A week after announcing the addition of ads to its soon-to-be-updated software, user backlash has prompted uTorrent to reverse course and provide the option to opt out of the offers.
BitTorrent Inc., the parent company of uTorrent, declared that it has listened to its users, and will allow them to choose whether or not they see advertisements in the uTorrent client.
Ads were conceived in order to help the company boost revenue, but user outrage was swift and fierce.
"An absolute disgrace," uTorrent member TheSPAWN wrote in response to the original forum post. "Pure greed has turned your once loved app into a bloated and buggy cash cow."
Many users threatened to leave the BitTorrent client for other free software, unhappy with the possibility of display ads for content like films, games, music, and software.
"Forced ads, no option to disable... Looks like I need to pick another free torrent client from the many ad free ones available," 3volution3 said last week.
BitTorrent described the advertisements as a narrow rectangle just below the UI toolbar with offers for things like new uTorrent products, features, and services. By clicking an X within the box, users could skip irrelevant offers, but would otherwise have no way of completely dismissing the advertisements.
In advance of the software update, BitTorrent has revamped that process.
"This being an experiment, we've previously discussed whether or not to provide an offer opt-out," the company said in Wednesday's post. "Given your feedback, we've decided to go ahead with this in the upcoming version."
If a user so chooses, they can still view the ads, though most seem to be inclined to bypass them entirely.
uTorrent member meatloaf3535 is one of few who stand behind BitTorrent's original advertisement plan.
"As they say nothing in this world is free," meatloaf3535 wrote last week. "A few ads is a small price to pay for all that you get. Suck it up folks, everyone has to pay the bills."
BitTorrent will continue to pay its bills with the profits received from its pay-for-access uTorrent Plus service, as well as the advertisements it does display to those users who are willing to put up with a little extra content.
"We stand behind offers as a reasonable trade-off to providing our users with valuable, free software, and we will continue to pursue them," BitTorrent said. "Our goal is, frankly, to provide a better experience than we do with our current offer mix. Of course this is not an overnight change."
The company did not comment on whether the opt-out choice may become a permanent fixture in future updates, or if it will return to the required advertisements option.