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uTorrent Adds "Featured Torrents" Ads — With No Opt Out (Yet) 399

Posted by timothy
from the every-business-syndrome dept.
wrekkuh writes "BitTorrent, Inc, the company who owns the freeware (but closed-source) BitTorrent client uTorrent, has announced that it will be updating its popular client with 'Featured Torrents.' In a post on uTorrent's forum, the company explained, 'This featured torrent space will be used to offer a variety of different types of content. We are working towards bringing you offers that are relevant to you. This means films, games, music, software ... basically anything that you will find interesting.' In the Q&A portion of their announcement, the company adds 'There is no way to turn in-client offers off.* We will pay attention to feedback, and may change this in the future.' (*The Plus version of the BitTorrent client does not include these ads)."
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uTorrent Adds "Featured Torrents" Ads — With No Opt Out (Yet)

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  • Not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nanoflower (1077145) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:28AM (#40963527)
    This isn't really surprising. It's one reason I never upgraded to the latest version when they started tossing in the kitchen sink instead of sticking with just being a great bittorrent client.
    • Re:Not surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12, 2012 @09:24AM (#40963751)

      I love Slashdot, but all the comments below are pretty standard bashing we've come to expect. My first thought was actually another direction: This could actually provide more legitimacy to the protocol. Any company showing you can use the medium for legal, profit-generating activities is a Good Thing in my book. Doubly so if if it's the founders.

      • by Emetophobe (878584) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:20PM (#40965021)

        I love Slashdot, but all the comments below are pretty standard bashing we've come to expect.

        Have you even used uTorrent recently? 5 years ago you didn't even need to install uTorrent, the executable was the entire program. It was extremely lightweight and fast.
        Now they display ads everywhere, you have to uncheck multiple toolbars and crapware in the installer, and its bloated (I don't need a media player built into my torrent client).

        This could actually provide more legitimacy to the protocol.

        How does putting toolbars in the installer and displaying ads all over your product provide legitimacy? It's just developers trying to cash in.

        It's Winamp all over again. The developers made a product that people liked, got bought out, and the new overlords monetised it and ruined it.

    • by nashv (1479253)

      Exactly. The very day they made a bog box appear in the UI advertising their premium 'Plus' version, I guessed the route it was going and ditched it for : Deluge [deluge-torrent.org].

    • In my case, it's why I've never upgraded beyond the 1.84.1644 version. Does exactly what I need w/o all the crap being added to all the other clients. So Sorry but I don't need my bt client also working as a media player, irc client, skype client or anything more then a bt client and it's that reason I don't use Opera.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:30AM (#40963533)

    I dropped Azererus and Ares like a ton of bricks when they pulled this. Sad, because uTorrent was always awesome.

    What alternatives do you suggest?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:33AM (#40963543)

      Use rtorrent in linux. It is a terminal torrent program that has long since been the best torrent client, but it has no pretty GUI for people who think you have to click on things.

      • Since rtorrent is a CLI program it can be run unattended in a screen instance instead of cluttering your taskbar/tray/what-have-you.
        rtorrent also has Windows binaries available for download and can be installed on OS X via MacPorts.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        Yeah this. Better yet if you're a windows user, get some virtualization software - virtual box and the like. Make yourself a linux virtual machine, download your stuff there using rtorrent, swap your stuff over to windows to use it...
      • by Hatta (162192)

        Rtorrent can be controlled by XMLRPC, so people have written web front ends to it. So if you like a clicky GUI, you can use your browser. RUTorrent [google.com] is probably the best one going.

    • by darkHanzz (2579493) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:35AM (#40963547) Journal
      Transmission is nice for small servers (it has a web-interface) qBittorrent is good for the laptop/desktops
    • by Shikaku (1129753) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:44AM (#40963587)

      Deluge or (Mac/Linux/BSD only) Transmission

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by NemosomeN (670035)
        Ditch torrents entirely. Usenet is much, much better, faster, and is really quite cheap. It is also completely legal for the downloader, though the moral implications are identical to torrenting. SABnzbd+ is fantastic.
        • by Nimey (114278) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:16PM (#40964581) Homepage Journal

          As an old Usenetter, fuck you.

          • by NemosomeN (670035)
            Anyone who subscribes to a usenet provider because of my comment is likely to never post a single thing, and therefore not impact you one bit.
        • by webheaded (997188)
          Usenet doesn't always have everything. Torrents are more diverse than Usenet and you occasionally have to resort to them to get what you want. So while you're entirely right that Usenet is better in almost all aspects, you will have to use torrents occasionally.
          • by NemosomeN (670035)
            I'll take 95% of the variety and 0% of the liability, seems an apt tradeoff. And at least with Usenet, it's either there or it's not. I don't have to deal with 1 seed on an obscure movie that started seeding two years ago. I get full speed.
    • by vlm (69642)

      What alternatives do you suggest?

