uTorrent, the most-used BitTorrent client, is at risk of upsetting all 125 million-plus active users, with the recent addition of advertisements to its software.
Last week, the uTorrent team posted a note on its forum warning users of a new version of its software, expected in a few weeks, with improvements and changes "that we think you are going to like," the site said.
The most major transformation comes in the addition of ads. In an effort to keep its lights on, uTorrent will display ads for a variety of content, including films, games, music, and software.
"We may not get it right the first try but we will continue to improve our efforts based on your feedback," the company said.
A narrow rectangle just below the uTorrent UI toolbar will present seemingly relevant offers, including new uTorrent products, features, and services, as well as offerings from the company's partners, and features from independent artists.
While there is no way to completely turn off in-client offers, users can skip irrelevant ones by clicking an X within the ad. The paid version of the torrent software, uTorrent Plus, is ad-free.
The company feels justified in its decision, explaining that "we provide our users with free software from which they get outstanding value, and we keep our lights on through advertising."
uTorrent plans to leverage its new advertisements to help benefit the artist community – filmmakers, recording artists, game developers, and others.
"We are going to show the world what all of you here already know: that torrenting can be used for good," the post said.
Additionally, uTorrent's update will provide bug fixes, performance enhancements, and user-requested features, according to the forum. Soon, multiple-file torrents will load faster and magnet links will preload content, and the company said it has improved the speed of torrents over network shares, as well as improved streaming playback.
uTorrent debuted in the fall of 2005, according to TorrentFreak. It was later bought by BitTorrent Inc., which helped the minimalist client grow into a program that provides services well beyond downloading content.