What the heck is a torrent, and how do I use it for marketing?
Bit Torrent is a method of file sharing in which information is distributed via tiny files. Files can be shared between hundreds of thousands of users at a time across the entire globe. Individually, these tiny files are worthless. However, once a person successfully downloads all files attached to a particular Torrent, the file can then becomes a working piece of software (or music, or set of images, or anything else that can be digitally transferred).
When used properly, Torrent marketing is a fantastic way to drive an insane amount of traffic to your website. A marketer who successfully dabbles in torrent marketing had better be prepared to have potentially hundreds of thousands of visitors to his or her website almost overnight.
So how do you use a torrent to get traffic? There are many ways, both white hat (ethical) and black hat (unethical).
A white hat method of marketing via torrents is to create a PDF ebook about a popular subject and load it with affiliate links or links to your related websites.
Let's say I wanted to promote a ring tone offer from an affiliate network that is offering a $10 payout for every person that signs up for monthly ring tones through my affiliate link. If I wanted to use a white hat method to promote this offer, I would write an informative PDF document about the history of Brittany Spears. Inside this book I would include hyper links to my pitch page for the ring tone sign up, and I would say something like "click here to get the latest Brittany Spears ring tones!" Every person who downloaded my PDF book would then open it and read it and possibly click on my link!
I would then upload the torrent to as many torrent sites as I could (ten minimum). Within five to ten minutes, my torrent would be "live" and because Brittany Spears is such a popular search term, I would get my free ebook distributed to thousands and thousands of torrent users within just a few short hours. Within a few days, my free ebook could be spread across the entire globe and sitting on hundreds of thousands of computers. People would then read my ebook and a few of them would be curious about my "click here for ring tones" link, and a small percentage of them would sign-up for the ring tones offer, and I would make $10 for every successful lead. Not a bad idea, huh?
A black hat method for marketing (and I do not suggest you perform this type of marketing!) is to download and bundle (use Winzip or Winrar) dozens of Brittany Spears songs into a single LOCKED file (archive).
You then take that locked archive and make another archive with a simple text document. Inside the text document, you type something to the following effect: "Inside this archive is FIFTY Brittany Spears songs! But the file is locked. The only way to get the password is to sign-up at the below offer (insert website URL where your offer is). After you sign up, the password is the fourth word in the first paragraph".
Whenever a person downloads your torrent, they will unzip the first file only to discover there is a single text document and another zipped file that is locked. They will then proceed to read your text document to find out how to open the locked archive.
The scenario I just described is extremely black hat for two reasons: 1) you are using copyrighted material to promote your offer and 2) ring tones offers do not allow incentive marketing. If you engage in his type of marketing, you should always use a redirect page from the torrent file. NEVER, ever direct-link to a website that is registered with your affiliate network! If your network discovers you are deliberately using torrents (and in a black hat style), they will delete your account.
While the white hat method works and you will make money, the black hat method can literally make you thousands of dollars in just a few days. A friend of mine made $15,000 in three days by using a method similar to the one I described above. He then received a rather angry phone call from his affiliate manager who proceeded to cancel his affiliate account. Oh, and my friend never received a dime from the earnings.
Torrents are extremely powerful and can drive a mass amount of traffic to your website. Use them with extreme caution, and always think things through before you release them into the torrent network. Remember, once a torrent is released, it can NEVER be taken back, and it will become viral at an exponential rate.