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Content is the text, images, sound, and video that comprises Web pages. Creating and managing content is critical to website success because content is what a visitor is looking for at a website, and content is what the website owners use to sell the site, the product or service, and the company that stands behind the site. A successful Internet presence has always been about effective delivery of the information the visitor wants—“Content is king!”

The following example illustrates the role content plays in successful online business operations and the key aspects of creating, delivering, and managing website content. For details, see How to Establish a Successful Online Business or Blog in 5 Steps.

What is content management?

Content Management is the process of adding, revising, and removing content from a website to keep content fresh, accurate, compelling, and credible.

Let’s see the success story of Akamai Technologies in creating, delivering and managing content.

An Internet company decided to name itself after a Hawaiian word that means “intelligent, clever, or cool”—Akamai (AH-kuh-my). And indeed, the company has created a clever product. Let’s explain.
As user interest in high-speed Internet connections has grown, demand for bandwidth-heavy applications and media also has begun to surge. Paul Kagen Associates estimate that revenues from streaming media services will reach $70 billion by 2014.
However, user connection speeds are only part of the streaming media picture. How will the networks handle the influx of bandwidth-chewing material? With a growing number of users and an abundance of rich media, the Internet is becoming extremely congested. Network traffic control is needed.
Akamai and its competitors (Digital Island, iBeam, and Mirror Image) are stepping in to manage Internet traffic. Akamai products act as Internet traffic cops by using complicated mathematical algorithms to speed Web pages from the closest Akamai-owned server to a customer’s location, thereby passing through fewer router hops. This process also helps to eliminate Internet gridlock. Today, caching and content distribution are the only practical ways to reduce network delay.
How does it work? To provide the service, Akamai maintains a global network of over 77,000 servers in 77 countries (in 2011) and leases space on them to giant portals, such as Yahoo! and CNN. These sites use the servers to store graphicrich information closer to Internet users’ computers in order to circumvent Web traffic jams and enable faster page loads, reducing delivery time to users by 20 to 30 percent.
Using Akamai’s FreeFlow Launcher, website designers “Akamaize” their sites by marking content for delivery using the Akamai network. FreeFlow takes this content and stores it on Akamai Web servers around the world. When a user visits a website that has been “Akamaized,” the images and multimedia content are downloaded from an Akamai server near the user for faster content delivery. Akamai allows customer data to move to and from big websites through its global network for a fee.

Unfortunately, the service is not 100 percent reliable. The speed for the end user depends on how many people are using the user’s LAN at any given point in time and also on the speed of the server downloading any given website. A number of competing technologies are trying to provide the same solutions, and only a limited number of large companies that use lots of rich media are willing to pay for the service.

Another advantage of using Akamai or a similar service is the added security. For example, on June 15, 2004, a cybercriminal attacked some of Akamai’s major clients, including Microsoft, Google, and Apple, using a denial-of-service (DoS) attack (see Chapter 9). Within minutes, Akamai deleted the attacks and solved the problem. Akamai controlled 80 percent of the content delivery networks.

In 2001, Akamai started to diversify, offering a comprehensive suite of content delivery, streaming audio and video, traffic management, and other services, such as dynamic page view, bundled in a package called EdgeAdvantage. Akamai and its competitors were losing money in early 2001, but their revenues were increasing rapidly. In 2011, Akamai delivers more than 20 percent of all Web traffic; delivers daily Web traffic greater than a Tier-1 ISP, at times reaching more than 2 terabits per second; and delivers hundreds of billions of daily Internet interactions. Akamai’s revenue reached $285 million in the last quarter of 2010.

Credit: Compiled Jones (2008) and (accessed March 2011).


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