The Largest BitTorrent Search Engine on the Web?

A week ago several respectable sources including Digg and Slashdot reported that Btjunkie is the largest BitTorrent search site on the web. But both the methodology and the legitimacy of the source are doubtful.

btjunkieThe sites refer to this article, that was featured on Digg and Slashdot. The winner (according to the article) was submitted to Digg soon after that by none other than Kevin Rose himself, the founder of , and featured on the site’s popular netcast Diggnation.

The article indeed makes it look like there’s no better BitTorrent site out there. However it is definitely not an objective comparison if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong, I like Btjunkie just as much as every other torrent site out there, but there are a couple of flaws in the report of this overly excited blogger.

The main problem lies in the reported torrent count, and whether that is a good measure for the quality of the site. The way Btjunkie indexes and collects their torrents is different from other sites. Let’s take the popular release of an episode of Prison Break:

A search for “prison break s02e06 hdtv xvid lol” returns the following results:

  • Btjunkie 32 results
  • Mininova 9 results
  • Torrentz 9 results
  • You can replicate these findings with several other titles, and you will see that most of the torrents on Btjunkie lists quite a lot of dupes (especially for popular torrents). They scrape a lot of sources, but the result is that there are quite a lot of identical torrents in their listings.

    Besides this, different torrent sites have different removal policies. Some actively remove dead or unseeded torrents, others choose to keep them for a while. A search for Prison Break shows us 1500 torrents, but over 500 of those are dead (no seeders). It’s not that hard to reach 1 million torrents if you keep the dead ones. 42% of the torrents in Btjunkie’s TV section are not seeded. Btjunkie is not the only site with unseeded torrents, but the percentage is definitely higher compared to some sites in the top 10 list.

    So quantity does not have much to do with quality here. I’m not it the position to decide who has the most unique content, but people have to keep in mind that counting all the torrents in absolutely not the best way to compare these sites because they have different inclusion policies.

    Another remarkable thing about the post is the “feature rating.” Btjunkie got a 9 out of 10. Of course ratings are always a little subjective, but a 9 out of 10 is overrated if you ask me, especially for a site that lacks one of the most useful features; search based rss feeds (update, they have them but they’re hidden btjunkie.org/rss.xml?query=). You can’t live without RSS feeds if you want to broadcatch your favorite TV torrents.

    But perhaps the poster was a little tired when he came to rating the features, because he apparently spent hours counting torrents.

    At first I thought BTJunkie’s numbers must be fake, but I assure you it is real! I tested the number posted with the number in the actual directory for the day and they matched for a week straight!

    Anyway, take a look and decide for yourself. It’s certainly not a bad site (although I don’t agree with the paid service for private torrents).

    Apart from all this could one question how “legit” this article is. And I’m not the first to doubt this. In the comments of the Digg and Slashdot post people are wondering if this isn’t some kind of cheap marketing trick.

    How about the fact that the “editor’s pick” is a random bt site that noone has ever heard of.

    1. Make website btjunkie.com
    2. Write blog ‘comparing’ it to other bt sites.
    3. ???
    4. Profit!

    // 3 is submit blog to slashdot

    First of all, it is pretty strange to register a blog just to compare 10 BitTorrent sites. The same is true for the digg account that was created to digg the post from the newly created blog.

    Moreover, the blogger reports to have spoken with the Btjunkie operator, while he never heard about the site before he started his research. So how did he stumble upon Btjunkie then? And has anyone even questioned the “Editor’s Choice” notes highlighted in a striking shade of red on both the index of the post and inside it?

    Also interesting, a link to digg the “comparison” story was on Btjunkie’s frontpage, within a couple of minutes.

    As a final note, The post claims to compare the most popular BitTorrent sites according to Alexa. However, Btjunkie is not in the Alexa top 10 of all torrent sites at all, so should not have been included in the first place…

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