One of the most popular and prolific filesharing news sites, p2pnet.net is up for sale. In a post on the site, Canadian owner Jon writes that he no longer has the time and money to run p2pnet.net. We were lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with him.
Basically, Jon has decided that it is no longer feasible for him to continue running p2pnet.net. The main reason behind this seems to be the lack of advertisers. Most of his previous ones have been sued out of business by the MPAA/RIAA. And Google Adsense banned him for generating “spurious clicks” (aka cheating). He says he’s innocent, and we believe him, but Google won’t budge. They say they’re protecting their advertisers.
Jon seems to be out of options. He’s decided that it’s time to sell the site. On his site, he says that he is “looking for offers starting at $30,000.” Can you really put a price on years of hard work? I don’t know. $30,000 seemed outrageous to me initially, but after thinking about it, I’m not sure. What really got to me was the fact that if the site isn’t bought, he’s going to take it offline. To do that would be a crying shame. Even though people have offered Jon free hosting, he’s made up his mind. The only other option would be for his readers to pool together enough funds and make sure that even if Jon stops writing, the archives remain online.
We decided the best thing would be to talk to Jon himself about his decesion. He was gracious enough to take a few minutes to tell us all about it.
TF: In our minds, p2pnet.net is one of the top 3 filesharing news sites. Why quit the race while you’re in the lead?
Jon: I’m not quitting. This is all about keeping p2pnet online. Getting to this point means I’m already substantially in debt and I just can’t go any further by myself. I need help and if selling the site to keep it online is the only way I can get it, then that’s the way it’ll have to be. If I can somehow get $20,000 Canadian without selling, I’ll be able to hang in for another five months or so. I’ve had several offers for hosting, so I wouldn’t have to worry about that. I’d also try and find someone to take on the tech end, and someone else to look after advertising. In addition, I and a friend on the island recently started up a purely commercial offline project which has zero to do with the Net, p2p or anything else even vaguely like it. So far it’s cost us about $500 so it’s not capital intensive either : ) It’ll be a couple of months before we know if it’s going to take off but if it does, it may well provide funding for p2pnet.
TF: The founders of the popular filesharing application, Kazaa filed a lawsuit against your site last year. Is this one of the things that made you decide to sell?
Jon: Not even nearly. A domain name is a piece of property which can be bought and sold. It isn’t a legal entity like a company which carries with it all of its debts and obligations. If you bought a TV from someone who happened to be in a lawsuit, that doesn’t make you party to, or liable for, the suit. The parties in my case are: JON NEWTON, INTERSERVER, INC., JOHN DOE, JANE DOE, RICHARD ROE and JANE ROE. They don’t include p2pnet.net.
TF: All TorrentFreak posts are published under a Creative Commons license. You often republish our posts on p2pnet.net, and we’re very grateful for this, because in our minds it doesn’t matter if we make a buck off each reader, P2P news is about getting the message out. Don’t you agree?
Jon: I do indeed. Absolutely. Torrentfreak does so well because it’s needed. It fills a gap. Sites like ours are about disseminating good information and unspinning spin —– getting the message out quickly and accurately. We’re not here to beat each other by getting something out ‘first’. I’ve always believed that’s for the lamescream offline media, and people who think like them. We’re here to tell our friends what’s really happening as soon as possible and in as many outlets as possible. We want others to spread the information ASAP.
TF: On your site, you say that you intend to “continue talking” to your reader base. What are your plans for the future and where can people find you once p2pnet.net is sold?
Jon: You know that saying about the Fat Lady? Well, she hasn’t sung yet : ) At this point in time, I’m not thinking much further ahead than the next month or two. If I can survive that, and $20K would do it, I’m pretty sure I’d be able to survive the rest. This isn’t about dying, it’s about changing. I also have another site called p2pnet.ca, which I haven’t even looked at since well before Christmas. If I end up having to sell p2pnet.net, I still have p2pnet.ca and my approach to that would be a bit different: It wouldn’t be full time, and it wouldn’t carry ads. I’d concentrate on my main areas of interest and forget about posting ‘other’ news like what’s happening with Bill and the Boyz, and with iRule Jobs.
TF: Lastly, who do you think is most likely to buy your site? A large Internet portal? Or a blog network like Weblogs, Inc? Personally, I think p2pnet.net would be a great addition to their network, since their P2P blog was shut down last year. They also have the backing of AOL, if they ever needed a team of ferocious lawyers.
Jon: I really don’t mind who gets involved, or whether they’re the owner or an investor. I know this sounds arrogant, but I believe losing p2pnet would be a serious blow to freedom of speech online. There aren’t many dissenting voices and we can’t afford to lose even one. So Big or Small, as long as it helps me to keep p2pnet online.
TF: Thanks, and all the best!