Need for speed creates global success story

Just completed an initial evaluation of Aptimize web accelerator with an ‘outside-in’ view of performance gains provided by Gomez. Looks like I seem to be on the right track!

Demand for faster internet provided niche for NZ firm Aptimize
By Randal Jackson, Wellington | Wednesday, 9 February, 2011

“Necessity is the mother of invention” has been attrbibuted to various writers as far back as Plato. Aptimize CEO Ed Robinson has a modern take on it: “Our invention came from having to survive.”

The invention of the Wellington company is its Website Accelerator, which has found favour amongst the global ICT community.

Robinson started a software as a service (SaaS) company back in 2007, but it soon became apparent that the further away the user the longer their web sites took to connect – mainly because of New Zealand’s broadband limitations. New York, for example, was taking 30 seconds.

The company began working to improve the time lag and got it down to four seconds.

“It soon became apparent that our side invention to speed up the site was, in fact, a better commercial offering,” he says.

Capital was raised and Aptimize was launched late in 2008. NZ Trade and Enterprise and Tech NZ have contributed funding.

Aptimize’s first New Zealand customer was Trade Me. Two years on, the worldwide customer list includes Disney, Microsoft.com, Google, the US army and other military sites, Dell, Vodafone in Europe and, in New Zealand, Gen-i/Telecom, Mainfreight and Zespri.

“We’re also starting with some of the big US banks,” Robinson says.

Aptimize has been awarded international patents for the Website Accelerator.

The Accelerator optimises web pages in real time, with a simple software installation on the client’s web server. There is no extra hardware, no code or browser changes. Page load times are reduced by up to 75 percent.

For a company like Google, that means more page impressions and more advertising revenue. US company BuyOnlineNow, which delivers more than 30,000 office products, increased its top-line revenue from web site sales by 3.33 percent after installing Web Accelerator, saving 26 percent in bandwidth costs and $6300 in hardware costs in the first year. The US company says that Aptimize paid for itself in just six weeks.

It is also effective for enterprise intranets. Robinson says the cost saving for one of Aptimize’s large US accounts is $11,000 a month. There are 2500 employees, each viewing eight pages a day on the intranet. By reducing the load time of each page by four seconds, 22 hours of time per day are saved.

Web Accelerator is licensed per website. A typical sale is between $20,000 and $50,000.

With 97 percent of revenue generated from exports, Robinson spends a lot of time travelling the world. He is well connected in the US, having spent six years there with Microsoft, initially as a programme manager with the first version of Visual Studio, then latterly working on SharePoint, which figures prominently on Aptimize’s web site.

Citrix has signed a partnership agreement with Aptimize as an international distributor, though Robinson says sales are still predominantly over the web.

The company also recently signed another partnership agreement with Compuware, which specialises in performance management and improvement.

“We are using Compuware’s Gomez to find the problems and to also concentrate on building capability as part of our analysis phase,” he says. Gomez is a SaaS-based application performance management solution that provides visibility from the datacentre to the end user. It allows organisations whose business depends on web applications, to quickly assess the business impact of a problem to determine whether the cause is at the datacentre, on the internet, with a third-party provider or with the user’s browser or device.

It brings together enterprise and internet application performance management.

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Slowly Going Mobile – Poor Site Performance Is Holding Us Back

From the NY Times , published: January 29, 2011

Ed Robinson is the CEO of Aptimize, a company that produces software to accelerate websites.

So long as the astronomical growth in mobile web surfing continues, it’s quite possible that many will overlook the performance issues of their mobile sites and content. But a site owner can’t rely on the carrier networks to deliver a clunky, un-optimized mobile site at desktop speeds. If a company isn’t optimizing its site for mobile performance, it’s literally throwing money out the window.

How much money could mobile possibly be worth? Well, eBay reported $2 billion in mobile sales in 2010, up from $600 million in 2009, and eBay isn’t an outlier. Reports indicate that mobile commerce more than doubled in 2010 to $3.4 billion, and that didn’t include travel sales, like buying plane tickets online, which added another $1.5 billion.

That’s the opportunity — the upside. But there’s also a downside if a developer doesn’t choose to improve a site’s performance. The e-commerce world has long been familiar with abandonment rates, particularly when the abandonment happens in the shopping cart. The same issue is presenting itself in mobile commerce as well – with

Even without redesigning, some basic adjustments to a site can make a big difference right away — and this low-hanging fruit can provide some of the biggest gains of anything you do to improve performance. The trick is in understanding how mobile sites are different from the standard site that’s designed for the desktop.

First, understand that most websites are built for the large screen.

