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Interview with Sloncek of SuprNova
May 11, 2004
Font Bigger Font Smaller has been serving the BitTorrent (BT) community with torrent files for over 16 months now. Torrent files are the key needed by BT users to begin downloading their required files.

SuprNova is one of very few sites to offer access to such a wide range of file types, without the need for registration. This helps explain the 420,000 unique visitors a day. With so many users, SuprNova is clearly the number 1 source for torrents.

Slyck caught up with the SuprNova crew for an interview. Questions are answered by Sloncek, who founded, owns and administrates SuprNova.

--Slyck: Sloncek, thank you for joining us today. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for SuprNova, which so many of us often take for granted. Now, if you don’t mind, we will jump straight in with the questions.

1) Slyck: Why did you set up a torrent site?

--SuprNova: Well honestly, I have no idea how I discovered BitTorrent, I just remember that one of first sites that I went to was Turok. After a while, new websites popped up and I started using them too. Anyway I got totally hooked with BT and then one day I decided, why not make another website? I mean there were only like 6-7 BitTorrent websites back then, the biggest being Donkax. So I started thinking about the domain name. My Linux box at home was called Suprnova, it has got this name because I and my brother was always a bit of Star Trek and stuff like that fans. So anyway, I decided why not name it SuprNova. A lot of people ask, why not SuperNova? Well that {domain was already} taken, and honestly, this makes it more special ;)

2) Slyck: What do you feel has been the cause of SuprNova’s success?

--SuprNova: I remember when SuprNova had about 3000 visitors, at that time I figured my 16 kb/s upload won’t take much more and so I moved it a lot. I think that the site stayed up so long because I have really dedicated a lot of my life to it, at that stage even more then now, since it was all html based and I had to add all the link manually (with Microsoft FrontPage help ;)). After about a month, there was a huge shortage of BitTorrent sites since the MPAA had started sending emails around, or people just didn’t want to bother taking care of them anymore (met some of those admins). Since that time, the site has changed a lot. I no longer add links on my own, it’s all done by a script and we are based on more then one server. I guess most people heard about the site through word of mouth.

3) Slyck: Being based in Slovenia must have helped avoid strict copyright laws. What impact will the country's new membership to the EU have on SuprNova?

--SuprNova: I’m quite happy I live in Slovenia. I guess it would be a lot harder to keep {a} site like this up in USA. What kind of laws {the} EU will bring to Slovenia, I don’t want to know, but right now I’m quite happy since I can order computer things from around Europe without paying the boarder fees ;).

I haven’t {had} many problems with {the} law so far, all I got was some emails from MPAA or DMCA, but mostly it was my web hosting providers that got {emails}.

4) Slyck: It would be naive to say that BitTorrent’s success was not based on copyright infringement. However, Bram Cohen, the developer of the BT protocol, clearly states that BT is not suitable for copyright infringement.

With this in mind, and the reported cease and desist letters to users, do you think there is a future for SuprNova and ultimately BT?

--SuprNova: Yes Bram Cohen did say in an article for New York Times that he doesn’t like the idea of BT being used by sites like SuprNova, but let’s face it, in his client he is asking for donations, right? Would he really get anything if there weren’t sites like SuprNova? How many companies have really started using BT for downloads? Although, I wish more did. But, I totally get it why Bram said that… But still, no matter what Bram said, I do see future {for} SuprNova and BT, but they might {live in a form that is a bit different from now}. I expected a lot of changes to happen to SN & BT.

5) Slyck: Bandwidth is a big issue for SuprNova. Against your original wishes, SuprNova is now full of adverts and pop-ups. Many sites use adverts as a source of revenue and users come to understand and accept this. However, do you not feel that the “BT upgrade” scam pop-up is a step too far?

--SuprNova: Yes, I remember myself saying that SuprNova will never be one of those sites that are full of ads. But hey, SuprNova became too big to be based {only} on donations. We have still tried to only stay with clean ads, meaning no porn ads and similar, although they would bring 2-3 times more money then the current one. About the “BT upgrade” popup, well it was a bit of a scam, I must admit, but it was the only popup sponsor that was really looking in to advertising with us and we couldn’t really lose that advertising spot. Right now, there are different popup ads (casino) and this should stay for at least a month. So lets hope they are satisfied with us and they continue to advertise with us and there will be no more reasons for that “BT upgrade” popup.

