Google Is About to Kill Every Single Torrent Site

With Google’s upcoming ad-block feature, torrent sites are about suffer a serious revenue choke.

Several weeks ago, Google unveiled plans to roll-out a built-in ad blocker in its Chrome browser.  The move will help internet users navigate safely without facing a ton of “obnoxious” ads.

The update will cause a ripple of problems.  Some high-traffic sites, like The Guardian and Forbes, may lose out on precious revenue.  Other sites, including most popular torrent sites, will face the risk of going away entirely.

Working together with the Coalition for Better Ads, Google has identified the most obnoxious types of ads.  The search giant will block out ads such as pop-ups and auto-playing videos with sounds. They’ll also eliminate giant pinned banners that remain when you scroll down on certain sites.

Senior Vice President Sridhar Ramaswamy explained why the company will move forward with its built-in ad-block.

The reality is, it’s far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web — like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page.  These frustrating experiences can lead some people to block all ads — taking a big toll on the content creators, journalists, web developers and videographers who depend on ads to fund their content creation.

According to TorrentFreak, most users who visit pirating sites like The Pirate Bay use Google Chrome.  Speaking with TF, the owner of one of the largest pirating sites explained the effect that ad-blockers have on pirating sites.

“The torrent site economy is in a bad state.  Profits are very low.  Profits are f—d up compared to previous years.”

40% of the unnamed torrent site’s users have ad-blockers installed.  As a third of torrent site visitors use Google Chrome, the number will spike once the feature goes live.

Almost all torrent sites depend on ads to generate revenues.  Most pirating site revenues goes straight into the owners’ pockets, thanks to low overhead costs.  Last year, the 30 largest torrent sites earned an average of $4.4 million each.  Prior to its unexpected and unexplained shutdown, ExtraTorrent had also generated millions in ad revenue. Even small sites earn at least $300,000 annually.

Speaking on the effect that Google’s ad-blocker will have on torrent sites, the unnamed torrent site owner stated,

Chrome’s ad-blocker will kill torrent sites.  If they don’t at least cover their costs, no one is going to use money out of his pocket to keep them alive.  I won’t be able to do so at least.

While torrent site owners can search for cleaner ads, they’ll most likely earn less revenue.  Low-tier advertisers that work with top pirating sites usually offer intrusive and unappealing ads. To pay for overhead revenue and earn a ton of money, pirating sites usually serve up these ads.

Chrome’s ad-block feature will target these annoying ads, inadvertently killing off most torrent sites.

The unnamed pirating site owner added,

I’ve tested all types of ads and affiliates that are safe to work with, and advertising is the only way to cover costs.  Also, most services that you can make good money promoting don’t work with torrent sites.

As reputable advertising networks don’t work with pirate sites, owners will have to find another way to earn revenue.  One (probably unviable) option is to charge visitors money for accessing torrents.  However, if torrent site owners charge money, they may very well end up inadvertently defeating piracy.

Image by US Navy (CC by 2.0)

20 Responses

  1. Dawg

    Aww … Poor little pirate sites.

    Karma’s a BITCH isn’t it?

    • Harsh Truth

      Who still uses them? This was published last year and most torrent traffic has joined the streaming community well before then even. Why download when you can stream it directly without taking up hard drive space? You aren’t limited to just files people have torrents for. Any video that can be played from any source can be mirrored or cast to most newer TVs. Very few have anticasting measures like because the enforcement moves and adapts so much slower.

      So they are basically just cleaning up some old sites that have been obsolete for 10-15 years now. I love all the crying from billionaire content providers like studios, network heads, actors, musicians, cable/pay for streaming services, and the like.

      Get over it. There is too much support for open source media sharing. It is only getting stronger by the day. Some very rich people need to figure out if they want a piece of the pie at all by lowering prices, easing data caps, supplying more content for the price.

