RealTime IT News

Akamai Scores With Expanded Terra Lycos Deal

When Waltham, Mass.-based Lycos.com was planning out the overhaul of its network architecture a few months ago, it didn't look any further than Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai Technologies Inc., to help it hold down the costs of doing so.

The content delivery network is being credited with helping Terra Lycos provide performance and reliability of dynamic content and on-demand capacity as well as provide a highly customized end-user experience.

To be sure, Akamai certainly isn't alone in this space. Other companies such as Speedera and Cable & Wireless' Digital Island unit are among its fiercest competitors; however, in terms of the Lycos arrangement, Akamai had a one clear advantage -- a longstanding customer relationship.

The redesign of the portal and affiliated sites announced earlier this week helped create large ad units, thereby limiting the amount of inventory. It also sports a new unified look and feel, transforming Terra Lycos sites in the U.S. from an "index" or "table of contents" format to a more media-centric magazine cover format.

Lycos modified its network to group similar content together -- making it easier for users to navigate and for advertisers to target based on content. The new structure also gave the various content areas within the Terra Lycos Network -- Lycos Entertainment, Sports, Music, Travel, News and brands like Gamesville, Matchmaker, Raging Bull, Quote.com and more -- a common navigation scheme.

But for that strategy to take hold, the company relied heavily on the ability to get the content further out to the so-called "edge" of the Internet where it lies closer to the end-user -- a.k.a. the reader -- as opposed to its own internal servers.

"The traditional, centralized model of Web serving has shifted toward a decentralized approach that allows for a unique, customized Web experience without the prior performance and cost constraints," said Vince Russo, chief architect at Terra Lycos U.S.

To do so, Lycos turned to Akamai for broader deployment of its EdgeSuite service, which basically does most of the heavylifting of dynamic web content. Lycos was already a client of Akamai's FreeFlow, its original flagship service. However, after Akamai came out with the EdgeSuite service in October 2000, Lycos realized it had an opportunity to expand their global presence without additional infrastructure maintenance costs.

As Akamai's key flagship service moving forward, EdgeSuite off-loads all the elements of a Web page for generation and delivery from the Akamai network, including static and dynamic content, streaming media, HTML, digitzed downloads, and Web-based applications.

"By outsourcing components of our Web infrastructure to the Akamai network, we're able to efficiently reach our worldwide users with timely, relevant content without over-provisioning our existing infrastructure," Russo said.

In addition, Lycos is utilizing EdgeSuite Content Targeting functionality to better target the content to individual users.

Terra Lycos say sit serves 103 million unique visitors per month in 43 countries.

Financial arrangements between the companies were not disclosed.

This story corrects an earlier version that incorrectly stated EdgeSuite was unveiled in October 2001. The EdgeSuite service was upgraded in October 2000.