53 Billion Visits a Year

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How many visits are pirate sites getting in a year?

Well, one security firm drew a circle around 43 ‘pirates,’ and found traffic levels of 53 billion visits a year.  MarkMonitor counted a range of upload, torrent, and P2P destinations, though actual trades were not tallied (a critical component).  “Traffic to sites suspected of offering pirated content was over 146 million visits per day,” the report claimed.

That’s a big number, but MarkMonitor promised it was just ‘the tip of the iceberg.’  Either way, the breakdown will probably debunk a number of assumptions.  For example, more than two-thirds (67%) of these sites are hosted in North America and Western Europe, and virtual hosting sites like RapidShare, MegaVideo and MegaUpload are easily grabbing the lead.  In fact, those three alone commanded 21 billion visits last year.

But wait. Are those sites illegal?  Rapidshare is now on Capitol Hill telling a totally different story, and several courts have agreed.  That also brings the top-line number into question, because legal and illegal uses are not parsed.

But who’s kidding who?  Isn’t this the same game that every piracy heavyweight plays?  Pointing to legal uses while swimming in an illegitimate morass?  Perhaps this is digital deja vous all over again.