The Pirate Bay isn't worried about Google's new search algorithms that punish sites based on the number copyright removal requests they receive. That may be empty rhetoric on the Pirate Bay's part, but it's safe to say piracy sites don't need to be worried just yet.
This week Google started penalizing web sites that had received valid takedown notices. The more takedown notices, the lower the site appears in Google's search results and, as a result, the higher legal sites will be listed.
The Pirate Bay is playing it cool, arguing people will be disappointed with the legal options that rank higher in Google's search results. "We'll get more direct traffic when people don't get the expected search result when using Google," the Pirate Bay wrote in a blog post on Wednesday http://thepiratebay.se/blog/220.
Not that it will come to that. The Pirate Bay says it is a competitor to search engines and gets a "very low amount" of traffic from Google. Of course, "low amount" is a relative term. According to Google Trends, in 2012 the Pirate Bay has twice as much search traffic as Spotify, one third the search traffic of iTunes and only 1/90th the search traffic of YouTube. To put this in a larger perspective, the Pirate Bay's global search traffic is 1/250th the size of Facebook's and 1/32nd the size of the word "porn." Facebook and porn are two search kings, so the Pirate Bay is definitely getting some good search traffic from Google.
But so far, tweaks to Google's search rankings haven't exactly banished the Pirate Bay and similar sites from search results - or even the first page of search results. My test of "Bruce Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of Town MP3" turned up two illegal links before a third to the album at Amazon and a fourth to the track at Amazon. The seventh link was the entire album at the Pirate Bay. Only four of the ten links were to legal sites, two of the ten were to legal MP3s and one was to a legal lyrics sites.
Other searches frequently found mp3skull.com at or near the top of the search results. As detailed at Google's Copyright Transparency Report, Google has received 13,976 requests related to 144,728 links at mp3skull.com since June 2, 2011. It is the RIAA's third-most targeted domain at Google.
The best way to get more legitimate results is to change the search. Remove "MP3" from the search and the illegal sites go away. Exchange "MP3" for "stream" and legal streams abound. But the MP3 is the problem format here and still very easy to find.