Where Did All The Megaupload Traffic Go To?

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 1, 2012
Updated • Feb 1, 2012

Megaupload was one of the most visited sites on the Internet before its take down earlier this month. No one up until now looked at the consequences of that takedown in regards to the traffic the site received. Did it just go *poof* or did users flock to other sites instead to do whatever they have been doing on Megaupload?

One way to find out is to look at Alexa's comparison chart. Alexa computes a site's global and local rank from data gathered by its toolbar and a number of additional sources. While not 100% accurate, it can give an indication of a site's traffic performance over time.

Even better, you can key in up to four competitive sites to compare their performance with the selected site. When you do that for Megaupload, and the four sites ThePiratebay, Rapidshare, Mediafire and Filesonic, you come up with the following graph.

Megaupload was shut down on January 20, and you can see a big drop shortly thereafter (the blue line). The site stayed on a high level nevertheless. This is explained by users still clicking on links leading to the site. While these links return a 404 error, Alexa may still count the visits. It is likely that the site will slowly drop to 0 over the coming months.

You also see that Filesonic experienced a drop. This is because of the site's announcement that they would block the site's file sharing component.

The Piratebay on the other hand saw a huge increase in daily reach a few days after the takedown. The site went over the 1.5 daily reach mark in percent which it never crossed before in January. Mediafire saw a big jump in traffic as well during that same time. Rapidshare, another file hosting company saw a lighter increase.

This is no proof obviously, and traffic may have increased because of other reasons. It is however likely that Megaupload and Filesonic users simply moved on to use other services. And those are not only file hosting related, considering that The Piratebay's traffic increased as well. What's your take on the matter?


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  1. Henry said on February 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    All this traffic has moved towards http://www.tawkle.com
    Its a new file sharing website. but its gaining a lot of popularity because of its amazing features and its provision of unlimited uploads and downloads. do check it out!

  2. Robert Palmar said on February 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    The disruption for many is real but there will
    be other sites to fill the voids created and
    in the longer run no reduction in the
    use of these sites for piracy.

  3. Richard Steven Hack said on February 2, 2012 at 10:42 am

    It wasn’t entirely futile. While Bittorrent and Usenet remain, the fact that Filesonic AND Fileserve both cut off services was a severe blow to uploaders. Those two services had the bulk of uploaded content from file sharing sites, and those two services had better download speeds than most of the other smaller sites that are now struggling – and I mean struggling – to handle the increased load.

    I had a lot of stuff I wanted to get from Filesonic and Fileserve and I was contemplating paying for three months at each of them to get better speeds than free users get. Now that is impossible and all the stuff I wanted to get is gone. I will of course find much of it on Bittorrent, but Bittorrent is not nearly as convenient.

    Everything will take longer and be more difficult to access now. So in that sense the Megaupload bust was a success for the DoJ.

  4. Robert Palmar said on February 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    It is highly likely users looking for what they found at Megaupload
    began looking elsewhere and The Pirate Bay was an alternative.
    Ironically, The Pirate Bay is well known because of high
    profile attempts to take down that site previously.

    In practical terms this points to the futility of fighting piracy
    by taking down sites suspected of offering pirated content.

  5. Peter said on February 1, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Nice read, Martin. However, I don’t see Filesonic in the graph. Strange, as you mention Filesonic twice below the graph.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 1, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Peter you are right. I did upload the wrong screenshot, the right one is now visible.

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