The Usenet alt.binaries.* newsgroups have been a haven for file trading since 1993, but never received much attention because of the learning curve and limitations of ISP’s Usenet feeds. Even if you manage to install a newsreader, locate your news server and figure out how to decode multipart attachments, there’s no guarantee that your ISP carries the binary newsgroups or has anything more than a day’s worth of files.

Easynews provides a web-based interface to the Usenet binaries archive, with roughly 40 days of retention for all groups. A staggering number of albums, software, movies, and images are posted daily to Usenet, decoded by Easynews, and placed for download from the Easynews website. $10 gets you six gigs of downloaded files per month, and it’s the best $10 I’ve spent in a long time. The free trial gives you a one gigabyte quota and three days to play around with the interface, which I highly recommend. My comments are inside.

July 26, 2003: The free trial is no longer available. They’re up to 10 GB/month for $10, though their retention is closer to 21 days as Usenet traffic increases. Still highly recommended.

With Times New Roman default text on a white background, it was clearly designed by a programmer. So don’t expect anything pretty. But what it lacks in design aesthetic, it makes up in sheer bulk. Unfortunately, you can’t search for files across all newsgroups, but you can search within a particular newsgroup, selectively flag ranges of files, and bundle multiple files into a single ZIP file for easy downloads.

Since most people have no experience with the Usenet newsgroups, I randomly selected files from some of my favorite newsgroups to give you a sense of its diversity. It’s like a giant Filepile, limited only by the collective interests of its participants. I’m interested in music, videos, and games, so that’s disproportionately represented. There are binary newsgroups devoted to subjects like the Simpsons (at least four episodes are posted every day), classic cars, oldtime radio, Gameboy ROMs, video game music, clip art, fine art, fractals, and every flavor of fetish you could imagine.

All MP3s listed are complete albums (singles are rarely traded on the newsgroups), and all videos are full-length movies. Keep in mind, the files listed below are only a fraction of the files posted within the last 24 hours. (Easynews keeps a backlog of around 40 days.)


Oasis – Singles Collection

Plan 9 – Ham and Sam Jammin’

Sebadoh – III

Howie Gelb – Confluence

Pere Ubu – The Modern Dance

Shriekback – Oil and Gold

Dirty Three – Sharks EP

Rocket from the Crypt – Hot Charity

Swervedriver – 99th Dream

Mirah – Cold Cold Water EP


Green Day – Shenanigans

Pink Floyd – Meddle

John Williams – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Johnny Mathis – A Personal Collection

Little Richard – The Speciality Sessions

Barry Manilow – The Complete Collection

Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (5 CD box set)

Mr Scruff – Keep It Unreal

DJ Tiesto – Majik

Iron Butterfly – Metamorphosis

INXS – Kick

Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique

Abba – Abba Gold

Depeche Mode – X1 (Japanese import)

John Fogerty – Blue Moon Swamp

Korn – Untouchables

Morcheeba – Fragment of Freedom

Sarah Brightman – Eden

Ted Nugent – Out of Control (Box Set)

Stevie Ray Vaughan – In the Beginning

Frank Zappa – Strictly Commercial

Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night

Enya – Memory of Trees


3D Home Architext Deluxe

Rogue Spear – Black Thorn

Windows 2000 Server SP2

Unreal Tournament


PC Anywhere 10.5

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000

Photodeluxe 4.0

Photoshop 7

Star Trek: Armada

Close Combat 4

Quark Xpress 5.0

Microsoft Office XP


Lilo and Stitch

Minority Report


The Hurricane

Dark Side of the Rainbow (cult film)

Dark City

Bourne Identity

National Lampoon’s Van Wilder

Can bootleg video

Panama Deception (documentary)


Fritz the Cat (miscellaneous cartoons)

Stickmen (billiards documentary)

To Kill a Mockingbird

Kevin and Perry Go Large (UK teen comedy)

Dog Soldiers (Scifi Channel TV movie)

A Boy and His Dog

The Book of Pooh

The Sum of All Fears


Pink Floyd’s The Wall

Bruce Lee’s Fists of Fury

Mean Streets


It’s the best $10 I’ve ever spent.


    an alternative to giganews that i can recommend to my non-technically inclined friends??? … hmm.

    also: not having to deal with the stupid space-eating way that Forte Agent downloads files?

    it might just be worth it… thx for the heads up.

    that is some *damn* good retention. i think i’ve found a new provider for usenet.

    screaming transfer speed too. 70-135 KBS! ok. i’ll stop littering this page with comments now.

    again: thanks thanks thanks for the heads up.

    hey that’s damn cool, I’ve been wondering what to do since Audiogalaxy gave up the ghost.

    The download speeds are really good, which actually makes me worry that I would use more than 6 gigs a month of download. I used almost all of one gig today.


    If I wasn’t too lazy to figure out the zip tool, would I be using less of the allocated download?

    The ZipManager is more for your convenience than to conserve bandwidth. For example, if you’re downloading 15 tracks of an album or 45 parts of an MPEG, it’s much quicker to just bundle everything up into a single download. You might get a slightly smaller download, but not much, since damned near everything on Usenet is already compressed heavily.

    As a matter of fact, almost every respectable newsgroups service provider offer free access through a web interface these days. Newsfeeds.com has a good one that I’ve been using for years.

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