6) Slyck: Another solution to bandwidth usage is the utilisation of mirrors. These are commonly donated by users. With such a high turnover of mirrors, are you concerned that the system is not sustainable?

--SuprNova: I must admit that without mirror system we would be long gone. Since the mirror system was created, we have always relied on our own servers and servers donated by users, unfortunately both go down quite often, since web hosting companies get afraid when they receive an MPAA email. Right now we have 5 working mirrors in our database, of which only one is donated by users, all others are owned by us. There is always a chance that there {will suddenly be} no working mirrors in our database, and it has happened before, but like you {can} see, we have always managed to come back.

--Slyck: Anyone who feels they can provide a mirror can contact a member of the SuprNova team on IRC. Click Here

7) Slyck: There is a reliance on donations to pay for bandwidth costs, new servers, and other maintenance. SuprNova has always been creative with encouraging donations, with a monthly donation drive and prizes.

However, lots of your users have donated to other torrent sites, just to see the sites disappear offline. A famous example is, which disappeared after a donations drive for a new server.
How would you encourage these users that SuprNova is a safe and worthwhile cause?

--SuprNova: Well donations have been a big factor in paying the monthly bills and we thank all the donators! But we, like all other websites, cannot say that it’s safe to donate to us, since we won’t go down. We have no idea what will happen in the future, {neither do} we wish to, hehe, but we are still {the} site with longest online reputation :) and that’s the biggest guarantee that you can get, although like I said before, nothing is 100%, not even SuprNova ;)

--Slyck: If you have some money to spare, look out for SuprNova’s monthly donation drive.

8) Slyck: The SuprNova Light project promises to help save huge amounts of bandwidth, as well as increase reliability. Furthermore, it gives control to those who run the mirrors. Why does SuprNova refuse to co-operate?

--SuprNova: Simply, we are still those that {have to} host the torrent files, we are the ones that will have their ass on the line and because a lot of people put DONATE on their site, and people donate to them and we get 0 out of it.

9) Slyck: Last month, SuprNova saw the successful launch of This spelt the end for
Was this because Novasearch effectively leeched from SuprNova?

--SuprNova: We decided for this change, because we wanted to have control of everything that goes on with SuprNova. I thank Guspaz for helping us for so long, but we decided it would be for our own good if we see everything that is happening and have control over it. I don’t see it as Novasearch leeching from SuprNova, since it has got our approval, but it was time for a change.

10) Slyck: Was your decision to end outsourcing of the search engine affected by the virus which infected some Novasearch users?

--SuprNova: The virus problem in fact did encourage us to finally do the change. Although some people say we should give Guspaz another chance; it was not only because of that.

--Slyck: And now I was going to ask you two questions which I am sure everyone wants to know the answer to. Since you have already answered why there is no “e” in “SuprNova”, I will skip to the second:

11) Slyck: Will the tiny “[i]” button next to each torrent ever work? Have they ever worked in the past?

--SuprNova: Hehe, no it won’t. The script would have to make 16000 pages every 20 min and that simply isn’t possible anymore. But it did use to work, when SuprNova was a lot smaller :D

12) Slyck: Ok, 16000 every 20 minutes is a lot, so I will let you get away with it! So, how has SuprNova changed your life?

--SuprNova: Well since the creation of SuprNova, a lot of things in my life changed. For example, how people react when I come to their IRC channel or so hehe, but mostly everything that changed, changed in a positive way...

13) Slyck: Where do you see SuprNova going in the future? What features would you like to see added?

--SuprNova: Its not the question of which features I would like to see added, more of which I will see added, hehe. All I can say is, that we do have something in development, for quite a long time now, which we hope will make it even easier to use “SuprNova” ;)

--Slyck: Could you elaborate on that?

--SuprNova: I really don’t want to say more at this stage

--Slyck: Come on Sloncek; give us all a little teaser...

--SuprNova: More details will appear on the net soon ;)

14) Slyck: Where do you see file sharing next year? What about 5, or even 10 years?

--SuprNova: I hope it will become legalised, and if not, I expected I will be able to pay a small fee to download a movie or a TV show, like {has} started happening with mp3s.

Slyck: Sloncek, thank you for your time. I am sure everyone will agree that you and your team provide an excellent and invaluable service to the community. We look forward to many more years of Suprnova’s success!

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: Trackers/Indexers
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Interviews

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