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5/24/2013
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EdgeCast Knows What Seconds Cost Online Retailers

Mere seconds in response time cost Amazon and Yahoo plenty. EdgeCast's Transact provides a separate delivery network for distributing online retailers' content.

EdgeCast announced its Transact content distribution network (CDN) for large e-commerce firms on May 22. Transact is a newly built network in major cities around the world that accelerates distribution of online retailers' content.

Transact is targeted to the PCI-compliant, online retailer segment. The network is optimized for their use; they won't have to share it with the many other users of distributed content. An EdgeCast study on the importance of service speed with a transactional system explains why online retailers are so conscious of response time. According to an EdgeCast blog posted three months before Transact's debut:

-- Google found a half-second slowdown in response time equaled a 20% decrease in ad revenue.

-- Microsoft's Bing search engine unit found a two-second slowdown meant a 2.5% reduction in queries and clicks.

-- Amazon.com found a tenth-of-a-second slowdown equated to a 1% loss in e-commerce revenue.

-- Yahoo found that improving response time by 0.4 seconds resulted in a 9% increase in traffic.

-- Mozilla found a 2.2-second improvement in download times for the Firefox browser led to 60 million additional downloads.

It sounds farfetched that such small time changes have such a big impact, but study after study has concluded that a delay of up to three seconds in response time can result in a huge loss of traffic, with customers going elsewhere. Four years ago, Forrester Research came to the not-surprising conclusion that slow response times translated into not only a drop in click-through and repeat business, but also a drop in the overall brand image. That's why the CDN market is growing at a 13.9% rate annually, worth $3.6 billion in 2012 and growing to $6.9 billion by 2017, according to BCC Research, a Wellesley, Mass., market researcher.

[ Want to learn how EdgeCast teamed up with Dell to disrupt the content delivery network market? See Dell, EdgeCast Shake Up Content Delivery Networks. ]

EdgeCast is often portrayed as one of the top-five content distribution systems, in the company of Akamai, CDNetworks, LimeLight Networks and Level 3. More recently, cloud service providers, such as Amazon Web Services, have added CDNs to their product lineups. Amazon's is Cloud Watch; Microsoft offers Azure CDN; Rackspace has Cloud Files; and Google has Google CDN. Telecommunications companies, with their existing worldwide networked data centers, want to get into the business, too.

Ted Middleton, VP of EdgeCast product management, said some of the Internet's top retailers told EdgeCast they wanted a network they didn't have to use alongside thousands of other content distributors in other business segments, one that "they have to share with other types of content." They also wanted it to be PCI credit-card transaction compliant and optimized for their needs.

Although there are many CDN suppliers, Transact is "the first and only network purpose-built for accelerating and delivering the busiest e-commerce sites," he said.

EdgeCast claims 6,000 customers, including Twitter, Yahoo, EMI Music, Break Media, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility, Examiner.com, Tumblr, Pinterest, WordPress and Imgur. Deloitte ranked EdgeCast the fastest growing Internet company on its 2012 Technology Fast 500 list.

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