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Torrentz Closes In Wake Of Kickass Torrent Shutdown: Are Alternatives Pirate Bay And Extratorrent Next?
Meta search engine Torrentz has thrown in the towel following the recent shutdown of the world’s most popular torrent site, Kickass Torrents. Now, file sharers are expected to flock to the two largest remaining torrent sites, Pirate Bay and Extratorrent, but observers are wondering if those sites will be the next to go.
In a surprise move, the owners of Torrentz have shut the site down and disabled its search function. The site had been around since 2003 and was one of the oldest and most popular Torrent sources, ranking as the 186th most popular website worldwide. Unlike other sites such as the recently shut down Kickass Torrents, and the still functioning Pirate Bay, which actually act as hosts for shared files. Torrentz acted only as a search engine on which to discover which websites had a particular file available from a list of 28 potential sources.
The lack of actual hosting activities made Torrentz appear more impervious to attack than some of its brethren, and the site did still have a takedown policy instituted for any searched copyright infringing files. It appears, however, that the owners made the decision preemptively, either based on actual knowledge of pending action, or understandable fear that, as one of the largest file hosting sites, it would naturally be the next focus of any takedown measures. Torrentz, located in Poland, also shares a similar Eastern European location with Kickass Torrents, which was apparently run by a neighboring Ukranian.
Popular entertainment magazine and website Variety, considered the bible of show business, broke the story in the middle of the night when it was discovered that the site had disabled its search function and posted the following notices on its website: “Torrentz was a free, fast and powerful meta-search engine combining results from dozens of search engines” along with “Torrentz will always love you. Farewell.”
Because the motivation behind the shutdown is still unclear, it is still unknown whether there is a plan in place to go after additional sites. The shutdown of Kickass Torrents, as we reported, left millions of users searching for alternatives, and the most popular were Torrentz, along with The Pirate Bay and Extratorrent. Now that Torrentz is gone as well, the most likely alternatives will naturally be the remaining two, but are they safe from similar actions?
As far as Pirate Bay is concerned, that site has become legendary for its resilience in the face of attempted shutdowns. Arrests and raids on servers could not stop the site from re-emerging time and time again at different locations, and during the past year or so it has been remarkably stable. It was ironically the site’s previous inconsistency that led to the growth of the two sites which just shut down, but it appears that The Pirate Bay is one of the most likely sites to remain functional in the near future.
Extratorrent is more of a wild card, however, in that it hasn’t experienced any large organized effort to close it upon which to judge its resilience. Several years ago, however, it had its .com domain name seized in an action taken by the UK registrar based on information sent to it by the London police. Rather than roll over, the site defiantly remained at another domain, where it still operates today. In addition, site owners weren’t afraid to comment publicly, criticizing the UK government’s move, which was made without a court ruling.
Whether there is actually any intention to shut Extratorrent down remains to be seen, as is whether its organizers have the will and intention to fight any concerted and serious efforts to do so. What is clear, however, is that the site now remains an obvious potential target as one of the most popular torrent sites in existence, as now, with the shutdown of Torrentz, Extratorrent’s popularity is only expected to grow.