Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff, Jeev Trika, Olivier Huynh Van, Darren Anstee

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Microsoft Cloud, IoT User Interface, Agile Computing, @DevOpsSummit

Microservices Expo: 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 is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. 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 dev...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
Vidyo, Inc., has joined the Alliance for Open Media. The Alliance for Open Media is a non-profit organization working to define and develop media technologies that address the need for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. As a member of the Alliance, Vidyo will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of an open and royalty-free AOMedia Video codec, AV1. Vidyo’s contributions to the organization will bring to bear its long history of expertise in codec technolo...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, will discuss recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model f...