Let me make this point again: A visitor’s iPhone is literally downloading giant desktop files and resizing them for their 3.5-inch screen once the files reach the smartphone. Needless to say, smartphones and their browsers don’t have the processing power to make this a quick procedure. This is particularly noticeable with images on your site, which should be re-sampled to reduce their size for mobile devices.

Second, optimize even the seemingly “lightweight” components of your site, like the text-based HTML, XML and stylesheet files. All these can be compressed before being sent to the browser, and it can shave a good chunk off of load times when optimized in aggregate, particularly if the site is heavy with these types of files (media sites and other content-rich properties are prime examples).

Third, consider a more aggressive approach to caching settings. If a site owner sets his caching for far-future expires, it will dramatically lower load times, and the site owner will reduce the data traffic between the server and the user’s mobile device: a win on both sides.

The Big Performance Picture

Ultimately, this issue is all about perception. Web performance has long been perceived to be a network issue, an infrastructure issue or a hardware issue. However, web performance has as much to do with the way someone codes and optimizes a site as any other factor in delivering it to the end-user’s device.

This misperception has also masked the fact that load times are about much more than just “being fast.”

Load times directly impact your customers’ experience of your brand and your service. They dramatically impact revenue and sales on both mobile and desktop devices. And load times can make an advertising revenue model much more effective for your business. We have empirical data on top of empirical data to support this.

With the dramatic rise of the mobile web upon us, it’s about time site owners stop ignoring performance woes, and start providing better experiences to users, while also fuelling revenue growth. These are multi-billion-dollar market opportunities.

Taking control of a mobile site’s performance issues is responsible business decision-making in today’s mobile world. You’re just kidding yourself if you think otherwise.


Webinar – How to speed up your internet or intranet site in 15 minutes

From Apitmize, certainly worth a shout….
Webinar: How to speed up your internet or intranet site in 15 minutes!
Making your Internet website or intranet fast is important, and easy to do. All you need is an effective web performance strategy – in this webinar we will show you how.

We will start off showing you how to measure the speed of your website from all over the world using FREE public domain tools.  Next, we will show you how you can double the speed of your website in 15 minutes.  We also introduce the ROI framework that helps you get cost approval for performance improvements, and look at real world results from real customer websites. We will also talk about how we worked with Microsoft and others to more than double the speed of SharePoint.Microsoft.com,  lync.Microsoft.com and www.buyonlinenow.com sites.

This presentation will cover ASP.NET and SharePoint websites. You will walk away from this short demo with the knowledge, tools, and techniques you need to increase the speed of your company’s website.

Title: How to Measure and Speed up your Internet or Intranet Website in 15 minutes!

Date: Thursday, February 17, 2011

Time: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM PST

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/912076352


Aptimize going mobile

Looking forward to having a look at this particulat development as working with a key client with strong m.website presence….

Sneak Peek: WAX 3.1 Is Going Mobile

We’re putting the finishing touches on WAX 3.1 and want to give the world a sneak peek into one of the most exciting breakthroughs that we have worked on at Aptimize.

WAX 3.1 will soon launch with all-new, industry-first capabilities for accelerating websites on mobile devices including the iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

These mobile capabilities will be available initially as part of WAX 3.1 for the Linux and Solaris platforms.  SharePoint and Windows platform support will be coming soon after.  And, for a limited time, the new mobile capabilities will be free to existing and new customers.

We’re very excited about WAX 3.1- particularly because we have received so many requests and inquiries from customers who wanted to optimize their sites for performance on mobile devices.

The full details on the product will be available as we get closer to the official release, but to give you a sense of the new capabilities, here are some of the specifics:

WAX 3.1 will have six core optimization features for mobile devices:

  • Compression: All text-based features like HTML, XML, Script, StyleSheets are automatically deflated or compressed to reduce size.
  • Minification: Comments and whitespace are automatically removed from JavaScript and StyleSheet files to reduce size.
  • Resampling: JPEG images are re-sampled to reduce size.  Non-JPEGs can optionally be converted to JPEG and re-sampled automatically.
  • Aggressive Caching: All non-HTML resources are cached on the device’s browser cache with far-future-expires to dramatically reduce load times and data traffic for repeat views.
  • Auto URL versioning: Resources in cache are automatically refreshed if the resource is updated on the server.
  • Resource re-ordering: The oder of resource loading inside the HTML file is adjusted to reduce the start render time of the page in the device’s browser.
What type of mobile performance can you expect from WAX 3.1?
For most web pages, these features will give an estimated 30-50% reduction in web page load times on mobile devices.
If you’ve loaded any full web page on your iPhone lately you know exactly how painful the experience can be.  Just imagine if those pages could load 50% faster.  This is an incredible improvement for mobile visitors to your site, and will undoubtedly change your perception of the mobile experience.
For year’s smartphone users across the globe have grown accustom to painfully slow load times.  With WAX 3.1, you can provide your visitors with the fastest mobile experience on the web.
Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks – WAX 3.1 will usher in the mobile experience of the future, and we’re eager to show the world what we’ve been able to build.

