Pirate sites come and go, often without being noticed by the public at large. That was certainly not the case when RARBG said its goodbyes yesterday.
The popular torrent site had millions of daily users spread across several domain names. This included the flagship .to domain which currently displays a farewell message.
After a brief intermezzo, many users simply began their search for alternatives, perhaps unaware that the effects of RARBG’s shutdown go beyond the site itself, leading to a much broader impact, including on popular ‘alternatives’.
RARBG Releases & Tracker
On the surface, RARBG looked like any other torrent site but it was one of the few platforms to release a steady stream of fresh content. All pirated movies and TV-shows come from somewhere and RARBG acted as a key bridge between scene sources and the public at large.
This content was picked up by RARBG’s bots from external sources before being posted on the site itself. ExtraTorrent’s in-house release groups worked in a similar way, including under the ‘ETTV’ label, before shutting down last year due to a lack of funds.
The absence of new releases is likely to make the overall piracy ecosystem more vulnerable. The same can also be said for RARBG’s dedicated tracker, which was also pulled offline yesterday, abruptly terminating millions of connections. And it doesn’t end there.
Torrent and Streaming Sites Feel the Pain
With another popular source of pirate movie and TV-show releases gone, the piracy supply side is shrinking. The vast majority of public torrent sites don’t have their own release channels. Instead, they relied on external parties such as RARBG.
This equally applies to direct download sites and streaming portals. While pirate streaming sites have become much bigger than their torrent peers in recent years, their movie and TV-show libraries can often be traced to torrent sources.
There are still alternative sources available, for now, but with RARBG gone the choices are more limited. This means there will be considerable pressure on the remaining suppliers, to say the least.
In addition to the typical pirate sites, RARBG links also appeared in dedicated pirate channels on platforms such as Telegram. These no longer work. The same also applies to users of software such as Sonarr, for whom RARBG was a popular source too.
From the Ashes?
The above may sound grim but it does illustrate the important position RARBG held in the piracy scene. That said, pirates have shown to be resilient in the past so there will likely be others willing to take the risk and fill the void.
Those will include copycats who will try to take over the RARBG brand. The same happened in the past with EZTV, YTS, KickassTorrents and Torrentz, with various levels of success.
Things aren’t getting any easier though. In its farewell message, RARBG summed up several reasons for shutting down. Aside from tragic personal issues, they included rising hosting costs and a decline in revenue. That’s becoming a trend too.
While we haven’t seen inflation mentioned as a reason to shut down a pirate site before, financial struggles are prevalent. As mentioned earlier, ETTV cited the same reason to close shop last year and others went before them.
So what about the sites that remain? Speaking with TorrentFreak, the operator of LimeTorrents mentions that the site has no plans to stop but they confirmed that rising hosting costs and low adverting revenues are indeed a real concern.
That said, inflation and other cost-related issues also work in favor of pirate sites, the site’s operator mentioned. After all, legitimate platforms such as Netflix and Disney+ cost money, while torrent sites are free and offer more content.
All in all, we can conclude that the broader piracy ecosystem has lost a key player that was much more than just another torrent site. While others could take its place, if they are willing to take the risk, the loss of RARBG is undoubtedly a considerable setback.