Weekly classified magazine Auto Trader's potential shift to digital-only has been helped by its switch to a TelecityGroup datacentre, according to Tim Jones, the CIO of Trader Media Group (TMG), which owns the title.
In an interview with Computing, Jones explained that TMG was using multiple datacentres including its own in-house facility, but realised that the group was not adding value to the brand by running its own infrastructure.
"It was about finding a partner rather than us building a site and having people who are experts running a datacentre. We realised it would be better to work with the leaders in the industry who deal with this everyday and, almost outsource the responsibility for being innovative around datacentres to someone else," he said.
Jones explained that the firm looked at a number of datacentre providers before choosing TelecityGroup.
"We are mainly based in the North West and so is Telecity Group, so having that regional capability was vital to us. There are other players in the area but Telecity is the key player. We have a secondary site with Getronics, which is OK as a standby but it does not fulfil all of our key criteria such as peering," he said.
TMG's CIO suggested that peering was something that many customers do not take into account when looking for a datacentre provider.
"It is the internet connectivity they provide with the ability to peer. So for a consumer business being able to peer directly with consumer ISPs is very valuable for a number of reasons. For example, if the user experience is slow, particularly on mobile, then we lose a certain number of consumers. But by being able to peer directly means that you're taking the public internet in many cases off the table and having a direct connection with someone like BT, Sky, O2 or Three to your servers, in your datacentre, in your private cloud," Jones said.
"That reduced latency is very important, as it also helps from an SEO perspective. Google Chrome and Google's toolbar are used frequently by consumers and through peering, Telecity makes sure we've got a speed of response that we can't have with some other datacentre providers. As a result, Google essentially uses telematics which takes into account how well the website is performing, and this in turn helps with our SEO value," he added.
Jones said that the same SEO advantage can be felt for other websites that TMG provides including those for manufacturers Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda and Hyundai.
TelecityGroup also attracted Jones because of its "very strong reputation" and financial muscle.
"They are not a small company whose capital is constrained, so we can have a high level of confidence in their sites," he said.
Last week, the Financial Times claimed that Auto Trader was to shut down its print operation and focus on its digital output. An Auto Trader spokesperson told Computing that it is "considering a proposal about the magazine division" but that "at this stage no decision has been made".
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