uTorrent client considers ways to make users pay

There will be an option for every budget, but the freeware version will likely be no more.

uTorrent, a popular BitTorrent client, is gearing up to ditch its freeware revenue model and ask users to pay for the software instead.

uTorrent is a client for loading .torrent files and BitTorrent software, which is used to download and share large files online. When the client first launched, the software was minuscule, clean and easy to use. However, as BitTorrent technology surged in popularity, the list of uTorrent users also began to swell.

Now counting over 170 million users on its books, the uTorrent team had to create a revenue model which would keep the development of the client running.

Then came the bloatware, crapware and advertisements which not only annoy users but can slow down systems and tarnishes the reputation of uTorrent as clean, compact software. While these methods kept the software free -- earning the revenue that otherwise uTorrent users would have to generate via payment -- it seems this model remains unsatisfactory for the company.

Last week, a member of the uTorrent team said in a forum post uTorrent has spent the last several months thrashing out other ways to generate revenue without destroying the quality of the uTorrent experience -- in other words, find a means to support the project without relying on bundled software and advertisements.

"We've never been satisfied with this revenue model," the team said. "It requires compromises that detract from a premium user experience. We want to find a model that adds value to our product and our users. We want to find a better way."

Over the next few months, uTorrent will be testing a number of ways to keep the user experience up, but become less reliant on this revenue model. According to the team, paid options will soon be on the horizon, with "options for every budget."

Details are scarce, but it is fair to speculate that different subscription or price models would correlate to bare-bones or enhanced BitTorrent client features. Monthly, yearly or lifetime fees could be on offer, and with so many users, uTorrent has a wide pool in which to generate enough revenue to keep the company going. However, it is not known how much users will be expected for each bundle.

"We've always been at the forefront of innovation for peer-to-peer technology. We are excited to now take on this new and wholly different challenge," the team said.

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