Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, John Basso, Pat Romanski, Kevin Benedict

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
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps 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. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, discussed how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technologi...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...