Economics of BitTorrent communities

Ian A. Kash*, John K. Lai, Haoqi Zhang, Aviv Zohar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Over the years, private file-sharing communities built on the BitTorrent protocol have developed their own policies and mechanisms for motivating members to share content and contribute resources. By requiring members to maintain a minimum ratio between uploads and downloads, private communities effectively establish credit systems, and with them full-fledged economies. We report on a half-year-long measurement study of DIME { a community for sharing live concert recordings { that sheds light on the economic forces affecting users in such communities. A key observation is that while the download of files is priced only according to the size of the file, the rate of return for seeding new files is significantly greater than for seeding old files. We find via a natural experiment that users react to such differences in resale value by preferentially consuming older files during a ̀free leech'period. We consider implications of these finding on a user's ability to earn credits and meet ratio enforcements, focusing in particular on the relationship between visitation frequency and wealth and on low bandwidth users. We then share details from an interview with DIME moderators, which highlights the goals of the community based on which we make suggestions for possible improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWWW'12 - Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference on World Wide Web
Pages221-230
Number of pages10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 16 2012
Event21st Annual Conference on World Wide Web, WWW'12 - Lyon, France
Duration: Apr 16 2012Apr 20 2012

Publication series

NameWWW'12 - Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference on World Wide Web

Other

Other21st Annual Conference on World Wide Web, WWW'12
CountryFrance
CityLyon
Period4/16/124/20/12

Keywords

  • Bittorrent
  • Incentives
  • Peer-to-peer
  • Private communities
  • Resale value
  • Share ratio enforcement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

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    Kash, I. A., Lai, J. K., Zhang, H., & Zohar, A. (2012). Economics of BitTorrent communities. In WWW'12 - Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference on World Wide Web (pp. 221-230). (WWW'12 - Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference on World Wide Web). https://doi.org/10.1145/2187836.2187867