Last Friday Google revealed its newest anti-piracy efforts, which largely amounted to a mixture of demoted rankings for torrent websites and a new box dangling legal download alternatives to those looking for content. It hasn’t been quite a full week since the announcement, but the changes are in place and torrent websites are already hurting, with some of the biggest ones reporting massive decreases in traffic in the past handful of days — though, it seems, some of the small sites are benefiting from the change.
With last week’s change, Google now offers a box on the search page containing links to legal content downloads when users search for certain keywords. A search of “Transformers download”, for example, will now arrive with a list of legal download options at the top of the search page. This was joined by changes to the demotion signal, which drops certain sites’ rankings.
According to TorrentFreak, many torrent-centric websites are seeing decreases in traffic. Isohunt.to, for example, has seen its traffic cleaved in half over the past week. Other sites, though, that don’t rely as heavily on traffic from Google aren’t seeing as big of drops. The Pirate Bay is counted among this latter group.
In fact, TPB is expecting that its traffic might increase due to Google’s change — this is because it is well-known enough that in the absence of other search results, many people will default to The Pirate Bay to get what they want. Smaller torrent sites may also be seeing an increase in rankings, appearing in the place of previously larger websites due to their lower overall number of takedown requests, which is a big factor in being demoted.