Cloudlayer.io is a shady service and here’s why
Normally we showcase all competitors and the current state of the PDF conversion market. Here’s a list of all the players we could find as of August 2020. It’s good for the growth of the industry. However, recently a new service who call themselves cloudlayer.io just launched and they are pretty shady. Buyer beware.
Cloudlayer.io is insensitive to privacy. Market research and outbound sales is normal for any SaaS, even aggressive outreach is expected. First, they go through all of api2pdf‘s twitter followers, which in and of itself is nothing. But then they stalked each person’s profile and sent emails to individual’s personal email accounts. I know this because some of our customers reached out to me to let me know that cloudlayer has spammed them personally. Here’s a copy of the email.
Cloudlayer.io uses shady pricing tactics. Here at Api2Pdf, we are proud in our transparent pricing and how cheap we are. In Cloudlayer’s attempt to clone our service, they copied our pricing model too. That’s fine and all, but their claim that they are cheaper is extremely shady. Our prices are currently $1/mo + $.001 per mb + $0.00019551 per sec. Cloudlayer’s pricing is $1/mo + $0.0098 + $.000194 per sec.
The difference is so incredibly negligible. Over thousands of conversions, it might be 1 or 2 cents less. It is quite clear Cloudlayer.io is using shady marketing tactics to target our customers.
Unclear where Cloudlayer.io is based out of. Cloudlayer’s help documentation states they are based out of Virginia, USA. Nothing wrong with that, but we are too — and given the fact they have attempted to clone everything else about our service, the statement that they are from the same place we are is suspect. No evidence has been provided they are from Virginia to date.
Unclear what Cloudlayer.io’s architecture is. Cloudlayer’s documentation says that they run on Google Data Centers all around the world. Api2Pdf announced that we moved to Google Cloud a while ago. But what makes this strange is that Api2Pdf does not have a rate limit on the API, however Cloudlayer imposes an arbitrary limit of 60 requests per minute. This does not make any sense if they built it properly on Cloud Run. So that leaves two possibilities: 1) They are not built on Cloud Run or serverless, and the 60 req/sec limit is there to protect their service from going down because they cannot scale. 2) They did not build their architecture properly on serverless.
Unfinished documentation on Cloudlayer.io’s site. You can tell they launched their service in a hurry because their documentation currently claims that you can specify advanced options with your HTML to PDF conversion, but they do not have any advanced options.
Final thoughts. Cloudlayer.io offers basic html to pdf / html to image with basically no advanced options (can’t even specify header and footers). They are insensitive to privacy by spamming people’s personal emails. They use shady pricing tactics to claim they are cheaper than us. It’s unclear where they are based out of. Their architecture is a black box. They have unreasonable rate limits. They do not offer any benefit in functionality.
Stay away from Cloudlayer.io!