Kazaa: It's not just for music anymore

— 12:00 AM on May 1, 2003

So there's a rather amusing story over at Wired.com which discusses why Apple's new $0.99 music push won't affect file-sharing services like Kazaa. Of course, everyone's offered up an opinion on this, but the reasoning here has nothing to do with the "free vs. paid" debate. According to the article, the most popular thing being traded on file-sharing networks these days isn't MP3's, it's porn.

And not by just a little bit, either, at least if a February survey of Gnutella is any indication. That survey found that forty-two percent of all Gnutella users looked for porn.

The article takes a brief detour from its main point to talk about whether 99-cent downloads are doomed to failure. I mention this only because it gives me the opportunity to use this quote from the president of Grokster: "What they (Apple executives) don't understand is that 99 cents ain't free. It's a lot more than free. It's 100 percent more than free. . . ." Let's hope he's not also in charge of accounting.

One might think that the online porn industry would be upset at their, umm, product being traded so freely, but some of them are in fact ecstatic about it. One company embeds porn website links in video clips and then makes them available on the file-sharing network. The company claims it gets 25 to 40 new memberships per day with this technique.

I find this hilarious. For years now, the music industry has spent its time and energy pissing and moaning about file-swapping services, and has made no real attempt to compete with them or use the services to their advantage. Meanwhile, pornographers have already figured out a way to make money off their stuff being traded on Kazaa. Never bet against porn.

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