Mininova is raking in the Euros.
While Europe may be the front lines in the battle between P2P and the media, it won't stop websites like Mininova from turning a profit...and then some.
According to a financial statement filed by Mininova with the Netherlands' Chamber of Commerce, the popular torrent tracker site saw its revenue grow to €1,037,560 (about USD $1.3 million) in 2007, up from €600,000 in 2006. $1.3 million...not a bad chunk of change for a company that is constantly targeted by the film and record companies as a haven for the distribution of copyrighted material.
While revenue is high for Mininova, site spokesman Niek van der Maas says the money comes into the website like any other - from advertising. According to Ars Technica, Mininova's revenue is generated largely by the ads that grace its pages. While van der Maas is quick to point out that advertising has nothing to do with copyright infringement, the users who seed and leech torrents of copyrighted material through sites like Mininova and The Pirate Bay are the same users who click on the sites' advertisements. Whether your website is a torrent tracker like Mininova or a reviews/news site like Tom's Hardware, there is an undeniable link between content and advertising.
Mininova isn't the only torrent tracker that may or may not be rolling in the money. During the final days of The Pirate Bay's trial, the prosecution accused the website of generating upwards of USD $1 million. During a court recess, TPB's Gottfried Svartholm Warg said the accusation was "totally absurd," and "those numbers are totally disconnected from reality." If Mininova, which is just as popular as The Pirate Bay, is generating millions in revenue, then TPB could easily maintain such a cash flow.
While both Mininova and The Pirate Bay are known for tracking torrents of copyrighted material, there is one distinct difference. While Mininova says it complies with all requests to remove copyrighted material (and has a page where such requests can be made), The Pirate Bay laughs at and ridicules any such requests.
As of February 2009, Compete.com estimates that TPB sees almost 2.4 million unique visitors a month, while Mininova has around 1.6 million.
UPDATE: Tom's Guide would like to clarify that Mininova is a torrent "search engine/directory", and not a torrent tracker. While torrent trackers like The Pirate Bay require users to communicate with their servers during a download, Mininova does not host any trackers whatsoever.