The technology that bakes the product cake

All the bits you may not have seen or heard about in our latest release, but we couldn’t have done without.

Partner or platform user, at dotdigital, your success is our success. Our innovative product roadmap continues to provide you with an edge over the rest. Our knowledge and support helps you to win more business. We love to see your business grow. It’s part of what pushes us towards our ultimate mission: powering customer engagement across all touchpoints.

This release was all about helping you, our customers, to scale. But baking in the goods (such as multi-store support, abandoned browse, filterable machine-learning recommendations, to name a few) needed the right oven of architecture and data solutions. After all, the technologies that bake the product cake are just as vital as the ingredients list itself. Not only that, but our dotdigital values are built on innovation and trust. To continue the metaphor, it’s the kitchen we work in. So we renovate continuously, making investments in R&D, cyber security, privacy, as well as anti-abuse. 

Here are some of the amazing recent enhancements that we wanted to lift the curtain on for all to see.

WAF (Web Application Firewall) protection

CloudFlare is a service partner of ours which we use for Content Delivery Network (CDN) and web proxy services. We chose to partner with CloudFlare because of shared goals around making the internet a better place for all, with the aim of eradicating spam or content unfit for consumption. Trust and transparency is a key pillar for us and we love the innovation CloudFlare provide. CloudFlare provides a number of services for dotdigital Engagement Cloud and we have continued to increase the rule-sets for our Web Application Firewall blocking more threats than ever before (250,000+ since the our last release in October 2019 alone!) including zero day exploits and bot sign-ups.

Enabling HTTP/3 support 

We are pleased to be able to announce that QUIC and HTTP/3 support is available on dotdigital Engagement Cloud. What is HTTP/3 you say? Good question: this is the new standard for the web, enabling faster, more reliable, and more secure connections to web endpoints like websites and APIs. dotdigital Engagement Cloud customers and their audiences can now interact with our pages, tracking links, web applications, and APIs using HTTP/3. And internet users interacting with our websites and APIs through a browser and other clients can use Chrome Canary to interact with dotdigital Engagement Cloud over HTTP/3. For dotdigital Engagement Cloud users or end customers, this all equates to faster loads, and ensures the session is more secure than ever before. Many browsers will be following suit in the future – we always like to be one step ahead!

You can read more here.

CSAM Scanning Tool

MarTech providers distribute huge volumes of content around the world, every second of every day. dotdigital itself sends many billions of emails, and we host hundreds of thousands of pages. As content custodians, we have a responsibility to keep as many people safe. This is why we have rolled out and enabled CloudFlare’s child sex abuse material (CSAM) tool.

We provide a CDN (Content Distribution Network) service for our millions of customer images. This enables a fast download of images globally when people open and read their emails. This equates to a mesmerizing 500 TB of image traffic being sent out onto the internet each month. To police that data, we now have the ability to automatically block material that is detected within the CSAM category, protecting our platform from this kind of malicious content. To date, I’m glad to say we have never had to implement this blocking or had any cases, but it does help me sleep at night knowing we are doing everything possible to make sure our platform isn’t abused. Not only does it protect the reputation of our customers, ultimately, it makes the internet a better, safer place.

You can read more here.

Geo-mapping of opens

I’m pleased to say we’ve further improved the accuracy of our Geo-mapping data within dotdigital Engagement Cloud. We pioneered this technology with the release of this geo-targeting functionality nearly 10 years ago, and since then our customers have loved being able to visualize and segment on the geographic location of their audience who are opening up their emails. As of last week, this technology is more accurate than ever and there is now a much larger map area to use.

Improvements to campaign sending algorithms and our message queuing architecture

Finally, we have made significant improvements to the way we pre-package our campaign sends, improving the speed of delivery to receivers such as Outlook.com and Gmail. Our engineers have implemented enhanced algorithms, utilizing vastly more engagement data than ever before, to order campaign sends for super fast delivery. Our analogy would be ‘imagine getting your Amazon delivery from a courier’ who drives a Formula 1 car, rather than a white van! Initial performance improvements show a 50% average decrease in delivery time to the receivers, which is phenomenal work from our delivery operations and platform engineering team.

Every day we strive for supreme levels of up-time and performance from our platform for our customers. We were an early adopter of utilizing public cloud resources with our partners Microsoft, Google, and Amazon and as such, it continues to enable us to scale far quicker than our competition. We have multiple services in clusters that interact with each other utilizing a message bus system. We introduced some engineering wizardry to hugely improve how we interact with our core message queuing systems (Microsoft Azure Service Bus). For instance, we introduced peek and lock message patterns, plus increased levels of message retrying in periods where our underlying component services experience connectivity issues.

Phew – it’s been a busy one!

Steve Shaw, CTO, dotdigital

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