The Pirate Bay's New Business Model

Posted: Jul 17 2009, 12:35pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 3:23pm CDT , in Technology News


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Back when the news first broke that The Pirate Bay had been sold to the Swedish-owned Gaming Factory we wondered just how they intended to make TPB profitable. The whole reason that the Bay routinely sees tens of millions of views every day is because it is the largest torrent site on the Internet. Next to no one visits that website when they aren't looking to steal media.

Now the Gaming Factory has disclosed their business plan. They're going to turn the Bay into a paid subscription site and use the revenue from those subscriptions to pay content providers. Users will be able to subsidize their fee by dedicating certain portions of their computing power to the Bay. As Gaming Factory describes it,

"In short, the more computer resources the user contributes to The Pirate Bay, the more his content consumption is subsidized," Rosso wrote. The Pirate Bay will also charge a small mothly fee to its users; however, that fee can be reduced depending on how much of your own computing resources you contribute to The Pirate Bay.”

I have to admit I was surprised by how elegant and sensible Gaming Factory's new plan sounds. Unfortunately, there's almost no chance it will work. As far as I've been able to see content providers aren't exactly lining up to let TPB host their media. I've no doubt they'll get some big providers to sign on, but there's no way they'll be able to draw in as wide a selection of torrents legally as they can illegally.

Add that to the fact that the vast majority of TPB visitors aren't going to be willing to pay a subscription fee for something they can get for free right now, and you've got a plan that's doomed to fail. People who pirate media don't -want- to pay for it, especially if the service they pay for won't offer a fraction of the selection they're enjoying now. The Bay isn't necessarily doomed to die, but it'll be lucky to keep even a fraction of its current traffic.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/5" rel="author">Robert Evans</a>
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