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Mirror Image Adds Rollover Pricing, Gets Rid of Overage Fees

In what could represent the beginning of a sea change in the way content delivery networks structure their contracts, Mirror Image today introduced its TotalValuePlan. Taking a cue from the wireless industry, the CDN will now allow customers to roll over unused content delivery or streaming media services from one month to the next and will get rid of bursting and overage penalties.

Mirror Image and other CDNs already offer such deals to clients on an individual basis, but the TotalValuePlan marks the first time the company has offered such contracts as part of their standard services. Rather than committing to a contract solely based on length, these clients commit to a contract based on a dollar value of services provided in a given amount of time, whether the services are content delivery, streaming, or Web services. "Once a client has consumed that dollar amount’s worth of service," says Mirror Image CEO John Rozen, "the contract is complete," whether it happens before or after the contract’s time limit expires.

"Most companies don’t want to commit to more than 50% of their predicted traffic" when purchasing services in a time-based contract, Rozen says, meaning they set themselves up for overage fees when they exceed that traffic, or they have to have contracts with multiple CDNs, which can itself pose additional problems. "A lot of customers want or need a second CDN to cover any potential overage with the first," he says, "but they don’t always have the content cached and readily available."

By structuring its TotalValuePlan so it covers all services, Rozen says Mirror Image hopes to encourage 2nd-tier clients to view the company as a "secondary provider for everything, and to experiment with streaming or other services they may have been hesitant to try because of the monthly commitment."

Rozen says the new pricing plan should be especially attractive to retailers, for whom committing to a standard monthly delivery doesn’t make sense, since the retail business is seasonal and unpredictable. "They end up paying for overages during the holiday season, or unused services during the off-season," he says. "We’d allow them to commit to a rate somewhere between the on-peak and off-peak prediction." If clients come to the end of the length of the contract and still have dollars left, they can roll them over into a new contract. If they use up the services before the contract runs out, they’re free to end the contract or begin a new one with Mirror Image. "Of course, we work closely with clients to make sure the time they purchase will cover their needs," Rozen adds.

Mirror Image currently has similar contracts with 10 customers, but the company felt the time was right to take this approach public, says Rozen. "It matures the market," he says, adding that as well as encouraging clients to try out a variety of services, it prevents customers from having to spend time tracking their usage.

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