Silicon Valley based Red Swoosh is launching a free, ad supported version of its file serving technology today (the link in this sentence is to the new site – redswoosh.net will redirect sometime overnight).
Prior to today Red Swoosh was available to paying customers only, who use their bittorent-like technology to quickly transfer files using peer to peer technology. The result is significantly faster file downloads for users, with near-zero bandwidth stress on the file distributor.
The new product makes Red Swoosh available for free. Every fifth download request is shown an interstitial advertisement before the download begins. Customers can bypass the ads to their users by paying for the service.
Using Red Swoosh is extremely simple. As a content provider, you do not need to sign up for an account. All you have to do is add “http://edn.redswoosh.net” to the front of any URL and place that link on your website. If you choose to create an account, Red Swoosh will provide reporting to you on download statistics, and in the future will share revenue from advertising. This last bit is important.
There are some limitations to Red Swoosh. Users must install a client to facilitate the download. This is only required once – subsequent downloads from any Red Swoosh customer will then work. There is no client available for the Mac platorm yet, though. Red Swoosh promises it later this year. Until then, Mac users can still download the file directly from a server without using the P2P technology.
Red Swoosh was founded in 2001 and went through some troubled years during the crash. They recapitalized the company last year and raised an additional $1.7 million from Mark Cuban. They are currently in the middle of raising another round, which CEO Travis Kalanick tells me will be in the $5-8 million range.
On a side note, Red Swoosh was in the process of changing offices earlier this year and took the opportunity to “offshore itself” temporarily – they moved the six person company to Krabi, Thailand for a month while they built the new product (kudos to Mark Cuban for green-lighting this). See Travis’ blog posts on the project here and here. From what Travis tells me, it was an awesome experience and the team was more productive than they were back here in Silicon Valley.