In 2014, a ground-breaking invention made its debut. Referred to as Grams, this was an exclusive darknet search engine designed to ease access to the otherwise difficult-to-navigate dark websites and platforms.
The platform became an almost instant success after its launch, grabbing the attention of numerous mainstream tech sites. It became a valuable resource for buyers, marketers, researchers and journalists alike across the dark web spectrum.
However, after just three years since its unveiling, the curtains are finally closing for the darknet search engine, with the developer announcing its shutdown earlier this month.
The developer, who goes by the pseudonym “gramsadmin,” confirmed the shutdown with a message on the r/Grams subreddit.
The developer stated that although not short of emotion and full of sadness, he had decided to put an end to the darknet search engine together with its services, a decision effective within a week’s time.
He further went on to identify that he had dedicated his time to ensuring that what the services the site provided were nothing but the “best” across the darkweb realm.
While the earlier reference of “best services” largely depends on an individual, most of the users who commented on the announcement post could not hide their disappointment with the supposed foreclosure.
The same was demonstrated on the announcement comment thread in the r/DarkNetMarkets subreddit. Nevertheless, some did appreciate the admin for his devotion to the dark web community, several of them even asking him not to go underground.
As per the comments, it was clear that the users would miss the platform, particularly two essential services it offered—Helix and Infodesk. Both these features work to help the user complete different tasks.
Helix is in itself among the select few services that can be thought of like a glorified Bitcoin mixer or tumbler. Infodesk, on the other hand, assists buyers in verifying the identity of a vendor across various marketplaces, either through implementing the API or scraping through the markets.
Contrary to common perception, Grams is neither the only darknet search engine nor the sole Bitcoin tumbler.
However, its uniqueness is in its emphasis on Infodesk and the search function, which have propelled its status as the only recognized darknet search engine in global drug research publications.
Grams has been identified as a platform that has transformed and eased the process of browsing through the darkweb, not to mention widening the ability to access vendors by their names, devoid of logging onto several sites.
Unfortunately, continually managing information obtained from multiple sites, however, proved to be more than the site personnel could handle. In recent times, the vendor reviews on Infodesk switched to just serving DarkNetMarkets subreddit reviews.
In the announcement, the admin of the darknet search engine went on to write that it had become increasingly difficult to not only acquire listings from dark web markets, but also to cope with the routine site maintenance.
Remarkably, the challenge of acquiring listings was one that haunted the admin since the launch of the site.
With some marketplaces not working to implement Grams’ exclusive API, the admin found it difficult and expensive to manage, since they were forced to spider all significant markets.
According to the admin, Helix Light and Grams Helix seldom ever ceased functioning. In reality, the hefty transaction fees for Bitcoin chopped down the profits the cleaner/tumbler amassed.
What’s more, the admin stated that even with the money it still did not feel worthwhile considering the stress that came with keeping up maintenance for the darknet search engine.
After having read the notice, some of the users on Reddit asked the admin to discard both the vendor reviews and listings for varying reasons.
While responding to one of the queries, the admin stated that they would make an effort to subsequently discard the table containing vendor information.
As per the announcement, Darknet Stats reports that the site is already offline.
For anyone that wants access to the darknet search engine’s data, the best way to do so is through continually monitoring Reddit posts about the topic to see if an online repository is set up.