Filesharing client uTorrent has quietly announced plans to change the way it pulls in revenue. TorrentFreak reports that the company last week revealed plans to introduce sponsored content into users' torrent lists. Specifically, users will soon start seeing a featured torrent at the top of their torrents list. uTorrent says this spot will be used to offer a variety of different types of content and that the site is working towards "bringing [users] offers that are relevant to [them]."
"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," uTorrent said in an announcement.
"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. 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. We may not get it right on the first try but we will continue to improve our efforts based on your feedback."
TorrentFreak reports that these sponsored torrents promoting content from advertisers will also be used for important updates and to promote artists. What you see will vary depending on your location (determined via your IP). The sponsored torrents cannot be switched off but users will be able to 'click away' individual ads.
It's thought BitTorrent's main motivation for the change is increasing revenue, though TF cites a source that puts annual revenue at somewhere between $15 and $20 million.