Peer-to-peer (P2P) BitTorrent client µTorrent has announced that it will now host ads.
Let's be honest here: the overwhelming use for torrenting is to share pirated material. Even so, distributing a software client to share files isn't in and of itself illegal, and µTorrent is one of the most popular on the web.
With over 125 million users per month, the service is estimated to generate somewhere between US$15 and US$20 million in annual revenue. By supporting paid advertisements, this is set to skyrocket.
The ads, µTorrent explained in a blog post, will come in the form of a featured torrent at the top of users' torrent lists in the newest build of the application, releasing sometime within the next few weeks.
Administrator R3tro made a point of reassuring users that their privacy would remain intact.
It doesn't affect your privacy. Of course, you'll want to confirm this for yourself. We encourage you to view all client-to-server communication via a program like wireshark. Like any software, µTorrent has always communicated to a server to check for software updates; now it will also check for offer updates. No personally identifiable information is passed during this communication.
The blog post also mentioned that the move will benefit the artist community using the µTorrent service, in a bid to show the world that torrenting can be used for good by promoting those artists.
Already, µTorrent users are lashing back, with forum members expressing scepticism that the move will be a good one for either them or µTorrent itself, with the response to the post overwhelmingly negative.
What do you think? Is it a good move, or will you be saying goodbye to µTorrent?