In a word: YEP.
Why anyone uses public BitTorrent sites such as mininova, The Pirate Bay, Isohunt and others, we’ll never know. Their soaring popularity opens the door to all kinds of scammers, fakes and decoys - it’s hard to tell what is righteous and what’s bogus, anymore. Toss in the fact that anyone can upload a torrent here, and it’s a recipe for file-sharing madness. We have a feeling of hopelessness for public BitTorrent sites, and we don’t care. Private sites are the wave of the future!
Diluted torrents - the water-down effect.
In all fairness, it’s not that there’s any fewer proper releases out there on the public sites, it’s that they’ve been watered down so much as it tends to make them harder to find. And they keep company with much-maligned torrents.
Here’s an example: We searched for “Alvin and The Chipmunks R5 PUKKA” on mininova.org, and it returned 22 exact results. Now remember, folks: we searched for the PROPER release name. Most people would just search for “Alvin and the Chipmunks” without the tags. From these 22, seven of them were listings from “private” Bit sites. Of the remaining 15, we can guarantee that two of them are scams, because they contain one large “RAR” file, obviously password-protected:
And we can almost guarantee that the MPAA / MediaDefender is involved with at least one other ‘version’. This is evident by the terribly one-sided seed/leech ratio. You don’t want to be downloading this torrent:
Now, on a private tracker, there will likely be only one listing for it. This cuts out the scams, the fakes, the decoys. ThePeerHub.com (a private BitTorrent site) only lists one version of Alvin, thus it is assumed to be the proper release:
Improperly ‘Tagged’ Torrents on Public Bit sites.
This has always been a problem, but evidently it’s getting worse. On public Bit sites, the most popular torrents are usually the ones that are proper ’scene’ releases. This is easy to verify - just arrange the torrents by seed (or leech) to list the highest ones at the top. While this technique works great for ‘overall’ content (especially in categories of torrents), it cannot be applied to the most recent stuff.
Now, instead of filtering the results by SE or LE (seed or leech), take a look at the most recent movie torrents at The Pirate Bay. Note that these torrents break all [the rules](/2007/11/22/how-to-identify-tags-on-pirated-releases/ “Proper ‘release group’ tags.”) used to identify good torrents from bad:
However, on a private tracker, this *junk* doesn’t make the cut - not a single one of these torrents would be caught dead on a private BitTorrent site. Here’s what the category ‘movies’ looks like on a private site such as thepeerhub.com:
And this rule isn’t just specific of movies, or ‘new’ movies. All categories have the exact same layout with listings from proper release groups only. Nor it is specific to ThePeerHub, either. All private trackers apply the same integrity to their listed torrents. They either offer the best of the best, or you simply won’t find it on a private site.
NOTE: We didn’t intend to single out The Pirate Bay - they’re an excellent example for our screenshots. ALL public torrent sites are exactly the same.
There’s a ‘New Wave’ of Pseudo-release groups
About these new “Groups”.
Want to start releasing movies en masse, but can’t get enough respect to get into “the scene”?? That’s easy - just start uploading movie torrents to public BitTorrent websites, and throw on your own little made-up pseudo-release group name at the end of them! See your name in lights! Watch people download your torrents! Stroke your ego! Feel good about yourself!
Yesiree, friends - this is the latest craze among public BitTorrent sites. “Groups” who take it amongst themselves to better the community by posting inferior material.
Have you noticed lately that a LOT of BitTorrent movies are flawed or badly done?
We sure have! Here’s a few symptoms that you’ve probably experienced lately, notably if you’ve been downloading torrents from public sites:
— Movies won’t play (or they’ll play OK on your computer), but once you burn it to disk, it’ll have nothing to do with your home DivX-supported DVD player.
— Movies skip. A lot. We’re seeing more and more of this. The movie will have perfect video playback for 20 minutes (or even much longer) and then start to skip and jump annoyingly, in some cases jumping minutes ahead. This is particularly annoying when you have a date over for a movie, and you want to impress her with a ‘yet-to-be-released’ film.
