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Though many aspects of the search market appear difficult to crack – Google’s not going anywhere and blog search is flooded – many contend that an untapped search market lies deep in the lands of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Skyrider, a P2P platform developer that launched today, seeks to mine those realms via user-generated content.

Skyrider has been under development for the past two years as P2P networks mature to include a more widespread Internet populace. Recently securing $8 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and Charles River Ventures, Skyrider’s leadership may sound familiar.

The founders of the company are Dr. Ori Cohen and Stas Khirman, who also founded Narus, which they are no longer with, the company that provides the notorious packet monitoring technology used by AT&T, the National Security Agency, and foreign nations. The president and CEO is Edward Kozel, formerly of Cisco Systems and current Yahoo! and Reuters board member. Heading up sales and marketing for the company is Chris Redlitz, who recently left Feedster.

The platform Skyrider has developed in P2P is intended to leverage the recent popularity of user-generated content, rather than copyrighted material that file-sharing networks are notorious for passing among themselves. Kozel told WebProNews that the focus on user-generated content would allow the company to “absolutely live within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”

The company cites recent studies to show that P2P activity makes up the majority of Internet use, or 75 percent of consumer Internet traffic. The company says P2P has the potential to become the dominant network architecture in the United States, especially as the economics of storage and distribution improve.

“The use of P2P networks is so widespread that now they are the dominant traffic on the Internet,” said Randy Ditzler, of Sequoia Capital a Skyrider Investor. “P2P networks are maturing and diversifying and the utilization of these networks has created some very compelling business opportunities. Skyrider is the first to focus on creating a platform and products to seize these business opportunities.”

The business opportunity is creating a targeted, contextual advertising platform this busy Internet back road, which includes search advertising with a pay-per-click and pay per impression model. Kozel and Redlitz would further elaborate on their advertising business model as the company’s first product is due out this fall.

The company syas Skyrider’s technology will allow the peer-to-peer environment and the web to coexist.

“The P2P audience is not going to be all that different than the Web audience,” said Kozel. Except maybe, it could be easier to keep the audience in one place. “Keyword-based search marketing will receive a tremendous boost by operating in the P2P space,” he said. “There are as many as tens of millions of unique users per day, conducting hundreds of millions of searches.”

Kozel explained that the P2P model, which distributes bandwidth among users on the network, was vastly less costly than systems that rely on central servers for storage and distribution.

“There will be an explosion of innovation in software and applications, once businesses can not only reach P2P users, but can utilize the decentralized, dynamic and community nature of P2P technology,” he said.

“This permits the network effect’ — which holds that the value of a network grows exponentially with the number of users — to be put back into the network; this will create significant new value for businesses and end users.”

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