BitTorrent Inc. recently announced in a post on the uTorrent forums that its popular torrent client, uTorrent, will now be supported by advertisements. The torrent client has been periodically adding features through updates. The post states that the next version of uTorrent will have advertisements in the form of “featured torrents” at the top of the torrent list. The ads can’t be done away with, but “users have the option to click away individual ads”.
“You are all very familiar with how we have paid the bills so far. These new changes mark our next step towards finding that difficult balance between keeping our lights on and providing a positive user experience. This new build will display a featured torrent at the top of your torrent list. This featured torrent space will be used to offer a variety of different types of content,” the post on the uTorrent forum reads.
The new version will have a narrow rectangle below the toolbar, which will present offers to users. The company will also target users by displaying 'relevant' ads. “We will pursue making offers that are targeted and interesting to our users,” the post states. The TorrentFreak reports that as per previous communication with BitTorrent, “people in different geographical locations will see different content. This means that uTorrent will use your IP-address to lookup where you are. Other than that, the company says that users’ privacy is guaranteed”.
The featured torrents would have films, games, software, music and other content. “We may not get it right on the first try but we will continue to improve our efforts based on your feedback,” it adds.
uTorrent has gone through significant changes since it was acquired by BitTorrent in 2006. The original uTorrent was a minimalist, resource-friendly application for downloading torrents. You can now stream and play music and videos in torrents within the client itself, in addition to a host of new features. The heavy evolution also meant that bug fixes were dished out almost every fortnight, leading to a lot of user complaints. This has, nevertheless, not slowed down the growth in the number of users. In addition to being ad-supported, the new version will have bug fixes, performance enhancements and user-requested features.
Ad-supported torrent clients are nothing new, but uTorrent looks set to rake in quite a lot of dough with its current user base of 125 million. TorrentFreak reported that BitTorrent Inc currently makes about $15 to $20 million annually, and is backed by millions in venture capital. As of now, uTorrent earns most of its revenue through an optional browser toolbar.
The post also states that users of the paid version, uTorrent Plus, won’t have to endure any advertisements, which is quite obvious.