Unknown Sites Dominate Google ‘Pirate’ Search Results

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Google's downranking of the most complained-about pirate sites last month certainly shook things up, but there have been unintended consequences too. A search for this week's most popular movie reveals relatively unknown sites dominating results and pulling record traffic. However, there are also some dangerous side-effects.

For years the world’s largest entertainment industry companies have been putting Google under intense pressure to do something about the prominence of ‘infringing’ listings in its search results.

Periodically the search giant has announced a tweak here and there, but in mid October Google said it was about to implement the most important change yet.

The effects were quickly noticeable. Within days the world’s largest torrent sites took an immediate hit in search engine traffic. So was this the holy grail the studios and record labels had been looking for?

Each week TF publishes a list of the top 10 pirate movie downloads and in our latest edition Dawn of the Planet of the Apes topped the charts. So, with the big sites mainly disappeared from the first pages of results, would the movie still be easy to find using “dawn of the planet of the apes torrent” as a search?

Simple answer – yes. Not only that, sites the majority of people have never heard of are now reaping the rewards of Google’s downgrades.

Rags to riches

The first result in Google comes from the suspicious sounding “yify-movies-official.com” which is definitely not an official YIFY site. However, not only does it comes up with the goods as promised, check out the effect Google’s downranking has had on its popularity according to Alexa. It’s a new site that started quickly, but the short growth plateau in mid October was soon overcome.

Yify-movies

The next result pointed to TorrentsMovies.net, a site that boosted 20,000 places from nowhere following Google’s mid October tweaks. However, the site’s progress is dwarfed by that of the largely unknown KickassTorrents.link site.

kickass-link

But it’s not all fun and games

While torrents can still be easily found for this movie after the October downranking, there are some big negatives for anyone who relied on Google to provide them with the best possible results.

First of all, since Google is essentially gaming the system, it’s no longer possible to rely on the search engine to produce the best links on the most popular sites. It doesn’t matter if Pirate Bay or KickassTorrents links are the most trafficked torrents, sites with unusual names that few people know are now at the top of results. This has undermined a valuable commodity….

Trust

While the sites mentioned above are offering torrents and clearly benefiting traffic-wise, we have deliberately left out several sites from our report. Thanks to their lack of DMCA breaches some sites are much closer to the top than they should be when Google is presented with movie + torrent searches. Sadly these sites have something evil in mind – malware.

Hollywood might publicly warn that some file-sharing sites are havens for viruses and spyware, but Google’s actions have dredged up the real filth from the bottom and that will mean a lot of people paying the price. Having these sites downranked is not on the agenda.

Overall

All things considered, Google’s efforts have given its search results a very unfamiliar look which is bound to undermine trust and confidence. The big question is whether it has made unauthorized content harder to find. The answer thus far is a definite ‘yes’ although better results are obtainable by tailoring searches.

However, a much easier option is to switch over to Bing, which not only automatically and conveniently adds “torrent” to the end of a search for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but also presents the world’s biggest torrent sites on the first page.

When that fails users can simply visit the sites themselves, which the majority have been doing anyway.

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