Microsoft Cloud Authors: Jim Kaskade, Lori MacVittie, Janakiram MSV, Andreas Grabner, Pat Romanski

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
"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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sheng Liang to Keynote at SYS-CON's 19th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1-3, 2016 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Streamlyzer 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. Streamlyzer is a powerful analytics for video streaming service that enables video streaming providers to monitor and analyze QoE (Quality-of-Experience) from end-user devices in real time.
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...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
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 @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
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.
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, will discuss the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docke...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
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...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire 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. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn 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. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...