Coming off the heels of recently announced low cost and free hosted web application services such as Amazon's S3 and Google Apps, UK based digital asset delivery network Velocix have announced that they are releasing the world's first free content delivery network called Velocix Accelerator, currently in private Beta. We were curious as to why Velocix would make such a move. Chief Marketing Officer John Dillon describes it as one part helping new start ups find a way to distribute content and another part prospecting customers for Velocix's paid services.
Dillion said: "Our Velocix Accelerator free service will help us easily identify the 1 in 20 or so new media start ups that actually have future potential, allowing us to then to share in their success as we continue to service their growing digital delivery needs... Our service will allow them to test their idea and prove its commercial viability. If successful, their audience size will grow over time as will their traffic volumes on our network. Those that had a poor idea and content will simply fade away as they fail to attract an audience."
Naturally, we also wanted to know where the money for this venture was coming from and how Velocix planned to make up for losses, if any, that were incurred from providing Accelerator for free.
To this, Mr. Dillon told us that the service is funded as a "marketing expense" and went on to say that that unsuccessful businesses won't use up much resources, since they'll have no traffic and will end up costing Velocix nothing. More plainly, he said, "Unsuccessful businesses will drive little to no traffic so will be little to no cost to us at all."
Since there's no such thing as a free lunch, Velocix Accelerator does come with some strings attached: there is a limit of 500 GB a month, a 32MB file size limit (the other Velocix services have no limit on file size) and companies can't use Flash Streaming or take advantage of Hybrid P2P downloads.
You can get email support, but 24/7 support is not offered. When you have a look at their page comparing Velocix services, it becomes clear that Velocix Accelerator is an extremely stripped down version of their services and is truly meant for the most beginner and cost conscious of start ups. If your company starts getting popular and you want to upgrade, the next available service is Velocix Accelerator Pro, for US$ 1,000 a month.
Velocix values Accelerator at US$ 8,000 a year. It'll be interesting to see how this pays off for them in the future and whether companies will take advantage of the free service and use it to grow their business and upgrade to Pro, or if companies will attempt to game the system and simply use Accelerator for free until the next free service comes along.