AllPeers, which has been enthusiastically promoted by tech news outlets such as CNET.com and Wired News, will make it easier for amateurs to join the ranks of seasoned BitTorrent users, having the ability to share large files privately with essentially no checks-and-balance system.
TrafficDude CEO Scott Rabinowitz told XBIZ that using torrent sites is a great way to market product virally if just enough content is fed to get to users excited, but not enough to give them the full effect.
However, Rabinowitz said, while torrent sites are not illegal, they definitely fall into the ethical question of whether or not an adult merchant should accept torrent traffic and profit from a program that is a source for stolen content from both the adult and mainstream film industries.
"There isn't a robust set of checks and balances built into the torrent business model, and that's the reason torrents are still allowed to exist," Rabinowitz said. "If they take the DMCA safe harbor approach, which so many [torrent] sites do, that's only going to work so far. If they start generating income, as we know that they are, that means they are having a direct intervention and are totally violating their own legal safety."
And, he added, adult merchants that accept BitTorrent traffic are inadvertently validating the idea that the BitTorrent approach to business is completely acceptable and that there is no risk.
"That's sending a mixed message," Rabinowitz said.
Rabinowitz said it ultimately should be up to the adult merchant to decide whether or not to utilize BitTorrent for marketing purposes, but the decision should be made intelligently with the future of the business in mind.
"We're making money on this now, but this could be a problem soon," he said.
People need to make informed choices, he said, and to ask not only if using BitTorrent will bring traffic, but under what circumstances and in what ways could the content, once injected into the file-sharing world, be used by others.
"As long as you feel comfortable and accept the consequences for what happens from that point forward," Rabinowitz said, "you can't hold it against people because doing business with a torrent site is not illegal."
AllPeers appears to be the simplest way to share large files privately online — a user only needs to drag a file into the AllPeers sidebar extension and it immediately is sharable with every member of the user's personal network.
This could mean another way to reach new adult customers through viral marketing, but Rabinowitz urges that adult merchants first sit down and create a set of rigid guidelines for staff and affiliates and require that everyone abide by them.
"If you have 35 or 40 affiliate reps that are getting paid on commission and happily willing to kill each other for the next dollar," he said, "and if rep 27 thinks he can make a killing and beat out other reps' numbers for the month, what incentive would he have not to basically try everything? Half the people we all collectively know will basically go after traffic if it's profitable without regard to whether it steps on toes."
And once an adult merchant decides to utilize BitTorrent for marketing purposes, and has formed guidelines and an informed, trustworthy staff, it's important to understand one of the long-term risks of doing so: over-saturation.
"The more people that are seeing this piece of content, which you may have spent a lot of time, money and energy on, the more it loses its effective value," Rabinowitz said.
He recommended rationing out content for torrent sites. For example, an adult merchant could allot 10 percent of his day's library to be made available for mass circulation, and then set a guideline to determine how much of that content can afford to be exploited immediately.