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Peer-to-peer networks go personal

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These days, P2P services are entering the next stage of their development. Instead of the semi-hacking technologies of the past, tools for the mass user are appearing that are as simple as a felt-tree. These programs are created for the most ordinary users with little knowledge of computer technology. Such people only need to send and read an e-mail once in a while and send some file to their relatives: a photo or a video clip, for example. The second task is solved by these purely utilitarian services of the new generation that we are talking about. Business 2.0 magazine published A small review of new P2P startups , with an analysis of their functionality, service costs, and business model.
It used to be that the average user only needed email. Now he has a hard drive full of his own photos and videos. Naturally, he wants to share this "wealth" with his loved ones, but he doesn’t want to go to any sites and put the content out in the public domain. He wants something as simple as e-mail. What was required to prove: we have clearly matured demand for easy-to-use file sharing services.
It didn’t take long for the next generation of P2P startups to catch on. While the peer-to-peer companies of the past generation are dying in agony, paying fines The new generation of P2P services has a pretty bright future ahead of them. In doing so, they use the same well-known peer-to-peer technologies and protocols.
We are talking about personal P2P-services, which are designed to share files within a narrow circle of colleagues, friends, and relatives. Some of these programs are built around centralized servers, others involve true "peer-to-peer".
Statistics only confirm the fact that there is a demand for their services. For example, the recently established network YouSendIt passes through 30 terabytes of files every day. Another service MediaMax (company Streamload ) sends 3 million files per day and stores 650 TB of user data on a central server.
Venture capitalists got the hint, too. The smartest ones have already invested in P2P startups. Over the past two years, the company Fabrik raised $12 million, the company Pando – $11 million, YouSendIt – $5 million.
The P2P business is not making much money yet. The maximum that American startups (all of which are private, there is no talk about going public) have been able to earn is from $1 million to $3.5 million a year on paid services. This does not even recoup their expenses. The company TransMedia – is the only one that has announced that it is going into the black.
In general, the market for personal P2P services is still young and growing very fast. The companies listed below are trying not so much to earn capital as to secure a place in the market (for example, they give away up to 25 GB of disk space for free), and the profit will come later. Interestingly, these startups are physically scattered all over the world: for example, the offices of AllPeers are located in Prague and London, and the founders of Zapr live in Singapore.
AllPeers
Works on BitTorrent protocol via Firefox browser extension
Price : free of charge
Business model : Percentage of sales of media files in their peer-to-peer network, payment for delivering content from publishers to users
Glide Effortless
Works through a special web program or via smartphone
Price : 300 MB free, $5 per month for 1 GB, $10 per month for 4 GB
Business model : paid subscription, royalties
MediaMax
Stores digital photos and other files on a central server
Price : 25 GB free, $5-30 per month for 100-1000 GB
Business model : paid subscription, royalties, advertising
Myfabrik
Transfers links to files stored on a central server
Price : 1 GB free, 49 cents per month for each additional gigabyte
Business model : paid subscription, royalties
Pando
Small BitTorrent attachments in emails initiate a BitTorrent session with the server
Price : free of charge
Business model : payment for content delivery, advertising
YouSendIt
Transmits links to files uploaded to the server, which are kept for 14 days; oriented for business purposes
Price : 100 MB free, $5-30 per month for exceeding limit
Business model : paid subscription
Zapr
Creates URI for any folder and file on your computer
Price : free of charge
Business model : advertisement

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