      Since the very first time I downloaded a torrent I've always used a command line downloader in a screen session. Now I use bittornado. I tried torrentflux but it seemed clunky compared to my screen solution. GUI seems a weird way to do it... your desktop has to stay logged in and powered up for days, maybe weeks, or you have to VNC to your server?

      A quick apt-cache search torrent results in :
      bittornado
      ctorrent
      deluge
      ktorrent
      rtorrent
      torrentflux
      unworkable

      torrent clients seem to be in the position where mp3 p

    • by allo (1728082)

      bitflu is nice.

    • What alternatives do you suggest?

      I'm interested in this, too. Sure, I could just continue using uTorrent without updating it, nor would the ads really bother me anyways since I don't keep the window open, but if there's anything leaner than uTorrent then I see no reason to keep using it. My needs are as follow: must run on Windows, must support IP-blocklists, must allow me to force encryption on and reject all unencrypted connections, and must allow me to quickly adjust speed limits. So far all the commenters are only suggesting Linux-clie

      • by number11 (129686)

        What alternatives do you suggest?

        I'm interested in this, too. Sure, I could just continue using uTorrent without updating it, nor would the ads really bother me anyways since I don't keep the window open, but if there's anything leaner than uTorrent then I see no reason to keep using it. My needs are as follow: must run on Windows, must support IP-blocklists, must allow me to force encryption on and reject all unencrypted connections, and must allow me to quickly adjust speed limits.

        qBittorrent [sourceforge.net]. I switched to that when uTorrent started getting funky. It's the closest one I could find to what uTorrent used to be. It's cross-platform (Win/Linux/OSX/OS2/BSD), OSS, and meets all your criteria. (Until I started looking, I hadn't realized that it had native support for blocklists, I've been using PeerBlock for that.)

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      Azureus still has the "classic interface"

      ...it's just buried... deeply. Very deeply. As in, I have to google to figure out how to turn it on because it's not immediately obvious how to do it from the GUI. Once you turn off all the "Vuze" cruft, Azureus still makes for a very good client.

      I'm using Deluge to great effect, moreso since I finally setup an atom-based file server and you can log in to it remotely from another pc/laptop, either through the binary client, or the web interface. delug [deluge-torrent.org]

    • by nashv (1479253)

      Since I use Windows and Linux, I prefer Deluge [deluge-torrent.org].

    • by bjourne (1034822)
      Come on.. Do you really think it is so bad that they are asking for some compension for, in your own words, their "awesome" software? If you can't stomach the ads, the premium version retails for $24.95. Damn cheapskates.
    • by porjo (964384)
      qBittorrent - open source, regular updates, Win/Mac/Linux
    • I switched to qBittorrent [qbittorrent.org]. It's open source, uses Qt4, and it looks similar to older versions of uTorrent.

    • The Tixati bittorrent client is excellent. Free, no ads or tool bars. Definitely worth checking out.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:30AM (#40963535)

    They're basically copying what YouTube and Twitter are doing, selling a "featured content" slot.

    • by penix1 (722987) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @10:12AM (#40963957) Homepage

      They're basically copying what YouTube and Twitter are doing, selling a "featured content" slot.

      Which is one reason not to use either of those if you don't want to be profiled and have ads targeting you. From TFS...

      the company explained, 'This featured torrent space will be used to offer a variety of different types of content. We are working towards bringing you offers that are relevant to you.'

      The only way to do that is to record all of your activity on bittorrent. Once they record that, the next step will be to hand it over to the government / media industry attorneys for later prosecution.

  • MAXTorrent - for all your rss and media suggestion needs!
    how can you be very tiny and have a banner fetcher/shower(I presume some html component)?

    or how about very tiny something that does. sure it's tiny +, but still could just brand it as torrent plus.
    "Torrent Plus
    Play it Safe. Play it Now. Play it Anywhere.
    Protect your computer with integrated antivirus
    Get the codecs you need to enjoy HD video
    Easily move files to your

    • I think Vuze would challenge that title. It comes with a DLNA media server turned on out of the box. (FWIW, uTorrent is also called just "BitTorrent" these days, to be annoying and namespace-polluting.)
  • this bloat won't be in the pirate version of Torrent, will it?
  • by gatkinso (15975) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:41AM (#40963565)

    Interesting business model.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by markdavis (642305)

      Exactly. I was going to post the exact same thing. Too bad I don't have mod points right now.

