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How Isohunt.com Harvests the Collective Intelligence

posted Oct 24, 2011, 2:37 AM by Jack Marrows   [ updated Oct 24, 2011, 2:37 AM ]
The web 2.0 application being discussed this week is Isohunt.com which is a torrent hosting website, allowing its users to download nearly any type of media through a peer to peer network. Isohunt fits the definition of web 2.0 because, as more people use the service, it gets better (O’reilly T, 2005). As more people use Isohunt, download speeds (of peer to peer content) increase, as does the amount of content available.


Users make explicit contributions to isohunt by contributing to the help forum, adding comments about specific torrents, tagging media and forums, rating torrents’ quality and uploading new torrents. Despite the large number of people who use isohunt (20.66 million), only a small percentage (1.20 million) of these users are registered members who explicitly contribute (isohunt.com, 2010).


Members are motivated to contribute through community recognition. Notably, of the twenty-one commentswritten about a random torrent, five were thanking the person who uploaded it, this is a trend seen throughout the site.Isohunt also welcomes and recognizes its newest members on the homepage.


Isohunt implicitly collects data about the popularity of torrents through user interactions (user searches).This information is fed back into the system to display “Top Searches” on the homepage.


Other factors which may have contributed to Isohunt’s success include a transparent purpose for the service (which can be achieved through only three clicks), trusting its users which has lead to a self-regulating community (through the torrent rating system), developer APIs to offer further flexibility and folksonomy tagging which allows for more precise user navigation (Watson J, 2010).


When Isohunt was placed on the web, users decided the application’s purpose, currently it is sharing movies, tv shows and music, and how the application would be used. As the community’s values and needs change so will Isohunt assuming the freedoms which allowed its creation remain intact. The biggest threat to Isohunts flexibility in coming years may be media distributors who have filed law suits against the company and other Bitorrent services.


In summary, fundamentally, Isohunt is a site which allows users to share content and information. Without users it is worthless. Through harvesting collective intelligences, it has become an online community with valuable, meaningful content.


References:

isoHunt Inc. (2010) the BitTorrent & P2P search engine.

O'Reilly, Tim (2005) What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software. O'Reilly Media.
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