As part of the Web 2.0 explosion, media companies all over the world have been re-engineering the user experience—from providing increasingly rich forms of content to integrating social networking and opinion-based commentary. The days of re-posting news and sports articles for passive consumption are long gone. Recently, Burst Media released a study indicating that more sports fans now get their information online than from any other source, including television. As that trend continues for sports and spills over into traditional news, media companies who are already well positioned to provide engaging user experiences will go from strength to strength.
The global list of Rackspace Cloud customers is always a good place to find cutting edge media offerings. Australian-based Conversant Media is a great example of a forward-looking company ready for the next evolution of online publishing. They publish a pop culture website called Lost At E Minor, the music discovery weekly email publication, My Secret Playlist, and the Australian sports opinion website, The Roar. They’re also about to launch an image-led culture discovery site called The Colour. They bring in traffic from all over the world and their small but thriving team is split between Newcastle in Australia, New York, and Portland. They’re small, agile, and global.
A quick look at the Conversant traffic profile indicates that they're managing to attract and engage website visitors: Across their sites they reach over 200,000 unique visitors each month and the average length of time spent on the sites is more than 10 minutes. Their sports site, The Roar, publishes over 180 user-submitted sports articles and receives over 14,500 comments every month.
Why Conversant Media Chose The Rackspace Cloud
As someone who grew up in Australia, I was pleased to hear about Conversant Media’s widening success. Australia has some of the most robust Internet usage patterns in the world. I was also excited to hear from Zac Zavos, Conversant Media’s co-founder and managing director, about their decision to move from MediaTemple to The Rackspace Cloud. They currently use Cloud Files and Cloud Sites, and have plans to leverage Cloud Servers.
"We've been very happy with the switch. We've already put our images into Cloud Files in order to utilize the CDN it offers. The price point is fantastic and it offers speed to our users around the world. We also host a number of smaller sites via Cloud Sites and we like the option of hosting client sites to bring in a little extra revenue. We'll be exploring Cloud Servers in the coming months, too. It's an easy process to activate any of these services. The support has been excellent and the experience smooth."
I asked Zac to describe how Conversant Media is making use of Cloud Files, especially given the nature of their global audience:
"Our sites are very image heavy. As a result, they tend towards appearing a little sluggish to load for our users. Our focus this past quarter has been on site performance. The first step was to utilize Cloud Files, which offers the Limelight CDN. This was important to us as it has an AU node and a large portion of our traffic is in Australia. It means that although the server is in the US, our users in Australia will experience Australian-like download speeds of the files."
With the digital future wide open, I asked Zac how he saw Conversant Media continuing to evolve with The Rackspace Cloud:
"Performance is everything for us. We'll be considering Cloud Servers in order to run memcached, a database caching tool. This could give us an extra boost. What we want most from a hosting provider is the freedom to adapt to changing technology but we also want to lean on their technical expertise. We need a partner who can balance performance, flexibility, and cost. No question Rackspace Cloud has this balance nailed for us."
Follow the goings on at Lost At E Minor on Twitter.