Bittorrent paddles back, makes uTorrent in-content ads optional

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 15, 2012
Updated • Dec 2, 2012
File Sharing, Internet

Good news for users of the popular Bittorrent client uTorrent who did not like the decision to add in-content advertisement to the program. The initial plan of the company was to add the ads to a line at the top of the client just on top of the regular torrents there.

And while that is not off the table, the company today announced that it will make the feature optional. Advertisement will still show up in the client once you upgrade it to a version that includes the ad module, but users who do not like the ads can turn them off in the client. The reason for not going down the opt-in route for advertisements should be obvious: barely anyone would use the option.

User backlash after the announcement this Sunday was intense, and many mentioned that they would uninstall uTorrent to switch to a different Bittorrent client that would not force ads upon them. Making advertisements opt-out is a compromise between displaying ads to generate additional revenue from the client, and pleasing long-time users who dislike the addition of ads to the client, on top of bundling uTorrent installations and upgrades with adware and selling uTorrent Plus, a commercial version of the client with extra features.

According to the announcement, the development and marketing team discussed whether an opt-out for the built-in advertisements should be added to the client. Initially an opt-out does not seem to have been favored by the decision makers, but after the community reaction, the team decided to implement the opt-out feature.

We hear all of your concerns and comments. And from the very first post, I said we would listen and adjust as needed.

Response: This being an experiment, we’ve previously discussed whether or not to provide an offer opt-out. Given your feedback, we’ve decided to go ahead with this in the upcoming version. Each of you will have the opportunity to see and experience offers for yourselves. If you don’t like what you see, simply opt out entirely.

The same announcement is also addressing the "bloat" in recent versions of uTorrent. According to the announcement, the last six months have been about bringing improvements to the client, existing features and bug fixes, and not new features. For the near future, no new feature additions are planned. The developers in fact will remove the apps feature that has not been popular at all, and especially not with the veteran community.

Beyond this, we hear the calls among many of you for a µ that is smaller and meaner than the current µ. Something like 1.6, 2.0 or similar. Over the past year, we’ve discussed various paths to getting there and are taking this request seriously.

Even better, the developers are looking at possible options to bring the client back to its former leaner and smaller self. While that is currently just a train of thought, it will be interesting to see how this will turn out.


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  1. New Tixati User said on August 16, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    This is just one more reason, in a long list of reasons, not to use or trust utorrent. I switched to Tixati and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good, stable, simple, ad-ware free and spyware free client.

    Keep in mind that those ads are also tracking you. Do you like being monitored and tracked? I don’t

  2. Rigged said on August 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    If they had chosen to not add an opt-out option I would have just removed them with Ad Muncher anyway.

    so no big deal either way. ;p

  3. Marc said on August 16, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Excellent news, and thumbs up to BitTorrent Inc!!
    I was starting to crave about recent moves from if you ask me my most relevant software uTorrent and Firefox. This bring back optimism in line, and my support of the company (but we will see).
    @Roman ShaRP I’m hoping that uTorrent (BiTorrent) is actually a serious company ;)
    And as such we will see. One last remark, this has been a long fall, and what I really dislike is that it has taken to the critical point in order to realize it. Why didn’t for example BitTorrent Inc or uTorrent implement or addressed this sensible issue earlier? which is as well the problem of not updating, as this isn’t fixed in earlier versions – unless you manually remove all those useless trackers. Should it only act once a full media coverage about the issue is on place? These ones have been just the top of the Iceberg. The long bloating process has been the main issue here. Other ones are some other minor but bothering UI changes – UI should be at the service of functionality, and as such be very reasoned. But I remember once I read a reply from a Mod or a Dev that stated in regard of some users complains regarding disminished space (very specific issue), and he replied something like “I just love it”. No one can’t argue or discuss like that. That becomes UI-non sense. Nevertheless most UI introduced in version starting from 2.x with the new theme – that didn’t have a warm welcomed – Sometimes I think Devs just try to push a new theme for new major versions in other to say something like “revamped interface” in the changelog – were mostly customizable via themes for example there was an 1.8 theme and other advanced settings that were added in later versions. Still there are issues that apparently prevent some users from
    upgrading as well (examples from some forums post): the increased space between torrents in the torrents view; great for users that kept a small number of torrents; terrible for users that manage an increasing number or run uTorrent from a Netbook with limited space for example. Just as many other tweaks line spacing could be added to the skin customization format btskin.

  4. Ultrabook said on August 16, 2012 at 7:11 am

    you can’t really please everybody. I’ve been doing software development for the past 15 years and it’s hard for us independent developers to enforce this kind of advertising to users. I just hope the users on the other hand should understand the ads are the source of income of the developers.

    1. Roman ShaRP said on August 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

      I can’t tell for all, but personally for me ads is something that wastes my time/resources and bugs my brain (especially those pesky blinking animated ones).

      It’s very hard to believe that you have to enjoy/like things bugging your brain for somebody to get income. Better to look for some options which doesn’t bug you.

  5. Nana said on August 16, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Pirates don’t like ads, I never would have guessed

    1. Roman ShaRP said on August 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

      But who likes them? In all cases I know, watching ads is demanded like ransom — “Pay or else watch ads”.

      I never heard about people paying to watch ads, free version without them and paid version with. Did you?

  6. Roman ShaRP said on August 16, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Good news, but I’m going to wait until they walk the walk, not only talk the talk.

    So staying on 2.2.X.

  7. Zeus said on August 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    In this day and age, why would anyone use adware? It’s SO 1990s.

    1. Marc said on August 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

      /del second ‘actually’

    2. Roman ShaRP said on August 16, 2012 at 1:08 am

      Craving to monetize and/or boost revenue, many embed ads in their products. And it not 1990s: there were less connected people in 1990, so less ads could be served.

      Popular software Skype now includes damn ads — but because of it’s huge user base, role in contemporary business and no really good and popular alternative many have no choice but use it with ads.

      1. Marc said on August 16, 2012 at 10:55 am

        Skype actually is both a client and a service. You can use Skype’s Pidgin plugin, and don’t use Skype’s client at all.
        Disabling Ads via Tools>…>Messages & Alerts>Promotions does get rid of Conversation Ads?

      2. Roman ShaRP said on August 16, 2012 at 9:45 am

        Yes, Gmail is a service too, but do we see a progress in offline clients for Gmail? It seems, no. So, Gmail ads are easy to get rid off or not that bugging?

      3. Zeus said on August 16, 2012 at 5:55 am

        “no really good and popular alternative”

        You hit the nail on the head. Skype is a *service*. uTorrent is just one of many bittorrent clients. With dozens of free alternatives, the thing that initially set uTorrent apart — its small filesize and efficient coding — is growing increasingly hard to appreciate.

        People put up with ads on Skype for the same reason they put up with ads on Gmail: it’s a service, not a client. If Thunderbird started running ads, people would laugh and switch to one of the many free email clients out there. If uTorrent *forced* ads on users, they’d do the same.

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