— Unsynched audio. In some newer releases, the audio is FUBAR right from the start. In others, it starts out perfect and goes out-of-sync halfway through.
— Movies will be improperly categorized. Meaning, they’ll be labelled as DVDRiPs, when they’re actually R5’s or lesser quality. Some will “rip” DVD5 disks instead of the higher standard DVD9’s. Audio and video can both be compromised.
(Note: If these were proper scene releases, they’d have been NUKED and had a very short life, indeed. Public BitTorrent is WAY too forgiving.)
So who’s to blame for this new rash of poor quality rips, then?
Is it some diabolical plot stemming from the oily tenticles of the MPAA? Nope. How about MediaDefender - perhaps they finally figured out a way to poison the torrents? Nah. While certainly they’d be tickled to take the credit, this is probably not the case (but you never know). The problem is more likely associated with an inside-job: new “groups” that don’t possess the adequate skills to do proper movie ripping. They include, but are not limited to, releases by:
- BaLD (some files are being reported as FAKES)
- eXtaCY (all movies are getting nuked for BAD AUDIO)
* (KLAXXON is quite an innovative name. When users search for “aXXo” on a BitTorrent site, the results for KLAXXON are shown, as well. Their EGO aside, this is still very clever). The difference being is that aXXo’s movies always work as they should!
All of the movies that these guys release have already been released by a proper release group. Two scenarios exist (and perhaps more):
1. They received the same source from which they did the ripping (but botched the job), at or about the same time a release group obtained the same source (and did it properly).
2. Because proper groups don’t actually post their movies onto BitTorrent sites (it takes a public user such as you or me to do it - much to their chagrin), these dupers can beat everyone to the punch by quickly snagging the original *.RAR files from either a good IRC channel or a private BitTorrent site. (So they often appear FIRST on mininova before the official releases even get there). And instead of keeping the movie in the *.RAR files, they extract it and change the name of the folder and *.AVI file to reflect theirs). How the video becomes corrupted at this stage is unclear: perhaps they edit or recode it for unknown reasons, or add some sort of message, or it becomes damaged through transfer outside of the *.RARs — who the hell knows?
(A Tip to anyone who unRARs and uploads video files to public torrent sites - DON’T. Leave them in their original *.RAR files. If the NoObs can’t figure out how to open a .RAR file, then they should turn off their computer, put it back in the box and return it to the store they bought it from.)
The Solution: Download the same thing from a proper release group.
Instead of throwing caution to the wind and just downloading these versions straight away, it’s better to search BitTorrent sites (i.e. the same one) for the same movie title first. And match it up with a proper release from our list of proper movie [release groups](/2007/11/24/known-reliable-release-groups/ “A list of movie Release Groups”). See below:
Can’t find it? In 95% of the cases it’ll probably be there - if not, it should end up being posted within 24 hours. A little patience can save you from creating more silvery drink coasters for the coffee table.
Who ARE these new groups…are they real?
These guys aren’t technically a “release group” by proper standards - more along the lines of solo DVD rippers - and don’t exist outside of public BitTorrent websites. Anyone in ‘the scene’ will tell you that. Nor can they be found on proper scene sites such as NFOrce.nl or vcdquality.com.
The reason why their torrents are everywhere, is that there aren’t many public torrent trackers in the world. The Pirate Bay runs 50% of them, and mininova has a lot as well. So if you can get your torrents uploaded there, they’ll spread like wildfire to smaller torrent sites who either don’t run their own trackers, and/or use other sites’ trackers in their search results.
But one thing is clear - you won’t find their torrents on most private trackers. Private sites know better than that.
PROs and CONs of public vs private trackers.