      I find it very ironic that BitTorrent Inc wants to make money using ads off essentially being an illegal distributor of mostly copyrighted content to those mostly illegally downloading copyrighted content, much of which are shows in which ads have been stripped out of them.

    • That's not the only example of how downloading pirated content has started to show various perverted business models. When first TPB blocks were put into action here in Finland, many people started paying for a cheap VPN to circumvent the block, thus paying again for the pirated material.
    • by Nyder (754090) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @10:13AM (#40963959) Journal

      Interesting business model.

      Okay, first off, downloading copyrighted material isn't stealing.

      Second, while a lot of piracy happens using bittorrent, a LOT of legal businesses use it also. For example, The Internet Archive is now online via Bit Torrent. http://bt1.archive.org/hotlist.php [archive.org]

      • by Havenwar (867124)

        Might also want to mention WoW patches, which is probably one of the largest legitimate uses of bit-torrent today. Well, aside perhaps from linux-isos, but the most WELL KNOWN legitimate use.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by markdavis (642305)

          Indeed there are legit uses for torrents. But if you add it all up, I bet 99.5+% of torrent traffic is the [illegal] exchange of copyrighted, commercial video, music, and software (and in that order, by volume).

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)

      Pirates spend more on media than non-pirates.

    • Not all uses of it infringe upon copyright, and they can't help that their software is sometimes 'misused.' Honestly, I guess no one can ever have advertisements simply because something that their users do might be illegal.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:41AM (#40963569) Homepage

    You know they dont point a gun at you and force you to upgrade to get the ad's. I'm still running the ad-free older version and it works great.
    If you dont like ad's dont upgrade.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      New users will end up with the new version. Also they can, via EULA, forbid you to use older versions. Or even make them stop working.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        "forbid you to use older versions."
        EULAS have no power at all. Who cares. I'll be giving out the older version to friends and you can find the old versions all over the place. in fact it's easier now because of their tactics.

  • Surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mike Mentalist (544984) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:42AM (#40963571) Homepage

    I had an odd experience on the uTorrent forums recently.

    I uploaded my own books to some torrent sites, and posted links to them. From the people on Demonoid, Pirate Bay, ISOHunt, and 4Chan, I got friendly and encouraging replies.

    The admins on the uTorrent forum deleted the thread, and banned my account, saying that they didn't want spamming scum like me.

    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      When you say "your own books", do you mean books you wrote yourself, that you hold copyright on?

      This sounds like a good story worth an article.

      • Yup, I'm an indie author, and I uploaded my own books to the torrent sites.

        Before I made the post, I read the uTorrent forum rules, and made sure the images were small, etc.

        I was quite shocked when I saw the message saying the thread was deleted!

    • Re:Surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The Mighty Buzzard (878441) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @10:18AM (#40963991)
      That's pretty much expected given that the uTorrent forums aren't for file sharing but for discussion of the client. By strict definition, you were spamming.
      • Maybe I'm old school, but in my books spamming means posting unwanted advertisements. By my definition, he possibly was sending an offtopic message.
        • by Drathos (1092)

          unwanted advertisement

          To the uTorrent forums, that's exactly what it was.

        • Advertising is promoting a product, yeah? Sounds pretty much exactly like what he did, even if said product was at the price of $0.
    • Re:Surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wild_quinine (998562) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:06PM (#40964913) Homepage

      I had an odd experience on the uTorrent forums recently.

      I uploaded my own books to some torrent sites, and posted links to them. From the people on Demonoid, Pirate Bay, ISOHunt, and 4Chan, I got friendly and encouraging replies.

      When I finally got around to uploading my Creative Commons licensed book to usenet, and then noted this on a popular usenet index, it was also deleted as spam.

      Apparently, this was because it was a dupe. Sure enough I did a search and there it was. The previous poster beat me to it by several weeks. The best part was that the copy that was already uploaded was better than mine. It included additional information and metadata (including a blurb!) that made it more useful to import into ebook libraries.

      Fucking pirates, and their continually superior products.

  • Why not ? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Yvanhoe (564877) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:43AM (#40963585) Journal
    Why not ? Bittorrent is a great company, I am grateful to them for creating and opening their protocol. Obviously, I won't use their official client as I am allergic to advertisement, but if they manage to find clients for this kind of things and have a cash flow to finance R&D in bittorrent, kudos to them !
    • Re:Why not ? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12, 2012 @09:09AM (#40963689)

      You're grateful to Bram Cohen. He designed the protocol and created the original client in 2001, and formed BitTorrent, Inc. with two other people in 2004. (They presumably wanted to monetise it.) The protocol has not really changed much since 2003, apart from some extensions such as DHT trackers and peer exchange for more reliable swarming. And neither of them originated from that company.

