Whilst in Arrakis

The Future Will Be Better Tomorrow

Month: November, 2013

Bittorrent and the meaning of ‘malware’

This is an email exchange between me and Bittorrent. Enjoy. I removed last names and other personal details.


maybe was not clear enough before.

You engage in scumbaggy deceptive practices and hide behind the thin veil of but it’s legal and others are doing it. I am sure nobody at the senior level of your customers approved ads based on semi-malware and blackhat SEO practices. [1]

On top of this lack of strong consumer protection laws does not automatically translate into a license to be a shithead (or partner with one that does) with somebody else’s search functions. The fact that an antivirus does not flag it up means jack shit. Conduit is indefensible, no user would ever agree to install that if they understood what that piece of software does.

We do not engage in dark patterns and deceptive, unethical practices, and avoid like the plague those who do (i.e. you).

So in short, fuck off and die.


PS. this thread is now posted on my blog – if you really feel compelled to respond (but please don’t) do so in public and not on my email. I really do not want to hear from you ever unless it’s a TechCrunch article that announces you stopping doing this shit.

On Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 8:19 PM, John  <@bittorrent.com> wrote:

Hi Rodolfo,

We don’t peddle Malware.  While it is true that we work with Conduit as a search partner, we QA every advertiser that we choose to promote on our network.  Our team verifies that the content is legal and runs against an anti-virus to see if viruses come up.It should also be noted that other torrent clients like Vuze also work with Conduit and other search partners.  I state this because if you look at the Vuze client, you’ll notice that they’re advertising [x] in their “games” section, and your project is with [x].

While Vuze is a great product and a good torrent client, BitTorrent owns 80% of the torrent client market.  So that’s why reached out to you and believe that a meet at [x] would be worth your time.Let me know if you’re available.Thanks,John


John email: @bittorrent.com cell:     Skype:LinkedIN

On Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 11:15 AM, Jason  <@bittorrent.com> wrote:

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Rodolfo Rosini <@.com>

Date: Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 2:58 AM

Subject: Re: [x] – Let’s Meet

To: Jason  <@bittorrent.com>

Thanks. We do not work with companies that peddle malware.


On Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 8:06 AM, Jason  <@bittorrent.com> wrote:

Hi Rodolfo,

I see that Storybricks will be attending [x]. We’d like to meet to talk about potential user acquisitions opportunities.

BitTorrent has a premium ad network that is owned-and-operated, which connects high quality advertisers to our sophisticated male audience of 170M users worldwide. We serve over 6 billion impressions/month, and run high volume user acquisition campaigns for game companies like Kabam, Kixeye, Bigpoint, and Covus Crobo.How’s your availability between the 3rd-5th?Thanks,Jason


BitTorrent, Inc.

303 2nd Street, S600

San Francisco, CA 94107

[1] Ok I can believe that one company that you list as customer did actually willingly engages in this kind of hanky-panky. That does not make it acceptable to me.


Disney Infinity not so infinite perhaps

Some numbers are out and it seems that Disney Infinity did not outperform Skylanders on the basis of units shipped (but both companies did not publish a regional sales breakdown so the truth could be more nuanced. Additionally a started kit for Infinity could run in the hundreds of dollars).

I mean yes, they have sold a million units. And imagine these were $75 units. $75m in sales is not bad. But then compare it with the crowdfunding campaign of Star Citizen that took in $26m so far and suddenly the accomplishments of a global $123bn company with the best franchises on the planet suddenly feel not quite there yet.

My argument at the time (‘Why is Disney hiding Infinity?’ – The Kernel) was that a lot of these units went to collectors in the same way Beanie Babies or Furbies sold a lot of units when it launched, only to collapse months later when the rage was over and these units went back on secondary markets at a discounted price (at least Disney Infinity make sure to “lock” your purchase to the hardware so you can’t resell a used unit without an expensive lawsuit in a country with strong consumer protection laws). Sure, it made money but it was never organic demand and sustainable growth.

I dug a bit into Amazon’s reviews and they seem that the jury is still out if this game will be a billion dollar franchise for Disney that can glue their (successful) transmedia activities with video games.

Here’s the Amazon US aggregate reviews:


And here the Amazon UK reviews:


And these were the best PS3/Xbox ones. The Wii reviews were actually worse.

The most striking example of the current state of the game came from this review from one of Amazon’s Top 1000 reviewers:

“The whole effect is of a poorly executed, rushed game, with a rapacious commercial model which fails to deliver upon the promises made by its visual design and the history/quality of the intellectual property used.”