The superiorities of private torrent sites over public sites are endless. But here are the Top Ten reasons private torrent websites are better than public ones:
|Private Trackers:||Public Trackers:|
|Malware in files?||Almost non-existent. Since the sources are usually direct from “the scene”, malware is rare.||More common. Anyone can arbitrarily add a virus, upload the torrent and share it with unsuspecting users.|
|Password -protected files?||No. The only password you’ll need is to logon to your account on the site.||Commonly found among “one-RAR” torrents, especially movies. A common practice employed by scammers.|
|3rd-party software required?||Never. Video files will almost always playback as-is, without further ado. Most are DivX DVD player compatible.||A common scam to get users to click links and ads to get to a ’specialized’ player for playback or the video file. (i.e. DOMPlayer).|
|Sharing ratios?||Yes. You’ll need to maintain your account in good standings. This ensures the life of the torrent and healthy download speeds for all.||No. Users can “leech” all they want. By and large, this is bad for the community. The health of the torrent is reliant on user participation.|
|Speed…||Great speed. Other users are trying to maintain a good ’share’ ratio, and therefore keep the torrents seeding for a longer period.||Speed varies. Usually quite good among popular torrents, though. Completely reliant on other public user Internet speeds and upload settings.|
|Moderation of submitted torrents?||Yes, highly. Torrents are not publicly uploaded, but upped by respected users. Most are hand-picked by the site admins - any bad torrents are quickly purged.||Yes and no. Moderation is a time-consuming task. mininova alone posts 1,500 new torrents each day and cannot possibly check most of them. (And that’s just the ones that get through to being posted).|
|Dead torrents?||Dead or ‘zero-seed’ torrents are usually deleted after a certain timeframe. Why keep dead links on the site?||Very common. Since moderation is a resource-costly procedure to maintain, dead torrents remain on public sites for long periods of time.|
|Specialization / Variety?||Lots of options. Many sites focus on a particular genre of torrents, such as sports, games, HD movies, eBooks etc.||Limited. Very few public sites specialize in one thing. They act as more of a “catch-all” to generate more traffic, more users.|
|“Anti-P2P” group involvement?||Not likely, but don’t rule it out altogether. BitTorrent is an insecure method of file sharing, but private sites cut down the risks. Be sure to use PeerGuardian anyways.||Yes. Not only will groups such as MediaDefender and MPAA monitor public torrents (and track all its users), they post their own torrents and monitor them through specialized trackers and software.|
|ISP/Takedown notices? Lawsuits?||Again, not likely. Be sure to register with the tracker under an alias and anonymous email account (hotmail). For added security, use a proxy server through the BitTorrent client, and use PeerGuardian.||Lawsuit probability is unknown. Highly plausible due to the efforts made to infiltrate public torrent websites by anti-P2P organizations. Cease-and-desist/Takedown notices directed at ISPs (and to you) are extremely common.|
Use a private tracker. Period.
This is truly the best solution.
By registering with private trackers, you’ll be able to join torrent websites that cater specifically to your interests. Many are ‘general’ in the sense that they offer a little of everything, while others are ‘niche’ sites for finding stuff you’ll never find anywhere else:
- High-definition movies & TV
- High quality (lossless) audio
- Sports-related torrents
- Adult-only torrents
- Games and console torrents
A great starting-out place is www.torrentking.org. They offer results from over 850 private (and public) sites, which can be broken down into categories. Another good site is www.Btracs.com, which sports a list of presently open private trackers.
To register with most private sites, you’ll need a valid email account. Worried about security? Sign up for a new hotmail / gmail account etc., and use not-so-real information.
Two things you should know about private trackers:
1. Respect the rules. Keep your seed/leech ratios at the minimum account requirement, or risk being banned. This ensures high-speed torrents for all. Don’t just delete your torrent after it finishes as many people do with public sites.
2. Use an approved BitTorrent client. We highly recommend using µtorrent version 1.6.1 or the latest version 1.7.7. (Do NOT use BitComet). Many private sites ask for this client and version, specifically. Download v1.6.1 from here.
Good luck, and have fun! Join as many as you like, and don’t forget to seed!
Good review of public BT sitez. Haven’t used dem for years now. private all the way….:-)
i am new to private websites. i am trying to seed but i cant find any to seed too. and when there is finally a peer, his connection is maxed out with other seeders. so i cant seed and wait for eternity. so faster download than public. but slower upload also.
Use the tips found on this recent TorrentFreak.com post - these can help get your ratios into tip-top shape!