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This paper provides an extensive experimental evaluation of the gossip technique that has been proposed to construct scalable and reliable multicast protocols. This evaluation has been done by simulating several gossip and non gossip-based multicast protocols in a network simulator NS2. The evaluation comprises of three parts: (1) a comparison of the gossip technique with other traditional message loss detection and recovery, techniques, (2) an extensive performance evaluation of the gossip technique under several different computing environments, and (3) an evaluation of how the performance of a gossip-based multicast protocol is affected by varying various gossip parameters. The main conclusion of the paper is that the gossip technique is certainly a useful technique for constructing scalable and reliable multicast protocols. However it performs poorly under some specific operating conditions, and its performance is affected by, the selection criteria used to select a gossip subgroup and gossip period.