Akamai Technologies Hooks E-Commerce Big Fish

True, Rome wasn’t built in a day — and neither was Digital City — but Internet network start-up Akamai Technologies is laying the foundation for a distant-future discovery in an awfully short period of time.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company announced Wednesday that an impressive range of Internet stars have signed on to its fault-tolerant network, just 75 days after its commercial launch.

Included on Akamai’s roster of heavy hitters — an Internet lineup that rivals the New York Yankees Murderer’s Row starting nine — are CNN Web sites, Infoseek, About.com, GO Networks, Yahoo! and its GeoCities affiliate, J.Crew.com, the Motley Fool, the New York Times and a wide range of others.

A number of companies signed on as charter members back in April when Akamai conducted trials for its network and its patented FreeFlow program. Consisting of 500 servers on more than 20 networks, Akamai’s 10-gigabit system is strong enough to support the peak demand of the world’s 25 most trafficked sites, the company claims.

The technology — developed by MIT professors — clearly impressed the new clients. Adding testimonials to Akamai’s press release, a number of them said that the company’s ability to deliver content faster and more reliably than others convinced them to sign on.

On The Fast Track

“We want to be the leading company in the new marketplace and these relationships we engaged in with some of the top performing Web sites in the world, whether the highest speed or the most heavily-trafficked, show that we are clearly on track,” Akamai Technologies spokesman, David Goodtree told the E-Commerce Times. “We’ll just keep working down the list.”

A definite sales incentive is Akamai’s pledge to deliver content faster and more reliably than the Web site owner can, 100 percent of the time. If it fails to do so, the company promises the customer is absolved from paying the day the failure occurs.

Asked if Akamai had been in discussion with the beleaguered eBay, Goodtree said that their problems extended into their back-end transactions as much as content delivery. Akamai’s pledge is a testimony to the company’s faith in its technology, Goodtree added.

Launched in November 1998 and armed with $43 million in venture capital since then, Akamai was recently awarded the Rookie of the Year award at the MIT Sloan School of Management E-Commerce awards and was named by Network World 200 as one of the Top 10 companies to watch in 1999.

The company doesn’t have any IPO intentions as yet, Goodtree said Thursday.

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