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Outclip by Catchpoint: Manage third party content and keep their performance in check

Poor performance of third-party content is one of the biggest concerns today for web publishers, e-commerce, and marketers. By including JavaScript tags for online advertisements, widgets, analytics, etc – the performance of a website becomes highly dependent on the third-party.

Problems by such content can translate into content unavailability or loss of functionality, and users associate the problem with the website and the brand – not with the third-party that actually caused it. At Catchpoint we believe that monitoring such content and having SLAs with your partners or vendors is key to ensuring excellent performance, however we have come to believe that monitoring alone is not sufficient in solving the problem. There has been a better way to manage such content, and mitigate the risks associated with it – without having to drop the partner/vendor (especially when it provides value like revenue or marketing services).

We have been looking at the issue since we started Catchpoint in 2008, and finally we had some time to implement one of the ideas and build a product around it. Today we are launching the product, Outclip, in private Beta,  free of charge to a limited number of companies in order to gather feedback before launching to everyone.

Outclip allows websites to:

  1. Manage third party tags from a central location. It gives you the ability to modify the tags on a single interface, rather than modifying pages, templates, code. You can also deactivate/activate a third party as needed.
  2. Optimize the rendering of the tags so that it improves the performance of the website content. The solution helps in decreasing three key metrics Render Start, DOM Load, and Document Complete. It achieves these benefits by loading the content post document complete (or when the onload event).
  3. Mitigate the risks associated with poor performance of third party content. By not having the external script tag on the HTML, and loading them once the document loading has completed – any performance issues that the party is experiencing is not going to impact your webpage.

Our aim was to reach the above objectives while still keeping certain functionality intact including:

  • Passing correct referrer information to the third party (which is important to advertisements and analytics).
  • Keeping the ability to pass dynamic information to the third party (key-values).
  • Being able to deliver any advertisements as without Outclip.

Outclip relies heavily on JavaScript and iframes to achieve all these benefits. We have done our best to minify the code and optimize it for high performance (and we will keep working to make it better). The solution adds an additional request to the page, which is cacheable and served by a CDN with global presence. The additional JavaScript request is loaded by the same mechanism that third-party content is delivered – to mitigate any performance problems it can cause. The solution works on modern browsers with JavaScript capabilities including: Internet Explorer 6+, Firefox 2+, Chrome 7+, Opera 10 +, Safari 5+.

If you are a web publisher or e-commerce site depending heavily on third-party content, and are interested in participating in the beta program please register at http://www.outclip.com

The Catchpoint Team.

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Posted on: December 7th, 2010

Category: Monitoring

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