Peer-to-Peer Pressure

  |  January 9, 2001   |  Comments

With the peer-to-peer movement being driven underground, it's no longer a place for kids or naove users. Just say no to fear and loathing.

Napster proved that broadband requires new business models that both consumers and content providers can live with.

Over the weekend, I decided to test my thesis by checking out the anarchic alternative -- a host of Gnutella clones now coming to market -- and the efforts of industry and government to squelch them.

Going in, I thought that the technology would have a hard time. Most people are ethical. They don't want to cheat anyone. Most people don't want to put their freedom at risk for a song, either.

And right now the peer-to-peer movement is marked by fear and loathing.

But first, the good news.

A host of Gnutella replacements is out there. Some have Gnutella-like names, such as Gnotella, Gnucleus, and Newtella. Others are building their own brands, such as BearShare, FURI, and LimeWire. There are clients specifically for the Macintosh, such as Mactella, clients for Linux, such as gnut, and clients written in Java (FURI and LimeWire are of this type).

I loaded several of these clients and enjoyed BearShare the most. It's fun seeing where the hosts are, and I even learned what the Estonian flag looks like. The program also has a "monitor" function so you can see what people are searching for as they enter their search terms.

The peer-to-peer movement also has several excellent news sites with access to programs, including Marc Molinaro's Gnutella News and Chris Hedgecock's Zeropaid. Gnutella News tends to boost the Gnutella concept pretty hard, while Zeropaid is a big fan of Vincent Falco's BearShare.

Zeropaid's BearShare connection is currently paying off in a number of newsbreaks that show the dark and fearful side of the technology. Through this link, Zeropaid reported on how most versions of Windows cripple file sharing and how ISPs that use their own software for dial-up networking cripple peer-to-peer. Zeropaid also reported on Copyright.Net, which is designed to spot copyright violations as they happen and get Gnutella users kicked off their ISPs before they can get offline.

As I said, I tried several of these programs, and the pressure has changed a lot about how peer-to-peer works. Refused and timed-out connections are now common. Most nodes on the network during the weekend seem to be modems. As many as one-third of the searchers monitored by BearShare are for pornographic images or film clips, not music. And I still can't get an MP3 version of the "Iron Chef" theme.

I drew several conclusions from all my testing. When technology is driven underground, everyone has to watch his or her back. Peer-to-peer is no longer a place for kids or naove users. For now the music industry has succeeded in its goal of putting this genie back in the bottle.

But in doing so, the industry has also put the Internet's development on hold. The recorded music industry remains healthy, despite reports to the contrary. Its growth seems driven more by megahits and teens (the audience least likely to use peer-to-peer) than ever before.

In other words, there's little reason for the industry to change. And the problem doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon.

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dana Blankenhorn

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business reporter for more than 20 years. He has written parts of five books and currently contributes to Advertising Age, Business Marketing, NetMarketing, the Chicago Tribune, Boardwatch, CLEC Magazine, and other publications. His own newsletter, A-Clue.Com, is published weekly.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

Jobs

    • Interactive Product Manager
      Interactive Product Manager (Western Governors University) - Salt Lake CityWestern Governors University, one of the 20 largest universities...
    • SEO Senior Analyst
      SEO Senior Analyst (University of Phoenix (Apollo Education Group)) - San FranciscoSEO Senior Analyst   Position Summary...
    • SEM & Biddable Media Manager
      SEM & Biddable Media Manager (Kepler Group LLC) - New YorkAs an Optimization & Innovation Manager at Kepler Group, you will be on the bleeding...