      Luckily there isn’t anything but reboots, remakes, and plagiarized “creative” material being released these days. Therefore, they have very little leverage against anyone but millenials with new content. That doesn’t do much because they can’t sustain long term employment and are the biggest demographic that streams illegally. You gotta love VPNs. lol

  2. Anonymous

    I do agree that the best way to shut down the torrent sites is the cut off their ad revenue stream. I’m not convinced that this alone will do it though. Advertisers can always retool their adds to be less obnoxious, so they don’t get blocked by Chrome. We’ll see what happens.

    • james

      even if the ads are blocked pirated content will still find a way to be available to those who seek it one way or another!

  3. Anonymous

    “These frustrating experiences can lead some people to block all ads”

    So they think some people still don’t block all ads?

  4. Anonymous

    “The torrent site economy is in a bad state. Profits are very low. Profits are f—d up compared to previous years.”

    lol, isn’t that just tragic.

  5. Anonymous

    Daniel, this is not Google killing torrent sites — this is Google killing any other advertiser than Google.

    Kim Dotcom had a similar idea a few years back, perhaps that’s where Google got it.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      It’s pretty interesting. Because you’re right, this doesn’t block ads from pirate sites. It only blocks certain ads, i.e., ones Google decides are bad. And Google will never decide that Google Ads are bad.

  6. Versus

    This is not right. Google should only be blocking illegitimate advertising, such as those for piracy sites including piracy-heavy torrent sites (as they should be blocked from search engines). Legitimate advertising is legal, and indeed necessary for some sites and businesses, like journalism sites, to survive.

    • Anonymous

      Based on the article, it doesn’t sound like they’re blocking all advertising. It’s only for pop-up ads, ads that autoplay music and video, and giant pinned banners that won’t go away. These types of ads absolutely should be blocked, regardless if the site they’re on is for journalism or piracy. I think the result of this is that ad companies will begin making their ads less intrusive. This is ultimately a good thing, and I expect journalism and similar sites to still be able to make ad money. On the down side, I also don’t see this as making much of an impact on the torrent sites, as they will still be able to make ad money, just using less intrusive ads.

  7. Remi Swierczek

    YouTube must still struggle to make enough for juice and servers!
    Time to throw more music fertilizer on YT advertizing farm.

    Music is bigger than $200B digital advertising business but there is no music insiders or tech visionaries with interest to create new, profitable for all, music game board! Today’s course is composting $300B of music to at the best $25B of subs and ads.

  8. Zazzau

    Unfortunately I see holes in this, some being not everyone uses chrome or google but there is nothing to stop a site disclaimer saying if you use this site don’t use chrome, but good luck with that.

  9. MaggieEllisonKlein

    So we are going to act like these sites are just going to sit there and take it? Uh, ok.

  10. ano niem

    to me this is just another way for google to get a even bigger monopoly with there adds and FORCING users to do it there way just like they did with banning unity and silverlight stuff without giving the users a CHOICE in the matter.

  11. down with the old heads

    lol…typical music industry naiveté. if you think the world of pirating + torrenting is centralized on a few people / sites, you probably also believed streaming was bad for business.

  12. Kal

    Cool, i Like it,
    this move will force a lot of sites to convert over to google ads scheme and as they are never going to allow torrent sites to sign up

    Bye-bye illegal content sharers

    • Harsh Truth

      lmao most of us quit using torrents years about 10 years ago. It’s much easier, quicker, and provides unlimited content using illegal streaming sites instead. This is a sad attempt at saving face by saying “look we won” but they’re claiming victory on a battlefield abandoned by the enemy because they found more fertile ground elsewhere. Open source can’t be stopped. It doesn’t have the red tape that enforcement has to deal with. These stories are starting to sound desperate now. It’s like they are still trying to be relevant and getting left behind because they can’t keep up with how fast technology is advancing. lol 1% clinging to profit margins. Too funny.

  13. EdTeach

    Bull shit, All you need to do is google pirate bay or go to duck duck go and find anything you want. Bull shit wishful story. What fucking idiots buys music?