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What would you think about allowing someone to have unlimited access to your computer system without your knowledge or permission? Now, how do you feel about letting that person rent out your CPU, spare disk space and extra memory? Do you like idea of these strangers downloading programs, data and lord knows what else to your machine and using your bandwidth?
A company called Brilliant Digital Entertainment has been quietly preparing to do just this. They have been distributing their "free" 3D advertising technology since last fall, and along with that software they have quietly been installing file-swapping software called Kazaa.
Brilliant Digital Entertainment has stated as a part of their SEC filing that they will soon be turning on a vast, multi-million machine P2P (point-to-point) network. This network consists of machines belonging to those people who have downloaded and installed their software. The network is known as Altnet.
What does Brilliant want to do with this vast network? They have some very grand plans, but one major task is using these personally owned computers to store and serve ads (banners and other things). Their logic is described in an excerpt from their SEC filing:
"An example of Network Services is ad serving. When a user opens a new Web page, and banner ad which appears on that page is delivered by a third party ad serving company, such as DoubleClick, third party ad serving company incurs infrastructure, management, bandwidth and processing costs for every single banner ad which gets served. Often times, same ad gets "served" millions of times each month. Using Altnet's proposed solutions, all of those ads could be delivered to users via Altnet network, thereby saving costs for third party ad serving companies."
Brilliant does have some vague plans in place to compensate people involved in network, at least some of them. Here's what their SEC filing says about that:
"To maximize efficiency of Altnet network, selected users with higher than average processing power, significant free space on their hard drives and broadband connectivity to Internet, will first be engaged by Altnet to become main hubs on network. We refer to each of these hubs as a qualified PC, or QPC. We intend to enter into an end user agreement with owner of each QPC pursuant to which we will compensate owner for access to and use of their computers while logged onto Internet. We have yet to finalize terms of compensation, however we anticipate it will be a combination of non-cash components, which may include gift certificates, products and/or access to video content, and we expect to initiate this process some time in Q2 2002."