Akamai said it purchased Canadian web site optimization company Blaze Wednesday, ahead of its financial results call. In acquiring Blaze, content-delivery network leader Akamai offers an excellent example of how the web is changing as we access it from more devices and as the nature of the web sites we visit changes. This small deal illustrates some big changes in the web.
Blaze, which was formed in 2010, offers a service that helps web sites load faster by optimizing the scripts running on the site. It also recommends clients add a content delivery network and complements the software and CDN mix with consulting services for folks that want to go further. The optimization happens on the backend on Blaze’s servers, so the consumer’s front end experience was faster and fitted to the device he was on at the time. Other companies in this space include Aptimize.
In buying Blaze, Akamai is acknowledging that web sites today are accessed in more places, something anyone who’s been in a Starbucks lately can tell you, but also that the sites themselves are different. They use richer media and offer links back to more applications. Things like sharing something on Twitter or liking it on Facebook via a simple button add seconds to load times and complexity to the overall site. Complicated CSS scripts and lagging ad networks don’t help either.
Blaze was a natural fit for Akamai in many ways as Akamai tries to take its CDN beyond the old days of static content delivery to delivering optimized advertising, helping bring content to mobile devices, and otherwise adapt to the application-heavy and real-time nature of the web. Where web sites were once comprised of fairly simple code optimized for one or two browsers, they’re now a mash up of many applications from different places being viewed on as many as 10 different browsers and platforms. Akamai is just trying to keep up.