• The Myth of Free Private Trackers: A Commentary on the Economics of Private Trackers

    Private trackers are seen widely across the bittorrent scene as a means to a "free" end. At its most basic level, we need to start with: "Why do you join a private tracker?" The answer is to get all kinds of free content shared by the members of the private tracker community which you have joined. Yet, are private trackers really free? What are the economics behind private trackers? What allows private trackers to maintain their speeds and permits them to rapidly upload content at such a blazing rate?
    All these questions might to the un-trained eye be answered simply by saying that private trackers are able to do what they do simply by their members all having the same goals when it comes to sharing. I disagree, and as you will see, there is an entire micro-economy within the torrent world.
    There are established strata of factors which contribute to how successful a private tracker is perceived as. What makes a tracker: sugar, spice, and content, speeds, and the ever notorious pre-times.
    Content is the range of material the private tracker allocates and distributes to its members. The sheer amount of TV shows at a television tracker, (BMTV, Freshon, TVT, etc.) or movies at a movie tracker, or games at a game tracker; all these contribute to a trackerís worth. As well the speed the torrents are hosted at (ie how fast they can be downloaded or leeched at) also contribute to the worth torrenters see in the tracker. Finally, the faster files are released on the tracker compared to the same releases at other trackers (ie pretimes), give an additional level of value to trackers.
    We know how trackers are valued, but what does it take for a tracker to compete for these categories of interest with other trackers. The answer is simply money: the dough, the moolah, that cash-money, that is what makes a good tracker. What? How is it possible that what makes a tracker good comes only from its pecuniary intake? The answer is simple, nothing is free.
    Letís look again at the factors we discussed before, but this time letís look at them from the monetary perspective. How does a tracker win in the category of content? Simple, the tracker has to promote uploaders uploading more than downloading. How does a tracker win speeds? It makes sure that torrents are uploaded from fast internet connections, and it makes sure that the everyday member has to seed from a fast connection of their own. Finally, how does a tracker make sure itsí members are uploading files before other trackers; it makes sure their sources are better than the other trackers sources.
    How does a tracker make sure that it accomplishes the above-stated goals, the answer is they follow three simple natural, yet always effective rules.

    • 1. Ratio=Speed
    • 2. Members=Content
    • 3. Money=Pre-times

    Letís go through these, how does ratio=speed? If a tracker makes it harder to maintain a ratio on their site, by either artificially changing how seeding is counted by the tracker, or by paying for all content to be uploaded by ultra-fast connections which take away the chance of the everyday member to help upload to new leechers than they force their members to do something to compete. How does a member get their ratio higher if it is beyond their average means of their standard isp? A seedbox of course! Force your members to use a seedbox, and now all torrents are hosted at incredible speeds, since even the average user can upload as fast as physically possible. Why does SCC have such fast torrents, all you have to do is look in the peer list of your torrent. When half of the peers are uploading from a hosting data center, and the original uploader is on an ultra-fast connection, we now know what that translates into: a forced migration to paid seedbox hosting resulting in the tracker attaining high speed torrents.
    How does What or Waffles get so many torrents uploaded? The easy answer is that they allow more members into their trackers than most other sites. Why? Easy, the more members, the more access to content they have and the more torrents which are uploaded. What does that result in, more donations to the tracker, and there for the tracker can invest more in advancing its factors of competition. Yet, how does a tracker with less members get a comparable amount of content to a tracker with more members?
    The answer is that smaller trackers can achieve similar results to bigger trackers by paying "the scene" to do their uploading dirty work for them. You donít have enough members to upload, get all of your content uploaded from a high speed box connected to a FTP at the top of the piracy pyramid. The more you pay for your FTP provider of releases, the faster your pre-times, the more content you get, the better your tracker gets.
    So the more the tracker puts in, the more it gets out of its members and inversely the more it can give to its members. Yet, seedbox sales do not go to a tracker, and scene access also does not go to a trackerís PayPal account. How does a tracker get money? Simple, the tracker makes its members donate by exploiting their artificial micro-economy.
    If you look at the tracker market, the better the tracker, the harder it is to maintain a good ratio. What if the seedbox is not enough to keep your ratio up to par? Easy, the tracker has upload for a price, your donations. I want in to this awesome tracker with awesome pre-times. Okay, well someone is going to have to donate to get you an invite. How does the tracker get donations, it bets on its own intrinsic value. The better it becomes, the more it costs you in donations and in seedbox costs, and in your time.
    So what does this all mean; it means that there is a reason why you were banned. It is not because your ratio was bad, it is not because you cheated or traded your account. You were banned because you could not afford to buy what trackers actually are, a market for a service. I donít know about you, but it seems pretty hypocritical for anyone of us in this system to criticize content providers for charging for their content. We are paying for their content with bittorrent, just secretly.

    Comments 6 Comments
    1. megabyteme's Avatar
      megabyteme -
      I tried to confirm the source, but that site had been disabled due to not paying its bills...Irony?



      Anyway, the article reads more like an anti-p2p lawyer's attempt to get sites shut down than it comes across as "speaking the truth".

      I have long since compared file-sharing and libraries. Here is another example that fits...Is it wrong to borrow/read a library book? No. Is there money involved? Yes. From the purchase and donation of books/music/videos to maintenance on the grounds/building to the electricity needed to keep the building warm, and the lights on to the need for professional staff to keep the library organized and running----yes, there is money involved. It is no more automatically "dirty" on a tracker than it is in a public library.

      While this blog is fun, it should not be placed in with news. It is most of the time opinion, and one-sided a t that.
    1. kuhore's Avatar
      kuhore -
      I agree with megabyteme, maybe some tracker follow the articles ways but definitely not all.

      There are a lot of trackers that are not fond of seed boxes and others that have a point system if you can not physically up load what u have downloaded it gives u virtual upload. All u have to do is show that u are willing to try to seed for some days and try to help keeping the files on the tracker for as long as possible.
    1. Tarom's Avatar
      Tarom -
      With usenet you dont have to upload...
    1. Cabalo's Avatar
      Cabalo -
      @MBM, the source is FSF
    1. megabyteme's Avatar
      megabyteme -
      Thanks for the correction, Cabalo. It reads exactly like something Backie would write.
    1. P2PDog's Avatar
      P2PDog -
      Some of what he wrote applies to some trackers, but none of it applies to all. He's trying to make sweeping generalizations based on conditions that exist in isolated places.

      I can only hope his next effort as an investigative writer is better researched and given a tad more thought, or I predict a very short career for him as a blogger