EdgeCast Networks Launches New CDN: Claims It Will “Change CDN Forever”

EdgeCast I think it's great that new providers are entering the market for all kinds of services, especially those for delivery of video content. But I would also think that by now, these new companies entering the space would realize that you can't win business or market share simply by using a lot of buzz words and marketing terms with no data behind them. And you can't enter a market by making broad statements about how all the CDNs today are crap and you are going to revolutionize the industry.

Yesterday, EdgeCast networks, a company based in LA that has been building a CDN for the past year, with two rounds of private funding, announced via their press release that they have "emerged from stealth to change content delivery forever." But reading the release and their website gives you zero data on how they plan to do this and is filled with lots of marketing terms, but no real details.

For starters, they talk to how they have built a "multi-million dollar, four-continent content delivery network architected especially for today's rich media Internet." That's great but your competitors, like Limelight Networks for instance, plans to spend close to $40 million this year alone on network improvements. So spending multi-millions does not guarantee you success or give you any kind of advantage.

The worst part in my eyes is that for years, all the networks always say they are better than one another with lots of marketing terms but them don't back them up. EdgeCast says in their release that "the EdgeCast network outperforms rivals by significant margins" and "dramatically outperforms rivals." What margins would this be? Why is there no data to back this up? Do you mean your networks reach? Capacity? Speed? How can you make that statement without backing it up? And where is the proof? And why does your website give no metrics when you make such a bold statement?

The press release goes on to say, "The last couple of years have given rise to an explosion in rich media, leaving media companies struggling and rendering the previous generation of CDNs inadequate," said James Segil, president of EdgeCast." If previous generations of CDNs are inadequate, then how did the CDNs do over half a billion dollars last year combined in revenue? That's a big market for companies that are supposedly "inadequate". You can't make statements like that and expect anyone to take you seriously, when you are implying that you are the only company out of 20 delivery networks, that has  delivery technology that works.

If EdgeCast is as large as they say, then why aren't they a Certified Adobe Flash Video Streaming Service provider or a Certified Windows Media hosting provider? If you're not in either of those programs, then in the Adobe Flash case, you're not using the latest build of Flash that the certified providers get access to.

EdgeCast seems to be really focusing on how their pricing model is different and will be more attractive to customers, but don't give any details on how. They say, "EdgeCast's groundbreaking business model separates the cost of bandwidth from the cost of services, freeing publishers from the constraints of fixed, contractual bandwidth pricing." That doesn't mean anything. If I am taking storage and delivery services from a CDN, then what are you separating from the bandwidth cost? All I am paying for is bandwidth. Where are the services? And their website says "our bandwidth buying power works to your benefit, giving you access to our volume discounts". Great, but that's what all the CDNs already do, discount the price based on volume. Not groundbreaking by any means.

Their press release goes on to say, "EdgeCast is the only CDN that gives publishers their own virtual CDN without the hassle and cost of building one." They say they do this by "leveraging bandwidth from the top ISPs", "maintains content caching points of presence located in tier one data centers", which are all "strategically located near primary Internet exchange points". Sounds like every other CDN out there. So how is EdgeCast the "only" CDN to do this?

Their release does say that they have a very detailed reporting and analytics package, which if true is good, but then they don't give examples of what data the product provides and the website has no details either. And I would have left it at that but they had to go and say that they reporting package is "A first-in-the-industry Media Control Center delivering unprecedented visibility and control along with near real time reporting." Their website says their reporting is "calculated every hour ," but I know of other CDNs who provide data every 10 minutes. So they are not the "first-in-the-industry" and other CDN do it faster.

To EdgeCast, I think it is great that you are entering the market. I think more CDN providers are needed especially as the demand for video delivery increases. But you have to realize that you can't enter a market like the CDN space, that has been around and evolved for the past 10+ years, and make the kind of statements you do in your press release and on your website. To call out the CDN market as being a failure up until your company arrived is not the best way to launch a company and is not the marketing angle to get traction.

If you really want traction, use less marketing terms, less buzz words and less references to being the "first" at everything. Say what you do clearly, give examples, say how you do it in detail, show real data and back up what you want to do with real knowledge that customers can use to make informed decisions.

And last of all, give the other providers in this space who have helped build the CDN industry into a real business over the past many years some credit. You don't have to like what they do or copy the way they do it, but they are responsible for creating the market you just entered.

Update: Adobe has informed me that EdgeCast is a Certified Flash Hosting Provider but that Adobe has not updated their page which lists the partners. Adobe says it will update the page by the end of the week to reflect EdgeCast's logo. Odd though that EdgeCast didn't even mention in their launch release that they are in the program.