KAT Takedown Triggers Traffic Spike at Torrent Sites

Earlier this week KickassTorrents was taken down following a criminal investigation into the site's alleged owner. Since then, millions of frequent users have taken refuge elsewhere. The Pirate Bay and ExtraTorrent are among the major beneficiaries, with the latter reporting an instant traffic spike of more than 300%.

kickasstorrents_500x500With millions of unique visitors per day KickassTorrents (KAT) was the largest file-sharing site in the world.

In fact, shortly before the site went offline it was the 69th most-visited site on the entire Internet, beating Craigslist, Alibaba and the BBC.

Today, however, the site is still offline and there haven’t been any signs of an imminent comeback. This means that KAT’s millions of users have to find a new home to get their daily torrent fix.

The Pirate Bay appears to be one of the prime alternatives. The notorious torrent site has been operating steadily recently, aside from some occasional downtime, and is still seen by many as the Godfather of all torrent sites.

At the end of 2014 many Pirate Bay users moved to KAT, when the site suffered more than a month of downtime. To get the latest torrents and discuss the latest developments, among other things. Now many KAT users are likely to switch in the other direction.

TorrentFreak spoke with TPB staff member Spud17, who has seen some increase in forum traffic in recent days. She says they will welcome homeless torrenters with open arms.

“When both TPB and its forum went down, we had overwhelming support from KAT users on their forum, and our staff were able to keep the communities updated on important news and announcements thanks to the help and messages of support we received.

“Reciprocation is only right and we hope KAT staff will keep us informed of any official news/announcements so that we can help to inform,” Spud17 adds.

As for the future, the TPB staffer believes that the KAT community is strong enough to survive one way or another.

“Personally, I think KAT will be back, their community is too strong to just fizzle out, much like the TPB community seeking refuge on IRC meant it stayed together during downtime, I’m sure the KAT community will keep the faith,” Spud17 notes.

Another refuge for KAT users is ExtraTorrent, which was already the third largest torrent site before the KAT takedown. TorrentFreak spoke to an operator of the site who said that they’re seeing a significant traffic spike.

“So far we got 200% signup, and 300% traffic increase at ExtraTorrent,” ET’s SaM told us a day after KAT went down.

Similar to KAT, ExtraTorrent has an active community and forums, which makes it one of the most natural alternatives.

Despite the traffic boost, ExtraTorrent’s operator is not happy to see another site going down. However, he is not willing to throw in the towel and believes that the “torrent community” will survive this setback.

“It is sad to see an iconic site go this way, and it shows how the torrent community is targeted by all means. But, I guess torrenting will prevail and this doesn’t mean the death or end of this era,” SaM says.

Another operator of one of the top torrent sites, who spoke with us on condition of anonymity, reports a traffic increase as well, albeit a small one. The site in question targets a different audience, which may explain the limited effect.

“We’re seeing a small traffic increase, but then again we were never the KAT type of site. So KAT’s users will not move to us,” the operator says.

Despite from the traffic spikes, some torrent sites were adversely affected this week. The popular torrent caching service Torcache.net went offline at the same time KAT did, which is likely related.

As a result, torrents on 1337x.to, Monova and other sites that use the same service are not loading at the moment. Time will tell if and how these events are connected.

It is safe to say, however, that the KAT downtime has had a significant effect on the torrent community. But as history has shown time and time again, it’s doubtful that it will stop many people from sharing files in the long run.

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