.
Below are some of Vixy.net's specific services:
1. Vixy Freecorder
Vixy Freecorder was an application that primarily converted YouTube videos to MP3. It was possibly Vixy's most celebrated product. Vixy.net informed users that, "Besides being a great way to download YouTube videos, and convert YouTube to MP3, Vixy Freecorder does a whole lot more." It adds, "Download videos from thousands of other sites besides YouTube."
Freecorder was compatible with several operating systems: Windows 7/8, Vista or XP, and MacBook. Users of Freecorder were asked not to use content from the site for commercial purposes. Freecorder went through several upgrades over the years, going all the way up to Version 8.
2. Vixy YouTube Embed
The Vixy YouTube Embed feature made it possible for users to "easily embed YouTube videos and download links in [their] WordPress pages." The service was also completely free. Users could also enter an affiliate identifier into their Vixy YouTube Embed setup. If this lead to a purchase, such users got a commission of $13.
Vixy.net described this service as easy to use. Users were told, "Just add a shortcode with the YouTube video ID, and your video appears in the page. It doesn't get any easier."
Suppose you consider that YouTube has a policy that prevents users from downloading videos directly from the platform. In that case, it becomes clear that a service like Vixy.net may have been operating on the verge of a concept known as stream ripping. An individual is accused of stream ripping when they save data streams to a file without permission.
Vixy.net encouraged users not to use its software to infringe on the copyright of legitimate owners of artistic material. However, this request is likely to have fallen on deaf ears for many. Conscious of this, YouTube is continuously taking measures to block the downloading of its content. It accomplishes this by changing its codes on its infrastructure.
What Then Happened to Vixy.net
Vixy.net seems to have been active until June 2016. At this time, the website was promoting Freecorder 4. In the second half of 2016, the website started redirecting visitors to a different site.
There is no information about why Vixy.net stopped publishing. However, if you consider that many of the sites like Vixy.net often faced accusations of stream ripping, it's easy to speculate that the site may have suffered the fate of others that ended up facing litigation.
Intending to protect its business model and the artists that share their content on the platform, YouTube is continuously working hard to make the lives of services like Vixy.net difficult. Some of these websites end up giving up the fight.