Roughly a week ago, Mininova was still the largest torrent site on the Internet, but this quickly changed after the site’s founders removed of millions of torrents to avoid having to pay millions of dollars in fines. In the days that followed, traffic to the site dropped 66%, while the number of daily downloads are less than 4% of what they used to be.
After nearly five years of loyal service, Mininova deleted over a million torrent files when it partly shut down its website a week ago. What remains are a few thousand torrents that were uploaded though its content distribution platform, which only lists uploads by approved users.
Mininova was forced to take such a drastic measure following a negative verdict in their court battle with the local anti-piracy outfit BREIN this summer. The torrent indexer was told by the court to remove all infringing torrent files from its index. This was technically unfeasible according to the Mininova team, who were left with no other choice than to remove all torrent files uploaded by regular users.
This move resulted in the deletion of more than a million torrents, many of which were not infringing any copyrights at all. As expected, the consequences of this decision for Mininova’s traffic, as well as the number of searches and downloads on the site, are disastrous.
In just a few days Mininova’s traffic plummeted by 66%, from well over 5 million visits the day before the torrents were removed, to just 1.8 million yesterday. If the downward trend continues at this rate, the site will have less than a million visits a day a week from now, throwing it out of the top 10 most visited torrent sites that it led for two years in a row.
Mininova’s visits per day
Even more striking perhaps is the drop in downloads and searches. As can be seen from the graph below, the number of downloads dropped from over 10 million a day to just 371,424. The number of searches went down from 10 to 3 million, a less steep drop than the downloads, probably indicating that not everyone is aware of the reduced number of torrents on the site.
Downloads and searches on Mininova
So what’s next?
There is no doubt that Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN will be proud of their accomplishment, but aside from ruining Mininova’s business it will not have a significant impact on the overall volume of BitTorrent traffic. As always, new sites emerge by the dozens as old ones are shut down and users quickly adapt to the new situation.
A network engineer at a major Aussie ISP has confirmed that Mininova’s partial shutdown has had no noticeable effect on traffic volumes. “I didn’t notice any reduction in [torrent] traffic when The Pirate Bay went down. It’s hard to see how there’d be any significant change from Mininova’s withdrawal.”
That said, the ‘end’ of Mininova does leave a scar behind. For years most torrent indexers heavily relied on torrents that were uploaded to Mininova. With over a million user-uploaded torrents, the site was without a doubt the main torrent provider on the Internet. Although most of the torrents are still mirrored on other sites, Mininova’s role as content provider has to be taken over by others.