Citrix deal will help Aptimize optimise

United States technology giant Citrix has entered into a partnership with Wellington start-up Aptimize and will help sell its software that is designed to make websites and intranets load more quickly. Aptimize founder Ed Robinson said the Intergen spinoff had signed up about 150 customers, almost all of which are based overseas, including Microsoft, Google, Disney and several insurance companies. New Zealand customers include Trade Me and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare. The software typically costs $20,000 to $40,000. The company has secured a number of testimonials, including one from United States top-500 internet retailer BuyNowOnline, which attributed a 3.33 per cent rise in sales to Aptimize. But Mr Robinson said marketing and distributing the software had been a drag on growth and the Citrix deal should give it a "jump start". "You can't just leap on a plane and go everywhere," he said. Citrix is a major supplier of load balancing systems, which are used by large organisations to efficiently serve up web pages from multiple web servers. Aptimize has optimised its software to work with Citrix's NetScaler load balancing software and Citrix will now promote the software as a companion product. Aptimize works by merging static images, JavaScript and formating files included within webpages into a smaller number of larger files, which can then be compressed and cached in the browser. That reduces the number of requests that need to flow to and from servers hosting websites and users' computers when pages are loading. The software can make webpages load two to four times more quickly. BuyOnlineNow enjoyed a 69 per cent gain. Website owners can manually optimise their sites, but Mr Robinson said Aptimize was designed to automate what can be a "fairly tedious" process. It can also perform tasks that are difficult to do manually, such as adjusting the optimisation routines for different browsers. "We are often doing installations in under an hour, and if you get a developer to optimise your site, they haven't even finished eating their sandwich within an hour." Google's decision in April to take into account load times when determining search engine rankings has given the company a boost. Mr Robinson said corporates were using Aptimize on their intranets as they reaped direct savings in staff time. Aptimize employs 10 staff, and the deal with Citrix was an important step in the company's development, he said. "It is the first step to making our product part of the waterworks." Aptimize is also considering partnering with specialist hosting companies. The San Francisco Chronicle, reporting research from Aptimize, said the capacity of the average internet connection had increased by more than 74 times since 1996 in the United States as people migrated from dial-up to broadband, but over the same period, the size of the whitehouse.gov website had swelled 54 times as the site was loaded up with more pictures and graphics – demonstrating how a good proportion of those gains could be eaten up. A new electronic file format for photographs being promoted by Google has the potential to cut internet traffic by a quarter, reducing congestion on the web. Google said its proposed format, WebP, was 40 per cent more efficient than jpeg files, into which pictures are usually encoded. It estimated that 65 per cent of the traffic on the web consists of images. The format is expected to take time to catch on, given digital cameras use the jpeg format.

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