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Bittorrent is an amazing protocol, but it seemed like creating a 'Bittorrent' company is like trying to start an "Http" company.



There was one reasonably successful "http" company - Netscape. While most known for their browser, they also had a lot of products for the other end of the connection such as HTTP servers, Commerce servers, proxies etc.


IPO in 16 months then flipping to AOL for $4.2B was more a consequence of the dotcom bubble than an outright success story.


They should have picked one single niche application for BitTorrent and built a killer product around that.


piracy aside PopcornTime showed how powerful P2P can be for media distribution... some kind of sync application could've been it


Updaters/patchers for some popular games (Blizzard stuff, League of Legends, etc.) use P2P methods to reduce hosting requirements when pushing big updates to hundreds of thousands/millions of players.

I'm sure there's other use cases, but I'm not sure what they'd be.


Netflix and Facebook use P2P internally for large file distribution.

The big issue with P2P publicly is privacy. A lot of people don't want other people to know what they are doing.

Imagine for example youtube, or worse pornhub, using P2P.


yea Blizzard jumped on that train a while ago I'm sure it relieves them of so much load


I can't find the link right now but I believe blizzard disabled p2p over a year ago.


Peer-to-peer only ever made sense for popular stuff that people won't pay for. By definition there is little business opportunity in markets where people don't want to pay.


>By definition there is little business opportunity in markets where people don't want to pay.

Counterexample: network TV, radio, facebook.com, gmail.com, pretty much all of the ad-supported web.

>Peer-to-peer only ever made sense for popular stuff that people won't pay for.

Counterexample: Skype (freeium model on a P2P network). The content wasn't "popular" it was private phone conversations and people paid for it.

Counterexample: Bitcoin (runs on a P2P network). People pay fees to miners so that the network relays their transactions.

Counterexample: The internet. A giant P2P inter-network with all sorts of different business relationships. Many of which involve paying someone to send a packet that is only meaningful to a particular party.


in most of those examples people are paying by watching ads.


I remember Blizzard using peer-to-peer to update their games. Any large download shared by many people could be a good use case.


For a long time, Spotify used P2P to distribute music, and Skype used P2P to break through NAT. Both of those dropped it though.


Yeah. The article is like "everyone at BitTorrent Inc said Cohen is brilliant, so he's brilliant". BitTorrent is a shit way to move files that only makes sense if your users are willing to subsidise your bandwidth for you. If you look at how big files are moved on the net in practice it's all professional CDNs. BitTorrent is hardly used outside piracy.


From the article:

>170 million people used the protocol every month, according to the company’s website. Facebook and Twitter use it to distribute updates to their servers. Florida State University has used it to distribute large scientific datasets to its researchers. Blizzard Entertainment has used BitTorrent to let players download World of Warcraft. The company’s site boasts that the protocol moves as much as 40 percent of the world’s Internet traffic each day.

Doesn't sound like a "shit protocol that only pirates use" to me.


BitTorrent is a shit way to move files

How so? As far as I know it's actually pretty efficient.

If you look at how big files are moved on the net in practice it's all professional CDNs. BitTorrent is hardly used outside piracy.

And when the first CDN appeared, they were also hardly used. That approach would disqualify any business except copycats.


Not only efficient, but also supports file integrity, resuming, parallelization, etc. It's a fantastic protocol.


Exactly - I live in an area where lots of people have 50+ Mb symmetric connections, and BitTorrent gave us all a dream that we could all use those connections without everything having to be transferred over the backbone.


It sounds like they tried that multiple times and they all failed.


I'm not sure about that. A lot of what I've read about sounds like they were chasing Netflix with a lot of cash but no idea how to compete.

The article mentions that big cos are using BitTorrent for cluster upgrades. There's a lot of cash in enterprise networking. BitTorrent is basically a large blob multicast protocol.

BitTorrent Sync was a decent product too. What would have happened had they put $30 mil behind a push to take sync from Dropbox and Box instead of sidelining it? Seems like they spun out the best contender they had. It'd be funny if the spinoff succeeds.


It could be the classic situation of FOSS. They had a product people would've paid for if sold on its advantages. They gave it away for free. It got picked up by tons of freeloaders. With free version out & good enough, they weren't able to figure out how to make money off it. Messed themselves up.


Isn't that what ThePirateBay.org did?


They didn't really try to control the protocol development like BitTorrent did though. They didn't even have their own client.




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