Everybody remembers the famous sites like BTJunkie that have been intermittently operational throughout the various years of the internet’s existence. However, as the governments recognize these websites and their illegal use spreading among communities and hackers, they tend to ban the popular ones. BTJunkie was one such popular BitTorrent website that got the banning order in 2012. The web search engine was operational for seven years, from 2005 to 2012.
BTJunkie Closure in 2012
The functionality of BTJunkie was based on a web crawler used for searching torrent files and links from other torrent websites, stores, and databases. In 2006, BTJunkie was crowned as the largest Torrent site indexer on the web, with over 42 thousand torrents added daily to the already existing database of nearly 4 million active torrents.
In 2011, it was the most popular BitTorrent site, which is probably the reason behind it getting attention from the authorities leading to its closure in the subsequent year.
On February 5, 2012, the most elaborately detailed BitTorrent web search engine BTJunkie was declared shut voluntarily, making users devoid of all the latest trends revolving around movies, videos, software, games, etc.
Even though the shutdown was based on a voluntary announcement on the site’s main page, it was a response to the closure of other such popular (albeit illegal) sites like Megaupload and the legal action against The Pirate Bay.
The message that announced the closure of BTJunkie on their website’s main page read: “This is the end of the line, my friends. The decision does not come easy, but we’ve decided to shut down voluntarily. We’ve been for years for your right to communicate, but it’s time to move on. It’s been an experience of a lifetime; we wish you all the best.”
BTJunkie Features and Working
BTJunkie provided the users with illegal access to BitTorrent sites, stores, and databases by indexing both private and public trackers using an automatic web crawler that scanned the internet for Torrent files.
It worked like all the BitTorrent search engines but offered more results with an intuitive interface and new tools that made BTJunkie better than the others. With this search engine up and running, users could get unlimited, free, and quick access to any torrent files, including movies, videos, software, and games.
BTJunkie used cookies to track its customers’ and visitors’ download data to gain input for better tools and optimization techniques. Since this search engine did not require any registration or sharing any personal information on the website, BTJunkie was easy to operate and access without breaking the visitors’ anonymity.
The simplicity of use is evident in the fact that all the visitors had to do visit the official site, copy, and paste the text in the search bar according to their query, and hit the search button. With just three steps, all the relevant and trending web results were presented on the output screen within a matter of only a few seconds.
BTJunkie had a unique technique to keep its data relevant for its users; visitors and customers could rate torrents according to their relevance and validity via reviews and feedbacks. These ratings, reviews, and feedbacks proved extremely useful in calculating whether a torrent link should be kept in the library or not. Such methods also helped filter and flag malicious torrents uploaded to the website.
Defunct Sites like BTJunkie
Like BTJunkie, several other websites and search engines faced the same dilemma of functionality and legality in 2012. Several popular websites had to undergo extended periods of dissolution.
A BitTorrent indexing service that was an operation for one year from 2004 to 2005. It did not get popular as much because other sites were ruling the scene, but it got international attention when the website refused compliance with a cease and desist order sent by the MPAA.
The court case MPAA vs. LokiTorrent was driven by over 40,000 dollars of member donations, and the site peaked with over 1.8 million hits every single day. LokiTorrent again came under scrutiny when the owner tried to sell the domain name in early 2005 but was finally shut down in February 2005 after an extended outage.
A simple website that used to offer BitTorrent downloads to its users and customer base. It was the most extensive site offering torrent downloads of even copyrighted materials, which lead to legal action in Dutch courts in November 2009.
Following the court case, Mininova operators had to remove all uploads and torrent files by regular users, including torrents that enabled users to download copyrighted material. The popular website finally dissolved the domain and shut down permanently in 2017, after a successful run of 12 years since 2005, due to running a loss for some years.
This is an open BitTorrent tracker project for the BitTorrent protocol. This initiative was undertaken to provide free and stable services without any ties to the indexing sites. It does not require hosting torrent files for downloads.
OpenBitTorrent uses the same trackers are The Pirate Bay and thus is rumored to have been a part or at least a side project of the infamous The Pirate Bay. OpenBitTorrent has undergone several extended periods of shutdown and non-operation intermittently.
The website was first functional from 2009 to 2010, and for four years underwent significant online and offline periods. The most extended period of functioning and operation for OpenBitTorrent was observed from 2015 to 2017, after which the website was made available again in 2018 to fall unresponsive in late 2019 finally.
YouTorrent majorly served as a BitTorrent search engine that allowed parallel searches on different torrent search engines. In April 2008, the protocols of the most popular search engine underwent significant changes to allow website access to only those providing licensed and certified content.
YouTorrent finally shut down in 2013 after losing its primary audience by stating, “The stigmatization of the word torrent proved a hurdle that was too hard to overcome when trying to build a legitimate and legal platform.”
Functional Sites like BTJunkie
Although many BitTorrent websites like BTJunkie and search engines got the cut in 2012 or subsequent years, many others got their domain space in the industry. Such search engines and websites that are still functional in 202 were those that somehow escaped the wrath of MPAA and their regulations.
An imitator of YIFY Torrents, YTS. AG is a peer-to-peer release group for providing free download distribution through BitTorrent in large numbers. YTS.AG appeared shortly after the shutdown and dissolution of YIFY Torrents in 2015 and has become the most popular torrent downloader ever since.
They indexed all YIFY’s uploads while also adding more of their own. YTS.AG was one of the very few sites that survived the significant backlash towards imitators and clone websites, which is evident from its popularity and users confusing YTS.AG with YIFY Torrents even after five functional years.
A proprietary adware BitTorrent client owned and developed by BitTorrent, Inc. µTorrent is the most widely used website for downloading videos, music, movies, software, and games, outside China globally.
The project has been active since 2005, when it was released first. Its functionality was based on the minimal use of computer resources while offering optimal operation on par with comparably more prominent BitTorrent clients such as Vuze or Bitcomet. The latest major news about µTorrent was from 2017, where the founder announced a new version of µTorrent to be web browser-based.
This website is a peer-to-peer file-sharing site that provides a directory of torrent files and magnet links through BitTorrent protocol. 1337x is the second most popular joint torrent website as of 2020.
Founded in 2007, 1337x peaked in popularity in 2016 after the dissolution and closure of Kickass Torrents. Being famous does not make a website legal, and for this reason, Google has banned 1337x from showing up in the search results or queries, following a request from Feelgood Entertainment in 2015. It has been touted as an alternative to The Pirate Bay.
The Pirate Bay
An online digital index of digital content or entertainment media and software. This website was founded in 2003 and is still functional in 2020, allowing users to use peer-to-peer file sharing through BitTorrent protocols. The users can search, download, and contribute magnet links and torrent files onto the main website page.
This controversial website has sparked many discussions regarding the legal aspects of file sharing, such as copyright issues and civil liberties. The Pirate Bay survived various shutdowns, domain seizures, and court trials for copyright infringement throughout its 17 years of operation.
Various websites like BTJunkie have come in and out of existence over an extended period. Illegal BitTorrent sites and search engines have faced the wrath of MPAA as they became popular with users for copyright violations and illegal downloads of movies, videos, software, and games.
Some of those websites have remained defunct permanently like LokiTorrent, Mininova, OpenBitTorrent, and YouTorrent. Some others that have escaped the shutdowns and dissolutions are The Pirate Bay, 1337x, µTorrent and YTS.AG.