Welcome!

SOA & WOA Authors: Victoria Livschitz, Nikita Ivanov, Greg Schulz, Jim Kaskade, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Java, .NET, AJAX & REA, Web 2.0, DevOps Journal

SOA & WOA: Article

Will These Five Websites Make the Same Mistake Twice During the Big Game?

You spend $4 million on a 30-second ad but you can’t get your website working?

It's that time of the year again where millions of football fanatics (and non-fanatics) will be gathered around their TV watching the biggest match of the season, Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks. Last year the big game reached over 108 million Americans, the third most watched television event in U.S. history.

But what many people probably don't know is that the biggest football game of the season also crashed a ton of websites. That's right, websites. When interested customers went online to claim a promotion or to simply check out a product after the ad they were often welcomed by, "Website down for maintenance."

Really? You spend $4 million on a 30 second ad but you can't get your website working?

Customers weren't too happy about this and gladly expressed their frustration via social media.

In an article posted by IT-World, some reasons why the following websites failed were due to performance issues including improperly integrated social media widgets, bloated images and the use of CDNs with variable performance hits. All really hard things to detect when your website doesn't go live until game day.

We've gathered together five brands whose websites crashed last year. Will they make the same mistake twice? Read on to hear our thoughts.

1. Coca-Cola

In 2013, Coca-Cola decided to put the fate of their big game advertising in the hands of their customers. "The Chase" was meant to be a revolutionary interactive ad aimed to get people onto Coke's website to cast a vote. But the ad was dubbed a swing and a miss by Huffington Post, when people tried to vote Coke's website load time drastically increased causing the entire website, specially made for this advertisement, to crash.

This year Coca-Cola, might be ditching the interactive ad approach after the horrible experience last year. According to MarketingWeek, Jonathan Mildenhall, VP of global advertising and content excellence, tweeted scenes from the commercial shoot of roller skaters and tap dancers. He explains the ad will showcase the American story and Coke's role within that story.

Will Coca-Cola's website crash this year?
We're saying probably not.

Coca-Cola has clearly struggled with the interactive ad approach. What they didn't do (and should have done last year) was load test their specially designed website under geo-realistic load to stress test and discover any issues they might have had before the ad aired. This year we believe they will avoid the interactive ad approach and stick to a more traditional ad, bypassing the need for consumers on their site all at once.

2. Sodastream

Last year was Sodastream's first big game advertisement. The 30 second ad, which was not the original version that was banned by the NFL, caused enough hype about the product to crash their website.

This year they've hired Miss Scarlett Johansson to endorse their product. According to the New York Post, Sodastream released a teaser video starring Johansson on YouTube that caused a 700% increase in consumer interest toward the brand.

So, what will happen this year?

Will Sodastream's website crash this year?
Yes, absolutely.

Why? Scarlett Johansson.

If the teaser video is already generating a 700% jump in consumer interest then it's pretty safe to say Sodastream's website will get some major traffic on February 2nd. Sodastream, we hope you are ready.

3. Audi

Last year, the German car brand took to a familiar American coming of age event: prom night. The story focuses on a boy going to prom alone and how with his dad's Audi makes the night an unforgettable one (spoiler alert: he gets the girl and the car.)

The commercial landed on multiple top funniest commercial lists on YouTube, but the ad actually caused Audi a little stress. The ad significantly decreased the performance speed of their own website, not quite crashing the site entirely but enough to affect the performance of the website for people to notice.

Funny prom commercial, we blame you.

This year the car company is buying one advertising slot for a commercial premiering the Doberhuahua, an odd looking dog who will help promote the new Audi A3. For their teaser video, Sarah McLachlan makes an appearance as an advocate for the misunderstood dog.

The Doberhuahua

Will Audi's website crash this year?
We're not sure on this one.

The Doberhuahua seems a little odd for a car commercial, but it might just be odd enough to drive people to the website. We know their website will definitely fail if they haven't built it right.

But Audi might be following the same trend as last year, a horrible performance crash which won't be good, seeing as people are willing to visit a competitors website instead. According to Google engineers even 400 milliseconds (the blink of an eye) is too long to keep visitors waiting.  "Subconsciously, you don't like to wait," says Arvid Jain, a Google engineer. "Every millisecond matters."

Even if Audi's website is 250 milliseconds slower than a competitor, visitors will opt to spend more time on the competitors website. Something, you don't want happening on game day.

4. Axe

Axe went big last year and sent 25 of their fans to space. Really. The 30 second commercial was designed for interested viewers to enter for their chance to win a ride into space. Using their specially designed website, www.axeapollo.com, viewers could submit their entry but the website only had 88% uptime for the night and the company's homepage had 93% uptime.

Houston we have a problem.

This year Axe will reveal a 30 second commercial, depicting a series of soldiers and tyrants turning towards love. Talk about a powerful message.

Will Axe's website crash this year?
It seems like Axe has shifted away from the interactive ad approach, probably because of the poor lack of performance from their carefully crafted website. Well, that's what they get for not load testing their website prior to the release of their ad.

So we are saying, no the ad won't crash their website since there probably won't be a huge surge of traffic hitting their site.

5. Calvin Klein

Oh, mister Klein. The infamous and often controversial designer put a risque ad out last year with a single male underwear model flexing his impeccable body.

And apparently enough people loved this ad to go over the Klein's website to check out more scantily dressed models. But soon after the commercial aired the website crashed, causing a lot of angry Tweets from consumers.

Will Calvin Klein's website crash this year?
There's actually no saying if the designer has bought an ad this year. But our prediction is if they have bought ad space then their website will certainly crash again. Let's be honest, people who visit the website aren't checking out the ‘product' now, are they?

We can prevent this.
The upside of this big game website crashing phenomenon is that it's completely preventable.

We are hoping this year these companies have figured out how to invest in their websites in a way that is commensurate with the investment they are making in purchasing the ad space. Sure the disconnect between business and IT can always be blamed to some extent, but once you've had a crash from a big promotion in the past, there really isn't an excuse for not at least acknowledging the work that needs to be done to ensure it doesn't happen again.

We know it isn't easy...coming up with a realistic load test that combines the process and tools to accurately incorporate considerations for infrastructure, expected traffic volumes/concurrency/click paths, user location, devices, network conditions etc. isn't usually easy...or cheap for that matter. But at $4 mill for a 30 second spot isn't it worth making sure you get the benefits of all that traffic? For those of you who don't have the time or skill, you might want to look into getting a testing service package to have consultants write and perform these tests for you. You'll likely also appreciate not having to deal with the angry mob of customers firing their complaints via Twitter too.

For more information on load-testing check out our blog post.

More Stories By Tim Hinds

Tim Hinds is the Product Marketing Manager for NeoLoad at Neotys. He has a background in Agile software development, Scrum, Kanban, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing practices.

Previously, Tim was Product Marketing Manager at AccuRev, a company acquired by Micro Focus, where he worked with software configuration management, issue tracking, Agile project management, continuous integration, workflow automation, and distributed version control systems.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.