As another season of Game of Thrones approaches its finale, legit streaming services have failed to slake our thirst for piracy –— with KickassTorrents becoming one of the world's most popular websites. While The Pirate Bay tends to make more headlines, efforts to knock it offline last year saw rival KickassTorrents steal its crown as the world's most popular BitTorrent search engine, according to Amazon's web traffic tracker Alexa.
The site's popularity continues to grow, with KickassTorrents now becoming one of Alexa's highest-ever ranking file-sharing sites – hitting 70th spot to surpass The Pirate Bay's high of 76th spot. It's a blow to global pirate hunters who have struggled in vain to block access to BitTorrent search engines and chase down users.
So what's the key to KickassTorrents' success? File-sharing news site TorrentFreak attributes it to impressive indexing, a slick interface, fast page load times and a vibrant user community – an overall user-friendliness valued by both paying customers and pirates.
It could also be KickassTorrents' decision to stick with downloadable .torrent files while many other BitTorrent search engines have abandoned them in favour of magnetic links.
As The Pirate Bay can attest, becoming the world's most popular BitTorrent search engine isn't necessarily a good thing, attracting a lot more attention from the copyright police. KickassTorrents has changed its domain name several times to stay ahead of the game but hasn't faced the same down-time issues as The Pirate Bay.
KickassTorrents has already been name-checked in Australian efforts to force ISPs to block access to BitTorrent search engines. The site has also joined The Pirate Bay in offering access on the dark web via the TOR browser, making it much harder for the service to be blocked completely.
Australia's anti-piracy efforts are in disarray with the Dallas Buyers Club case thrown out, the three-strikes laws abandoned and site blocking yet to take effect.
As another season of Game of Thrones approaches its finale, we seem no closer to defeating piracy. How are you watching Game of Thrones this season? What would it take for content providers to win back Aussie pirates?