But assuming it is illegal to be a clearing house for downloading copyrighted material, it surely must pay well. I was being a numbers junky with Internet stats and combing Quantcast when I saw that Mininova.org was not only "Quantified", but unlike most of the big sites, it actually makes its data available for public viewing. While that's still the case, I figured I'd write about it. According to Quantcast mininova.org is the 236th ranked web site based on US Unique visitors, other sites have it ranked much higher globally (Alexa currently lists it at #53) . But regardless of ranking, our own usage of Quantcast tracking leads me to believe its very accurate, so I trust the page views and visitors counts very much.
For those who aren't familiar with torrents, it's a file sharing system that allows you to download fairly quickly (with a good broadband connection) by receiving different pieces of the file from different people all over the world who may happen to be sharing the file. I say "relatively quickly", but some of that is because I remember the 300bps modem days of the 1980s. But with a good broadband connection you can download a 42ish minute episode in under an hour easily. While many types of files are available via Mininova.org, including regular old podcasts, MP3s, and computer software, also available are movies and TV shows. The shows get up there pretty quickly - last night's Boston Legal episode is available in three formats, including a streamlined file for the iPod/iPhone. With the commercials stripped out, no less.
I saw the traffic graphs and stats and very, very quickly a few things jumped to mind:
1. Most traffic in torrent downloads is outside the US. The site's monthly traffic summary lists 529,680,567 page views, but only 79,482,747 were from the United States.
2. Even if they were only getting a $1 CPM for advertising with one ad (and they have more than one) per page, that would be, uh, $529,681 per month. Even at that math just the US portion of traffic would command $79,483 a month. I could live very nicely on that even if I had to split it with 5 people
3. Why couldn't I have taken after my father's side of the family and had a criminal mind!? How bad can it be to live offshore to avoid the law if you're likely clearing at least $10 million a year US and your only real expense is your time and hosting fees?
4. The visitors are *extremely*engaged. They attract over 33 million unique visitors worldwide (5.1 million in the USA) and they visit over 3 times a month and average almost 5 page views per visit.
5. Why couldn't I have taken after my father's side of the family and had a criminal mind...how bad could life in, say, Anguilla really be...
As I write this the theatrical release "The Bank Job" has 9944 computers seeding the file and 31,364 downloading ("leeching") it. By comparison of all the Jericho files available, the most active on a seeding basis is a version of season 2, episode 6 which shows 2779 seeders and 810 leechers.
The complete 7.66GB download (a long download, even at good speed) for Jericho season one has 131 seeds with 850 leechers. Of course in fairness, Jericho's final episode was a few weeks ago, and I'm sure the traffic for it was higher then. If I took the time to add up all the episodes of Jericho presently being downloaded, it's well into the several thousands. The most active version of Tuesday night's Hell's Kitchen has 3131 seeds and 2267 leechers.
You can explore more of MiniNova's stats via Quantcast or the seeds/leechers stats by visiting MiniNova and searching on whatever show you're curious about. As I write this there are currently 3393 people downloading a combined file for seasons 1, 2 and 3 of LOST. It's a big file, weighing in at 24.91GB.