May 6, 2010, 1:05 PM

Cotendo goes global, gets funds and helps clients cozy up to search engines

Content delivery network Cotendo has been busy lately. Just this month it collected $12 million in a third round of funding, announced two soon-to-be-opened offices in Paris and Berlin and has slated for release a new tool to help its clients boost natural search results.

Content delivery network Cotendo has been busy lately. Just this month it collected $12 million in a third round of funding, announced two soon-to-be-opened offices in Paris and Berlin and has slated for release a new tool to help its clients boost natural search results.

The funding, which is led by venture capital firm Tenaya Capital, also includes investments from Sequoia Capital and Benchmark Capital, the two firms which provided two earlier rounds of funding to Cotendo totaling $10 million.

Cotendo, which launched in March of last year has clients in the U.S. and Europe and will use the cash for its new offices and also to invest in technology, says Ronni Zehavi, Cotendo's co-founder and CEO. Zehavi says Cotendo’s biggest client base is e-commerce companies and that the firm has experienced significant growth in France and Germany as more web site operators switch from their old content delivery networks to Cotendo. France’s massive online marketplace Price Minister uses Cotendo and popular U.S.-based social bookmarking site Digg.com is Cotendo’s newest client.

Content delivery networks such as Cotendo and Akamai are designed to make web pages load faster. Such networks operate servers across the country—and the world—that deliver site data to consumers nearby, so that, for instance, a consumer in Phoenix is accessing data from a server in that city, and not from the retailer’s data center in New York. This saves e-retailers the cost of placing many servers in major markets, while allowing consumers to access site content faster.

However, this month Cotendo is taking a step to try and differentiate itself. It’s going beyond serving pages faster, launching a new web analytics tool that shows web site operators how search engine crawlers are accessing, navigating and experiencing a web site. The tool can show problems crawlers run into that could impact natural search rankings, Zehavi says.

For example, it can tell site operators when a crawler gets an error code when it tries to access a particular page, if a page element such as a photo isn’t displaying properly or if a crawler discovers a broken link. It also can alert site operators if pages take a significant amount of time to load. Google and other search engines use such information in deciding how high to rank sites in natural search results.

“Similar to a warning system, the tool is a filter that can tell you that an error is occurring on this page of the site, with a particular page object,” says Michael Kuperman, vice president of operations for Cotendo. “Site operators add new objects all the time and it’s easy for such things as an error in a naming convention to slip through when moving code around,” he says. For example, a picture that should be .gif can easily get switched to .jpg, which could prevent the image from loading properly, he says.

E-commerce operators can use the tool to set up alerts so that they are notified when there is a problem. For example, a site operator could set an alert to go out if a page takes more than 10 seconds to load or if a certain number of pages being accessed by crawlers return error codes, Kuperman says. The operator then will be able to go in and see exactly where the problems are occurring.

“It’s the difference between going to the doctor and saying, ‘I’m in pain,’ and telling the doctor, ‘My heart feels a little strange and my blood pressure is high,’” Kuperman says.

Customers will be able to implement the feature for an additional monthly fee or add it a la carte without any other Cotendo services. Cotendo says it charges a flat fee per month for the service. The cost will be lower for clients that use other Cotendo services, Cotendo says.

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