Jul 1, 2009


In what is pretty old new by internet standards, Pirate Bay is in the process of being bought out by Global Gaming Factory X (GGF), in an attempt to make the site's dealings legal and profitable. Pirate Bay is currently the largest hub for torrents, which allow people to share quickly and easily any digital content - including illegal, unpaid for, copies - with one another.

While I can understand the current site owners' desire to sell the site (they are currently, to much surprise, facing increasing legal issues from their native government, Sweden), this deal makes almost no sense from GGF's perspective. GGF touts that they'll implement a new business model that will justify the $7.7 million they're spending on this.

I strongly believe it's going to fail.

First off, if you're talking money, already the business model is more complex than The Pirate Bay's (TBP) current one. You've got legal issues, tax issues, ownership issues, digital rights issues, terms of service, etc etc etc. Even if there is no net cost to the user, this is still inconveniences and legal hurdles that have to be contended with by GGF's and its users.

TPB's current model has none of that - you simply use their site. Once TBP goes, I predict several clone sites will sprout up, offering the same ease and simplicity that TBP did. Which do you think users would prefer?

And this does not address the money issue. While I don't know if GGF's business model will require its users to pay out of their pocket (or be subsidized, say, via advertisements), if there is any cost to its users, already GGF is already behind. People who are looking for free content are going to continue to find free content, and this move will only cause them to look elsewhere. The torrents themselves, which are distributed in nature, are going to still be available. TPB only listed the torrents' statistics.

But perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps GGF does have some kind of mystery model that costs nothing to its users, keeps things simple, and somehow offers more value to its customers than the current model does. Perhaps they can work digital alchemy and produce something from nothing.

I'll believe it when I see it. Best of luck, Pirate Bay.

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