Link Up TV was wiped off the face of YouTube and the Internet just days before Christmas in an audacious and deliberate act of sabotage to destroy the brand.
In one fell swoop, the London-based media company lost millions of views from their popular YouTube channel and their website was deactivated and files deleted.
The site had established itself as the leading broadcaster of urban music and entertainment in the UK, with exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of all our favourite artists, from Wiley to Chip, to So Solid Crew.
All of their successes, and content built up over a period of more than two years suddenly hit a setback when the company had their headquarters broken into on 20 December 2012.
The incident caused a storm on Twitter and social media channels but the team remained silent and dignified while they set to work on emergency disaster recover procedures.
For the first time, they tell Pappzd the whole story.
Kerry Dixon, the company’s marketing and communications chief told us,
When we arrived at the office on Friday 21 December, we noticed that door had been broken into. The first thing that was obvious was that two cameras and a laptop were gone.
However, it wasn’t until later that afternoon that the team realised their YouTube channel was down and that their problems just got deeper than any of them could ever have imagined.
The intruders had accessed their email accounts on the office computers and used those to access their YouTube channel. Once inside their YouTube channel, they deleted it. Permanently.
This resulted in Link Up TV, whose very raison d’etre is YouTube video production and publishing, losing millions of their video views and all data being erased from their page.
The company immediately went into damage limitation mode and issued a statement to their followers on Twitter briefly explaining the situation and assuring fans that they were working as hard as they could to get their content and views back.
The overwhelming response was of shock and horror
However, in any situation of woe like this, there will always be dissenting views and those who exist to merely criticise
This didn’t bother the team of course, as they were too busy rebuilding their business.
Kerry explained how the intruders were able to destroy everything they had worked on over the last two years in just an instant.
[The stolen] laptop was still logged into the specific user’s email accounts, which the hacker unfortunately was able to access once they hacked through the profile log in.
On the laptop we had quite a lot of music videos, however we have been working hard this month to re-film them. Through this they were able to go in and delete the entire YouTube channel which caused the website to also crash.
Long term the Link Up TV team knew they hadn’t lost absolutely everything as they kept a backup of their entire library on backup hard drives which were not taken.
The team told us that the incident only had a slight financial impact over Christmas as a lack of YouTube views and website traffic meant they were not able to earn the revenues usually generate around that time, in fact they lost about 50% of December’s expected earnings.
As a team, it hit us hard that two years of many sleepless nights and hours of hard work had been deleted in an instant. It was quite the shock to the system, especially as there had been a buzz around the office gearing up for the exciting plans to be launched in 2013.
Deleting a YouTube channel isn’t something you can do easily by accident.
YouTube prompts you to confirm that deleting your channel is what you definitely, really, actually, certainly, permanently, irrevocably want to do.
So whoever it was that broke into Link Up TV’s offices definitely, really, actually, certainly, permanently, irrevocably wanted to mess up their operation. Can we all say ‘evil’?
Luckily the team work very closely with their web developers Creative Nerds on a regular basis so contacting them was simple. They also have a very good relationship with their account manager at Google and at any other time in the year, they reckon they would have been able to get their channel restored within a matter of hours.
But, of course, it was the Christmas. And the festive season means everybody is off work, which slowed down the process of communication.
As they began the process to restore their lost data, they had to face the very real possibility that their channel was gone for good. They started to develop a new channel in case the prospect of restoring their old channel was deemed impossible.
This meant that team member Rashid practically gave up his Christmas holiday working around the clock trying to re-upload two years worth of content that had been lost throughout the chaos. Have you ever uploaded one video to YouTube? Know how long that takes? Try uploading several hundred!
However, shortly after the New Year the Google team fully reinstated the Link Up TV channel to its original status before the deletion, as Kerry explains:
The Google team were very helpful and supportive as their records proved that the uploads and viewing hits were genuine.
They had no problem finding a solution to reinstate the channel. In the meantime we began creating a new channel in case the worst possible scenario of not recovering the channel was inevitable.
So with a large portion of the physical work being completed, many fans began to wonder if it was the end for Link Up TV and whether the company would have the motivation and dedication to start all over again. After all, after a loss like that, many would be tempted to walk away from it all.
What the incident did do, was actually strengthen their resolve and unite them tighter as a team. They thank their loyal fans and viewers for sticking by them, citing them as the inspiration that spurs them on.
Link Up TV has always had a long-term vision and too many great ideas and hard work has gone into it to give up.
It was definitely a huge disappointment and a massive setback so close to the New Year, but we’ve already come along too far to give up at the first major setback.
It has made the team even stronger. When you go through a setback in life it always strengthens you and those around you involved in overcoming any obstacle.
Not many small businesses would be able to re-emerge from such a catastrophic act of vandalism, but the Link Up TV team did. And they’ve already planned out a gruelling schedule for 2013, including a lot of exciting new content for their fans.
Link Up TV is already back on track. We have a new series of our popular Behind Barz series coming in February. Also, we will soon be launching our new website app and re-branding the Link Up TV website.
You can expect more music videos, lots of exciting new shows, more Behind The Scenes exclusives plus many other ways to get involved with the channel, so watch this space!
As massive Link Up TV fans, the Pappzd Team kept in touch with Link Up TV during their downtime and offered help and support. We’re so happy to see them back up and stronger.
Welcome back for good guys.