Inside Aptimize’s Website Acceleration Products

From Web Host Industry Review….

Web content is growing at an enormous rate, making the fast delivery of that content more of a competitive differentiator for companies than just a core competency.

Website performance is a critical component for a business’ success, especially considering that Google recently announced that speed is now accounted as a major factor in its algorithms for search rankings.

Based on that incentive New Zealand-based startup Aptimize (www.aptimize.com) is offering companies a range of website acceleration products that can significantly improve the load time of their websites.

“The web is so much more competitive than it was 15 years ago, now that people make richer and richer websites,” says Ed Robinson, co-founder and CEO of Aptimize. “Now the problem is not broadband conductivity or scalability of the servers, but it’s about how to get these massive desktop websites from the servers to the browsers.”

The company recently began offering its flagship product WAX, and its new SharePoint Accelerator, which is designed to improve the performance of Microsoft SharePoint installations, in the US and across the globe.

The products can increase a website’s performance between 200 to 400 percent without making any code changes or installing additional hardware, says Robinson.

Currently, the company’s largest customer is Microsoft, which used its products to boost the speed of the Microsoft SharePoint website.

Aptimize says the software decreased the website’s domestic load times by 43 percent, bringing it down to just 5.9 seconds. Meanwhile, the website’s international load times were reduced by 54 percent – just 6.1 seconds.

Robinson says that about 50 percent of the company’s customers are websites built on Sharepoint, which eventually lead the company to begin offering a SharePoint-specific product.

“We’ve taken a very different approach. [Other solutions] put more servers in place, or more load balancing, or great fiber networking, or put in place content delivery network,” says Robinson. “Traditionally, when data centers need to speed up websites, they’ll throw more hardware at the problem. Our product installs on the web servers themselves and increases the efficiency of the websites.”

The products have two kinds of pricing. Small business pricing, which is calculated server by server, is priced at $3,000 per server.

Enterprise pricing, on the other hand, is calculated at an application level and is priced at $18,000 per application.

And while the company is not without its share of competition, with companies like Aragon Networks, FastWeb and StrangeLoops all providing similar products, Robinson says Aptimize is one of first in the industry to offer this kind of front-end optimization product.

Aptimize does not have products for websites that operate in the cloud, but Robinson says the company is in early talks with cloud firms to provide support for cloud-based startups.

“We see a huge opportunity for cloud computing,” says Robinson. “We’ve started talking to some hosts about being able to price for that market. We’re investing in creating a specialized data center version of our product that you can put inside a cloud computing or hosting provider, and just plug it in and it will accelerate every site passing through.”


Aptimize benchmark: Top UK websites lag behind US counterparts

Love the graphic, which really brings it home to these companies….

Aptimize FTSE350 

UK Websites Lagging Behind Their US Counterparts

FTSE 350 InfographicThis month we published two 2010 Website Performance Benchmark whitepapers. This research is based on measuring the load times of all the Fortune 500 (USA) and FTSE 350 (UK) companies and compiling a set of performance benchmarks that all websites should use.

We measured the homepage of each website using four performance benchmarks:

  1. First view load time (domestic)
  2. First view load time (international)
  3. Repeat view load time
  4. Start render time

The load times are real world “end user load times” i.e. how long it takes to load a page from the time a user enters an URL in their browser to when the page displays in the browser.

Methodology

To obtain these results, we used WebPageTest.org – a free online tool that accurately measures load times by using Internet Explorer 7 on a dedicated machine from locations around the world to load the webpage and measure load times to “document complete” – where all the page elements are loaded, but before any flash animations begin.

We performed tests measuring load times from Dulles VA USA; Wellington, New Zealand and Gloucester UK, the global load times are an average of the test results from the three locations.

Results

Fortune 500 – 2010 Website Performance Benchmarks

Fortune 500 – Results data

Fortune 500 – Infographic

FTSE 350 – 2010 Website Performance Benchmarks

FTSE 350 – Results data

FTSE 350 – Infographic

How they compare

  • Overall global load times are almost identical:  UK:9.592, USA 9.462
  • The UK domestic load times are faster: UK 5.545, USA 7.066
  • UK start render times are 29% slower UK 3.817, USA 2.960
  • UK domestic repeat view load times are 25% slower:  UK: 4.947 USA: 3.970
  • Overall, the USA websites are richer – 19% more content and 17% more HTTP requests