Remember Kazaa? I know, it's been a while. Kazaa used to be one of the most popular P2P applications, until Edonkey and Emule and eventually Bittorrent came along to offer better ways to download media files. And then there was that lawsuit, resulting in an expensive settlement as well as the commitment to stop unlicensed file sharing on its network.

But that didn't stop the owners of Kazaa from trying to cash in on the popular name. Sharman Networks and Brilliant Digital Entertainment have converted Kazaa.com into music download store that essentially resells subscriptions of DRM-protected Medianet (formerly known as Musicnet) music downloads.

Those downloads can only be played with a Windows Media Player, and they come with a pretty hefty price tag: Kazaa charges you about 20 bucks per month for its music service. Just a quick comparison: Rhapsody Unlimited costs $12.99, and Napster.com only charges 5 bucks per month.

So how does Kazaa compete? Through heavy advertising via Google (you might have seen some of their ads on this blog as well), and questionable SEO marketing. Case in point: Brilliant Digital sent out a press release through PRWeb today that touts a new option to share HD home movies. The whole thing doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and in fact the new feature isn't even mentioned on Kazaa.com.

But that's not really why the company invested a few bucks in PR. The great thing about PRWeb is that you can include links in your press releases, and Kazaa's contains multiple links, with terms like "free music download" linking to its website. That's good for Google juice, but bad for people who actually look for free music: Kazaa.com offers its subscribers a free seven day test period, but each downloaded track will stop working soon after you cancel that subscription.

But wait, that's not all. The company also decided to include a really odd endorsement of its product in the press release, presumably to fill the gaps between those SEO links. Here's what they came up with:

"Jonathan James, Web Hacker spoke of the endless possibilities the software provides to the Kazaa community "They are going to come at you like they came at 'tereastarr,'" he said."

And here's what's wrong with that:

Tereastarr was the Kazaa user name of Jamie Thomas, who has just been sentenced to 1.9 million dollars in damages for trading music via Kazaa's former P2P client. She might not feel all that happy about being part of Kazaa's marketing campaign, but one also has to wonder what this endorsement is supposed to say: Subscribe to Kazaa's overpriced service, and you'll get sued anyhow?

The quote itself actually doesn't come from Jonathan James, but from Thomas' defense attorney Joe Sibley, who used it in her trial, according to AP.

So who is Jonathan James? It's obviously a pretty common name, but there probably aren't too many hackers called Jonathan James. In fact, I can only think of one right now. Jonathan Joseph James was conviceted of breaking into Nasa computers in 2000, and eventually committed suicide in 2008.

Whoops. That would have been a major PR blunder for any reputable company. Good thing nobody really remembers Kazaa.

Tags: , ,