Over the weekend we made an announcement in our forums about some improvements coming to µTorrent and BitTorrent, including a new idea we’re experimenting with; in-client featured torrents that will include offers from game and software developers, as well as BitTorrent Bundles from the artists and filmmakers we partner with. We want to thank all of you for your feedback since then – your honest input is critical to µTorrent and BitTorrent innovation, and it’s critical to the future of distributed computing. When you talk, we listen. And we wanted to give you an update.
We’ve decided to release the initial version with an opt-out mechanism. Users should have the choice to opt-out, and we will provide them with ways to do so. At this point, everything that’s been said in the press is conjecture. We’d encourage you to try the new client for yourself when it arrives. If you don’t like the offers you see from us, you don’t have to see them. It’s as simple as that.
We want to be clear about our intention. We do not believe in ads-for-ads’-sake. We do not believe in buying revenue by selling out our client. What we do believe in is a sustainable future for content. And so we believe that these improvements to µTorrent and BitTorrent are worth experimenting with.
We’ve been testing offer experiences with users, and testing monetized torrents with DJ Shadow. Both have performed very well, and they’ve reinforced our commitment to building new ways for creators to offer their content to µTorrent and BitTorrent users. As with any test, it is possible we are wrong, and as always we welcome your feedback after seeing and using the product to guide us to the best possible experience.
Opt-in offer experiences also help us bring new levels of investment; not just to the µTorrent client, but also to future iterations of peer-to-peer technology. In other words: experiments like this can help prove to the world that there is a legitimate third way in digital distribution. Experiments like this help us give the distributed technology that we all believe in a fighting chance.
A word on privacy:
Protecting the privacy of our users is one of our guiding principles and something we are unwilling to compromise on. Your privacy when using µTorrent or BitTorrent will remain the same. We are working in-person with groups of users on a daily basis to identify and provide the most relevant products and offers we can, but we are not and cannot track anything you do. You won’t see the types of personalized offers you get from Web sites that track your browsing history. This is not how our technology works. There are no cookies. There are no changes to your privacy in the client. If the ads are not relevant, let us know. That’s the only way we can find out whether you liked them or not.
As we already stated, this initiative will directly help us continue to make improvements to µTorrent that keep more than 90% of our users running the most up-to-date versions of the client, such as reduced memory consumption, improved disk performance, improved µTP security patches and improved stability. It will help us bring µTorrent to new platforms, such as Android, WinRT, not to mention consumer electronics devices such as TVs and digital media adaptors. And it will also help us support initiatives like Torque; enabling new ways for developers to use the BitTorrent protocol inside the web.
We are making these changes so we can continue to make the world-changing technologies our users love, and new ones that will change the world again. We will continue to invest in other decentralized, free, user-controlled p2p systems. And we will continue to work on new protocols in house, such as BitTorrent Live.
We are committed to bringing you the fastest, lightest version of µTorrent we can make. And we are passionate about the idea behind distributed technology. The BitTorrent protocol that has made the Internet a better place for more than a decade. To keep growing this idea, it’s important we keep growing with our user base and improving on what we do. It will take considerable investment on our part to make this kind of Internet a reality and we need the support of our users if we are going to be successful. We look forward to hearing more feedback.