      The company AFAIK hasn't done pretty much anything noteworthy apart from purchasing uTorrent in 2007 and rebranding it.

  • by Stirling Newberry (848268) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:46AM (#40963605) Homepage Journal
    between free as in beer, and free as in speech.

    You don't know what's actually in the free beer, and by the time you get it, you can't take the mouse droppings out.

  • by allo (1728082)

    slow news day?

  • by dirk (87083) <dirk@one.net> on Sunday August 12, 2012 @10:00AM (#40963903) Homepage

    I see this as a good thing. First, as long as the ads aren't obnoxious, it will get a little money for the uTorrent team. Second, it will help encourage legitimate use of torrents. One of the knock on torrents and why they are so often throttled and blocked is that they are a tool for piracy. While there are currently legitimate uses, I would suspect that 95% or more of usage is for piracy. If these ads expose more people to legitimate torrent content and help get the legitimate use up, that is a good thing all around.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      I see this as a good thing. First, as long as the ads aren't obnoxious, it will get a little money for the uTorrent team. Second, it will help encourage legitimate use of torrents. One of the knock on torrents and why they are so often throttled and blocked is that they are a tool for piracy. While there are currently legitimate uses, I would suspect that 95% or more of usage is for piracy. If these ads expose more people to legitimate torrent content and help get the legitimate use up, that is a good thing all around.

      First off, how do the Ads make them money? click thru or by people viewing them?

      And um, I'm 100% sure you are just throwing out 95% like you are an expert. Are you? No?

      STFU.

  • Torrent it used to be called, lightweight and fast and non-intrusive. That's why I started using it, and probably many others as well. As it got more bloated I could have abandoned it, but then I've got more than a few extra gigabytes of ram these days and my cpu doesn't exactly hiccup at any extra work it does, so... I don't really care it's grown a bit. It's still within my comfort zone just for being simple and doing what I need done.

    So they're going to start showing sponsored content now? Fine with me.

  • by Golden_Rider (137548) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @10:56AM (#40964181)

    Devs create small, easy to use program which does the one job it was designed to do very well.
    Lots of people start using the program because it is good and lightweight and not annoying.
    Devs think "oh, our program is very good, but we cannot simply leave it as it is, we need to have MORE FEATURES".
    More features get put in, making users angry, because they use the program for its ONE job it initially was designed to do, not for anything else, because they already have OTHER programs which do those jobs better anyway.
    Devs think "oh, time to make some money".
    Ads get put in, plus "oh you can buy the premium version".
    Users leave.

    First Azureus, which transformed from a simple bittorrent client to a "your personal multimedia database/video streaming/community" monstrosity called "Vuze". Now uTorrent goes down the same road, from a small, lightweight "I can only download and nothing else and that is my whole selling point" bittorrent client to a "you can stream video and organize your multimedia experience for all your mobile gadgets" monster and now they add advertising on top of it, but oh, you can buy the premium version without advertising.

    Thanks, but no. I'll just move on to another free and lightweight bittorrent client, because that's why I came from Azureus(Vuze) to uTorrent in the first place. But now you turned into Vuze, too. It's not as if there aren't any other clients around, uTorrent really does not have any distinguishing features, so I just kept using it our of pure laziness to install something else and put up with the added bloat instead. But when devs really think their bittorrent client is awesome enough to make users put up with advertising, it's time to move on.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sometimes the developers want to move out the the parents basement, sometime the parents want them out. They have devoted a considerable amount of time developing a product and so attempt to monetize it. Seems reasonable to me.

      The lazy will stay, those willing to pay will stay and although you don't want extra services that have to be paid for the existing services are quite poor and so success in that market is quite possible and those that want that will stay.

      I'm thinking they might not miss you when you

      • Sometimes the developers want to move out the the parents basement, sometime the parents want them out. They have devoted a considerable amount of time developing a product and so attempt to monetize it. Seems reasonable to me.

        I only have problems when devs write a small lightweight program for one specific function (downloading files) and then, when the program does that job perfectly fine and does not really need improvement except for bugfixes, they add on function after function, hire another dev or two to write more bloat and then one day they post on their website "sorry people, writing all that stuff costs money, so we now have to put advertising into our program". The program was fine, there was no need to add more functi

  • Unless they have categories for "warez" and "pr0n", I can guarantee that the feature results are completely irrelevant for what 95% of the world uses bitTorrent for.

  • Disabled automatic updates. Not sure what the point is anyway, the last few updates seem to have added useless bloat, all the important functions have been around a while: scheduling, bandwidth controls, downloading individual files etc.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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