3Crowd rolling out its next-gen CDN, called XDN

3Crowd is preparing to roll out a new CDN product, called XDN (Exchange Delivery Network), which it promises will cut the costs of content distribution by “orders of magnitude” while also providing incremental revenues for the owners of network bandwidth and infrastructure that is otherwise unused.

XDN is the culmination of two years of work that 3Crowd has spent building software to intelligently route content over multiple CDNs and the global Internet. Like other CDNs, 3Crowd’s software has been designed to optimize delivery by taking into account various network conditions, bandwidth costs and other factors.

Rather than designing and deploying a purpose-built CDN network using that software, however, XDN aggregates existing network infrastructure by partnering with web hosting companies and other service providers who have excess data center resources and bandwidth. Since it’s not building out any infrastructure of its own, but riding the rails of existing networks, XDN will be able to offer the same performance at a fraction of the price of traditional CDN vendors, according to 3Crowd Founder and CEO Barrett Lyon.

“We’ve gone to networks already built with excess bandwidth capacity and server capacity in place, and we’re tying it together with really good software,” Lyon said. That will provide some network diversity and really great pricing for the customer, he added.

For media companies, that could mean much lower costs for content delivery, by providing an alternative to industry heavyweights Akamai (s AKAM) and Limelight. (s LLNW) For 3Crowd’s network partners, that will mean incremental revenue for infrastructure that otherwise goes unused most of the time.

“We take bandwidth that’s not being used and they get a check for it,” Lyon said. “It doesn’t increase their costs at all, but they get a check. It’s instant ROI for them.”

XDN is in beta with a few customers now, with a broader release scheduled for November. Lyon wasn’t ready to mention any network partners or customers by name, but said that they would be announced at a later time.

3Crowd raised a $6.6 million Series A financing round in April 2010 from Canaan Partners and Storm Ventures in April. The company also raised an angel round late last year from Kevin Rose, Jay Adelson, Storm Ventures and Greenwich Technology Associates.