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RedSwoosh latest video file-sharing entrant, to raise $5M+

Video transmission technologies is hot, and San Francisco start-up RedSwoosh is the latest with the new twist - a free content peer-to-peer service that shares ad revenue with content owners.

We wrote a piece last month summarizing all the challengers to BitTorrent, the site that offers a popular and leading video-sharing protocol. We didn't include Red Swoosh, because no one mentioned them during our reporting.

Travis Kalanick, Red Swoosh's founder and CEO got in touch, though, and just informed us of his new offering here: http://www.redswoosh.net/index2.php.

Compared to others, including BitTorrent, it is very easy to use. If you have a video or other large document to share, you simply add http://edn.redswoosh.net/ to the front of any URL on your site. "We're making it incredibly simple for people to put links on their site, and not have to pay for it," Kalanick said.

When user clicks on the link to see the video, they are redirected to RedSwoosh's site. Redswoosh checks to see if they have downloaded its software on their PC. If not, they are prompted to download it. Once they have the software, things get easy. The users's computer searches for the video at RedSwoosh, and Redswoosh then redirects it to get it from another location. The software you downloaded is told where to get it, and pulls the data from 20 different "peers."

He says Redswoosh has and advantage over BitTorrent because it has a centralized intelligence that tracks all user downloads through time, including downloads done last week, for example -- whereas BitTorrent's decentralized system can not. The "downside," Kalanick says, is that Redswoosh isn't very good at distributing "grey content" -- including content that infringes on copyright (some would say this is a downside, others an upside). The reason is that RedSwoosh's centralized system can halt such traffic immediately, he said.

The other major competitor, he said, is Kontiki. But he said Kontiki has added lots of bells and whistles over time, and sacrificed ease of use. "They've got a more bloated software package. It requires a big integration effort," says Kalanick. "You can't just swoosh your links."

Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban led a $1.7 million investment in Red Swoosh in August last year, and Kalanick says he's on the trail raising between $5 to $8 million more (which shouldn't be difficult to pull of in this climate). Kalanick was co-founder of one of the first P2P companies, Scour.net, in 1997, and so he is well known. "They've all been calling us," he says of the VCs.

Kalanick says he already has real customers, including MTV Networks, World Economic Forum, MeeVee, NBA, Ubisoft since 2001, and says Red Swoosh has higher download speeds than BitTorrent's distributed file-sharing technology.

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From: Tech Connection in SF
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Tracked: July 31, 2006 10:46 PM

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