With millions of unique visitors per day KickassTorrents (KAT) has become the most-used torrent site on the Internet, even beating the almighty Pirate Bay.
Over the years KAT has moved from domain to domain on a few occasions. First to evade law enforcement and pressure from the entertainment industries, and later as a yearly ‘tradition.’
Continuing this domain shuffle the site moved to the Somalian .so TLD earlier this year, but this domain name was soon suspended forcing the site to switch back to Kickass.to.
Starting today, KAT is redirecting to yet another domain name. The site is now serving its pages from the Isle of Man TLD KickassTorrents.im.
Wondering whether the site may have run into issues with the .to registry we contacted the KAT team for further details. We were told that the change was “planned” and not a response to any registry problems.
“The domain name change is a planned move which KickassTorrents does every six months. Nothing special,” the KAT team tells TF.
The.to domain name is currently redirecting and remains available, so the site can switch back if needed.
The site’s operators gave no particular reason why they chose the .im domain name, or if it’s considered a safe haven.
Commenting on the prominent move, the IM Registry informs us that they can’t respond to individual cases. The registry doesn’t suspend or terminate domain names proactively. Instead, possible disputes are reviewed by a representative of the local Government.
However, the organization stresses that it has a “zero tolerance” policy regarding copyright infringement.
“… each case is reviewed separately by the Designated Official within the Isle of Man Government. It should be noted though that we have a zero tolerance policy on copyright infringement,” a IM Registry spokesperson says.
Potential registry troubles aside, in the short-term the domain change will also have positive consequences in terms of accessibility. For example, the site will become accessible again in most countries where it has been blocked previously.
In addition all the URLs that were blocked by Google through DMCA notices, nearly 2 million, will become accessible again under the new domain. This also means that Google’s new downranking algorithm will be bypassed, at least for a while.
In recent months many “pirate” sites have lost a significant amount of traffic due to Google’s new anti-piracy algorithm. So it’s not unlikely that we will see more regular domain name rotations in the future.