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BitTorrent’s Guerilla Marketing Turns Heads

The Recording Industry Association of America has a lot to lose when it comes to online piracy. Since the 1999 introduction of Napster (and the mainstream concept of file-sharing), music sales have dropped from $14.6 billion to $7.7 billion. They report that only 37 percemt of music was legally paid for in 2009. Music is the largest victim of file sharing, but movies, e-books, television shows and software programs are steadily shared online through peer-to-peer clients.

Unfortunately for file sharers, all this is illegal. The NMPA (National Music Publishers Association) released a statement November 2013, that 50 lyric websites will soon be sued and sent out ‘take down notices’ to every resource. File sharing, including lyrics, are against copyright. BitTorrent facilitates the distribution of copyrighted content.

What is BitTorrent?

BitTorrent is a support protocol, or software, that supports peer-to-peer file sharing. The system essentially works as follows: Individuals upload a file to the system. Other clients download the file, and then ‘seed’ it. This relinquishes the burden of the original file transfer on the original uploader. For example, if 1,000 people were simultaneously downloading a file, each individual would subsequently take on a portion of the bandwidth transfer.

BitTorrent has become so popular as a client, that most refer to the act of peer-to-peer sharing in general as BitTorrenting. Many other popular torrent clients including The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentReactor and BitSnoop all practice similar sharing structures.

What is Guerilla Marketing?

Guerilla marketing is a technique that emphasizes smarts and creativity. Often no cost or little cost, this style of marketing is employed in unconventional ways. We’ve highlighted the following examples:

  • Victoria’s Secret designs a Billboard that covers the model’s butt with a QR Code stating ‘Reveal Candice’s Secret.’
  • InterBest placed photos of a large man stripped all throughout a specific city, with the message ‘The sooner you advertise here, the better.’
  • Colgate added their logo on the inside of pizza boxes, suggesting individuals to brush after eating to avoid bad breath.

BitTorrent Gets Dirty with Marketing

Photo of BitTorrent billboards by mlcastle via Flickr

A new guerilla campaign from BitTorrent has billboards across the Bay Area of California. They state ‘your data should belong to the NSA,’ with ‘the NSA’ crossed out and the single word ‘YOU’ written over it.

Identity theft is a major issue, especially after the recent National Security Agency leak spearheaded by Edward Snowden, in which the NSA was revealed to have circumvented encrypted Internet communications. The Washington Post details that he leaked 200,000 classified documents to the media after NSA eavesdropping reports in mid 2013.

Though the ubiquitous nature of the NSA is concerning, Identity Theft Protection seeks to remedy this situation. They provide credit monitoring and other services against bank fraud, credit card fraud and health care theft.

BitTorrent agrees with these sentiments, and is fighting a lack of freedom and a lack of privacy, according to an official blog from the company. They state we have sold out our standards in exchange for perceived convenience. Because the Internet is convenient, we should settle our privacy matters and let servers have their control.

BitTorrent is a source for building community right into the products provided by entertainers. But the NSA leaks, the RIAA pursuits, and the general illegality of the platform are cause for much speculation and concern. Some artists embrace the culture, including Madonna, who just recently released an entire film through BitTorrent exclusively.

Written by Ryan Lum

Ryan Lum is the founder and editor of Creative Guerrilla Marketing. He is passionate about creative marketing, social media and design. Connect with him on LinkedIn,Twitter or Google+

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