You are currently viewing archive for February 2010
02/24 2010 | 12:29 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Leechpack is soft-launching a new service to remotely download files from one-click hosters and torrents sites this week. The site offers similar services as or, but adds sites like Rapidshare and Megaupload to the mix, making it possible to download files from these services without jumping through unnecessary hoops.


Registered users of the service can simply add links to torrents or files hosted on one-click hosters, and Leechpack will automatically start to download the content to its own servers. I tested Leechpack with a number of files from different sources in recent weeks, and sometimes it takes little while until a transfer starts, but transfer speeds generally seemed to be very fast. The same goes for the actual download speeds once you transfer a file to your local hard drive, which would regularly max out my (admittedly not super-fast) DSL connection.


One interesting feature that sets Leechpack apart from its competition is that it automatically tries to find local matches for your content. Just enter the link to a torrent or file, and Leechpack will automatically suggest files that other users of the service have downloaded before, which are immediately added to your library if you're finding what you were looking for. However, that's a big if: Leechpack currently seems to suggest a lot of files that don't really have anything in common with the file you're trying to download.

Leechpack also uses its index of locally stored content to generate lists of recently downloaded files as well as most popular downloads, and it offers its users the option to directly search this index for keywords - a function that will likely improve as more people sign on, but that could also open the service up to huge liabilities. Then again, has offered a similar feature for quite a while now, and it's still in business.

Speaking of business: Leechpack does offer a trial membership, but the service isn't free for regular users: Users have to pay 9.99 € (about $13.50) per month, which gets them 30 GB of traffic for downloads to their own machine as well as 30 GB space on Leechpack's servers.

02/20 2010 | 05:08 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
NBC’s decision to restrict live streaming of the Vancouver Winter Olympics to subscribers of cable, satellite or IPTV services is making many cord cutters scramble. We’ve heard anecdotes from former cable customers flocking to gyms or stop by friends for surprise visits while figure skating and hockey games are on TV. Even current cable customers able to jump through the authentication hoops of NBC’s Olympics may be looking for alternatives. After all, NBC is only streaming some 400 hours of the games in real time and once again reserving key competitions for broadcast TV, with some of them airing while many of us are stuck at work.

Of course, there are also other, slightly less legitimate ways to watch the games online. A number of web sites have been touting for weeks that they’ll carry live streams of the Olympics, and sports fans have been looking to P2P video clients for years to bypass TV pay walls. How easy to use are these services, and how good is the video quality? I decided to find out and give different ways of pirating the Olympics a try. Continue reading on

02/16 2010 | 09:02 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Limewire announced today that it is now distributing a browser toolbar with its client. Limewire is in good company with this: Pretty much all major P2P clients and most torrent sites offer browser toolbars. However, most users aren't really too thrilled about these add-ons, and Limewire's VP of Product Management Jason Herskowitz went into great lengths today on the company's blog to defend the move:

"(A)t LimeWire we have turned away countless companies that have wanted us to bundle software - that while it would have generated revenue for us, provided limited value to you. (...) We believe that we have created a new toolbar that does specifically that… it provides core value to your file-sharing/searching/downloading experience."

So what's the unique value proposition of the Limewire toolbar? Apart from being able to search the web (big deal), it also allows to pass search terms as well as media links to the Limewire client. Say you're visiting a torrent site. Limewire's toolbar will automatically recognize any torrent links on the current page and offer the option to download any of them with Limewire's client.

I'm honestly not quite sure if that's enough to get many people to use the software, but then again, I'm not the target audience. Limewire's toolbar is Windows only. Herskowitz did announce that the company will add some more features in the future without going into specifics, but he hinted that one of the features could be an audio player for media files embedded in the current page.

Useful or not, Limewire is likely to generate some nice extra revenue with the toolbar, which it realized in coperation with IAC's Search engines like Ask tend to pay as much as a dollar per installed toolbar, and the conversion rates are quite high - especially if you make the bundled software opt-out, meaning that users who tend to just click continue without reading anything during the installation will automatically end up with a little less real estate in their browser. And it looks like that's exactly what Limewire did:

"If you don’t want the toolbar, just deselect the checkbox and we won’t install or change any of your default browser settings."

02/10 2010 | 05:03 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
Norway’s largest ISP prevailed in court once again this week, with the country’s High Court court ruling that Telenor won’t have to block access to The Pirate Bay’s website, according to a report from Norway’s Computerworld.

The decision comes after record labels and other rights holders had threatened Telenor with a lawsuit last spring if the ISP wouldn’t block the Bay’s site. Telenor refused, and the music rights association TONO sued, only to lose in court in November, and eventually file an appeal in December. Continue reading on

02/09 2010 | 02:46 PM
Posted by: Janko Roettgers
P2P is responsible for 19 percent of the traffic on global mobile data networks, according to a new report from network management vendor Allot Communications that my colleague Stacey Higginbotham is covering in depth over at Just for comparison's sake: YouTube is causing 10 percent of the traffic on those networks, and actually 32 percent of all HTTP-based streaming traffic.

Does that mean that the blame game for congested 3G networks will finally shift from P2P to, well, everyone else? Not quite. From the company's press release:

"P2P is the single largest factor leading to cell congestion which accounts for 34% of bandwidth utilization in the top 5% of cells."

In other words: Areas that see a lot of mobile data traffic also see much more mobile P2P than the rest of the world.

mobile p2p around the world

The report itself also looks at how P2P and other forms of traffic are developing all around the world, and there's one interesting tidbit in this comparison: Turns out that mobile P2P is not just the strongest in Asia (23 percent vs. 18 percent in the Americas), but that Asia is actually the only region where mobile P2P is growing, and doing so at the same pace as http streaming.

We've seen time and again that file sharing and P2P streaming are hugely popular in countries like China. It looks like that trend is increasingly migrating to mobile networks as well.