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Brad's Deals is an online shopping platform that curates the best deals on the internet from more than 800 retailers. The company grew from a one-person operation in 2001 to a team of 80 serving 5.5 million users each month.
Industry: Ecommerce, Retail
Location: North America
Customer since: 2019

Favorite features
Image Optimizer
KV Store
Next-Gen WAF

Brad’s Deals moves to the edge and slashes time-to-load with Fastly Compute

The challenge

Brad's Deals consumer advocates scour the web to find exclusive deals, limited-time promotions, and other savings opportunities from thousands of top brands and retailers, then present those to users in personalized web pages, newsletters, and emails. Savvy shoppers come to Brad's Deals to enhance their online shopping experience, which means they expect fresh content, brilliant images, and instant page loads all day, every day. Meeting those expectations led Brad's Deals to move more of their technology stack to the edge.

The solution

"We got a big win right away just by putting our website on Fastly's CDN," said Keith Mazanec, director of software engineering at Brad's Deals. Serving more content from the edge and bypassing the origin led to a massive improvement in speed. Then Mazanec learned about Fastly Compute. "It was clear that Fastly had a vision for Compute. We recognized the opportunities it offered to enhance performance, and now we're using Compute to run more and more services on the edge," Mazanec said. The success of that move also spurred Brad's Deals to move their security and authentication layers to the edge and implement Fastly's Next Gen WAF.

Brad's Deals delivers richer imagery instantly with Fastly Image Optimizer

"We're a retail-focused website," said Mazanec, "and retail is very focused on images." If images aren't resized, they can take forever to load, but manually resizing them is a laborious effort that takes time away from crucial work. Using Fastly Image Optimizer at the edge to dynamically resize images on the fly lets editors focus on finding great content and frees the design team to expand the ways they use imagery. It also cut the image bandwidth in their emails to customers by 50%. "That was a huge, huge win," said Mazanec. "It was such a simple thing to do, and it made our emails load much faster, which is important when consumers want things to be immediate."

Consumers hit the content they want in milliseconds with Fastly's KV Store

After 22 years in business, Brad's Deals has produced a lot of content, but its users are looking for the most up-to-date information. Redirects are an easy way to ensure that readers always see the most relevant content, but the slow process of sending a request for old content and then a redirect through the origin server can take more than a second, adding up to an unacceptable time-to-load. That's why Brad's Deals implemented Fastly's KV Store, which stores data at the edge in the form of key-value pairs. According to Mazanec, "Using the KV store, we have all of that happening at the edge, so we hit the redirect immediately, and the user can go on to find the content they actually want. And because that content is also served from the edge, the whole round trip of a redirect and landing on the next page takes 50 milliseconds." That's a 95% improvement in one of the most critical metrics to website users—plus, it cuts storage and egress costs. The flexibility of the KV store has also prompted Brad's Deals to find more and more uses for it, including scaling up its personalization for users by leveraging the KV Store to keep data as close to the user as possible.

Security goes proactive with Fastly's Next-Gen WAF

Preventing malicious traffic is a major headache for retail sites: slowing traffic and overblocking will drive consumers away, and even a benign bot can skew essential data. Using the Next-Gen WAF has been a game changer for Brad's Deals, according to Mazanec: "Rather than having our analytics team come to me a week later and ask 'what's this spike in clicks?' I can see right in Slack when a bot is calling the site, and most of the time, it just gets blocked automatically." Brad's Deals also counts on Fastly to keep up with new vulnerabilities. "I love that when a new exploit comes out, Fastly has a patch almost immediately that either can be applied with just a click or is just applied automatically," Mazanec said. "We get a proactive fix at the edge right away with the Next-Gen WAF, which is awesome."

Key takeaway

Moving more to the edge has given Brad's Deals the speed and security that ensures customers have the best possible experience every time, on the website or in newsletters and emails. And because Fastly solutions handle most content delivery and security issues automatically, Brad's Deals staff has more time to find exclusive deals and continue enhancing user experience, so customers keep coming back.

"Fastly is actually interested in what's going on in our business and the problems we're trying to solve. I think that's amazing."

Keith Mazanec
Director of software engineering at Brad's Deals

"I love how I can just pull up the Fastly dashboard and immediately see how the site is performing and how the traffic is looking. That observability makes it easy to diagnose problems and keep the site up and running."

Keith Mazanec
Director of software engineering at Brad's Deals

"The simplicity of it all is one of the things we love about Fastly. The integration and the seamlessness of the Fastly platform makes it so easy to use."

Keith Mazanec
Director of software engineering at Brad's Deals

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