The New York Post – owned by News Corporation, which reported a record full- year operating income of $4.45 billion in August 2007 – has been a stalwart in the world of newspaper publishing. It is one of the oldest continuously published daily newspapers in the U.S. As of September 2007, the New York Post had grown its average daily circulation to 724,748 while its readership increased 53 percent in the New York area. As a companion to its print edition, the New York Post launched an online edition in 1997. The website – which saw 3.9 million unique visitors in July 2007 – plays a critical role in generating revenue through online ad sales and promoting the print edition to increase home delivery. While 90% of site visitors are from the U.S., visitors also originate from Canada, the UK, Germany and as far away as Australia.
On May 30th 2007, the New York Post published an exclusive news story that generated a huge influx of traffic to its site. While the company’s infrastructure is designed to support an average of almost 3 million pages views a day, the volume of Internet traffic was so high on this day that the site’s infrastructure was unable to handle the increased load. The New York Post knew it had to act fast.
The New York Post needed to meet three key requirements to support its objectives:
Familiar with Akamai, the New York Post turned to the company for assistance. Akamai was able to complete an emergency integration that got the site up and running within a few hours. Once the site was being delivered by Akamai, website performance improved dramatically, with the home page downloading more than 20 times faster.
“We were thrilled with Akamai’s response and the results,” explains Richard Cernese, Manager of Online Production for the New York Post. “Not only did Akamai help us avert an immediate crisis, but no other solution could have been as effective as the Akamai solution was and continues to be,” continues Cernese.
Before reaching out to Akamai, the New York Post talked to its hosting provider about the possibility of adding web servers but discovered that the servers could not be procured quickly enough. “This is a great example of why it’s tough to accommodate a traffic spike short of using Akamai. With Akamai, no upfront planning is required and we avoid deploying servers that would go unused a majority of the time,” says Cernese. In fact, while five web servers are enough to handle the New York Post’s typical traffic patterns, the spike on May 30th would have required four times that amount. “No other solution could have been in place nearly as quickly or would have been as effective as the Akamai solution,” continues Cernese.
Not only do consumers expect the news to be delivered without fail, but advertisers expect their advertising dollars to be well spent with the New York Post. “We are committed to meeting these expectations. With Akamai in place, we are confident that site visitors have a good experience and that our advertisers are meeting their exposure goals,” explains Cernese. In fact, the company anticipates being able to deliver even more value for advertisers now. “Advertisers sometimes sponsor an entire section for the day. If we are able to deliver more traffic for a certain story, our advertisers reap the benefits,” continues Cernese.
“Akamai gives our site a level of stability that it never had before, ensuring we can maintain our brand integrity. We’re actually looking forward to the next time we have a big story – instead of worrying about whether our servers will be able to handle it, we’ll see it as an opportunity to reach a wider audience and serve more ads,” says Cernese.
The New York Post’s relationship with Akamai has changed its strategy for supporting Internet traffic spikes. Rather than buying or leasing numerous servers that might be inadequate to handle a large increase in traffic, it plans to rely on Akamai to handle the load. “Akamai is now a permanent part of our infrastructure plans for www.nypost.com, pagesix.com and any other site we develop,” concludes Cernese