failures

Web Performance Fails of the Week – February 27th 2015

Welcome to Web Performance Fails of the Week! Each week we’ll report on some high profile performance nightmares via @PerfNightmares on Twitter.

Don’t forget to check out “15 Web Performance Nightmares and the Damage They Caused”. Everyone loves a bit of is schadenfreude after all.

Who’s been in the spotlight this week?

Adidas – Yeezy Boost flash sale

What happens when one of the biggest celebrities in the world designs a sneaker, unveils it at the Grammys and it goes on sale online? Well, for Adidas Originals, the online sale of Kanye West’s “Yeezy Boosts” went something like this:

Ahead of the European release tomorrow, those wanting a pair of the “extremely limited availability” shoes share the same wish.

Trainsplit.com – Press coverage overloads website

A new website professing to enable visitors to save money on train tickets launch this past week in the form of trainsplit.com. It uses a loophole in the rail ticket booking system to split journeys up into several cheaper tickets as opposed to one more expensive one.

It seems that the process of doing this is quite intensive on their back end systems, especially after press coverage drove more than enough traffic to the site to slow it to a crawl.

TrainSplit

Eventually the site went down altogether.

UK Antarctic Heritage Trust – Job advert crashes website

The UKAHT posted a job advert for four people to work at the Port Lockroy post office off the Antarctic Peninsula. Despite the description (“Can you enthuse to visitors when it is -5C° and blowing a blizzard as well as cook supper cheerfully after a long cold day and very little sleep?”, it cheerily asks), there seems to be plenty of people who find the prospect of living amongst the penguins of Goudier Island attractive, as the website went down.

Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Avoid your own Web Performance Fail

We help blue chip businesses across retail, media, financial services, travel, ticketing and gaming & betting avoid Performance Nightmares by helping them achieve a strategic approach to getting performance right in their applications, as well as implementing tactical fixes. Services include performance testing, performance engineering, APM expertise, web and mobile development, and managed performance and cloud services. Read more about our Performance by Design approach on our website.

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Web Performance Fails of the Week – February 20th 2015

Welcome to Web Performance Fails of the Week! Each week we’ll report on some high profile performance nightmares via @PerfNightmares on Twitter.

Don’t forget to check out “15 Web Performance Nightmares and the Damage They Caused”. Everyone loves a bit of is schadenfreude after all.

Who’s been in the spotlight this week?

Amazon – Outage across Europe

Proving that even the biggest names sometimes slip up, ecommerce juggernaut Amazon suffered a brief but embarrassing outage all over Europe this week, although its US site seemed to be unaffected.

It even affected Amazon’s Fire phones, much to the user base’s chagrin.

VisitIthaca.com – Florida advert breaks website

Ithaca is a popular vacation spot in the state of New York, but with the recent weather not being ideal on the east coast of the US, this local travel website decided to admit defeat and suggest that would-be holiday makers choose to go to sunny Florida instead.

It turned out to be an effective publicity stunt, but a flood of new traffic caused the website to get snowed under.

BQ – Ubuntu phone flash sales

The first phone running the Ubuntu mobile OS was released across Europe today, and demand was so much higher than supply that the website struggled to gracefully cope with several “flash sales” promoted by retailer BQ.com.

It seemed that getting one of the handsets truly was a case of being one of the “lucky ones”, as there didn’t seem to be any queuing or intelligent traffic management systems in place to handle the influx of visitors.

Avoid your own Web Performance Fail

We help blue chip businesses across retail, media, financial services, travel, ticketing and gaming & betting avoid Performance Nightmares by helping them achieve a strategic approach to getting performance right in their applications, as well as implementing tactical fixes. Services include performance testing, performance engineering, APM expertise, web and mobile development, and managed performance and cloud services. Read more about our Performance by Design approach on our website.

Web Performance Fails of the Week – February 13th

Welcome to Web Performance Fails of the Week! Each week we’ll report on some high profile performance nightmares via @PerfNightmares on Twitter.

Don’t forget to check out “15 Web Performance Nightmares and the Damage They Caused”. Everyone loves a bit of is schadenfreude after all.

Who’s been in the spotlight this week?

Spicejet – Low Cost Airfare Deal

Budget Indian airline Spicejet ran into problems this week after offering up super cheap flights on its website this week. It’s hardly surprising there was so much demand, with flights on sale for Rs 599 (£6.25).

spicjet-website-crash_142

Ticketmaster – ticket on-sales affected

Ticketmaster in the States apparently ran into problems this week, which caused disruption to people trying to get tickets to see the likes of AC/DC and the band Barenaked Ladies.

The issues lasted for about an hour and were reportedly caused by an unexpected glitch during a change to the site – but it reinforces the real, tangible impact IT problems can have on businesses (read more on that here).

Travelex – “Happy Hour” sale

Currency exchange website Travelex has a regular “Happy Hour” promotion during which times they offer special discounted exchange rates. This is promoted via social media and a newsletter blast that budding money savers can sign up to receive. This week however, Travelex had to extend the offer to make up for problems it customers had in accessing the offer.

This goes to show that even regular activity can sometimes bring in an unexpected spike in traffic and cause problems to a website, especially with time-limited offers.

Avoid your own Web Performance Fail

We help blue chip businesses across retail, media, financial services, travel, ticketing and gaming & betting avoid Performance Nightmares by helping them achieve a strategic approach to getting performance right in their applications, as well as implementing tactical fixes. Services include performance testing, performance engineering, APM expertise, web and mobile development, and managed performance and cloud services. Read more about our Performance by Design approach on our website.

Web Performance Fails of the Week – February 6th 2015

Welcome to a new feature on the Intechnica blog: Web Performance Fails of the Week! Each week we’ll report on some high profile performance nightmares via @PerfNightmares on Twitter.

One of our most linked to and visited posts from a few years back is “15 Web Performance Nightmares and the Damage They Caused”. But why are people so interested in reading about other people’s “fails” anyway? Part of it is schadenfreude – enjoying the misfortune of others – especially when it’s an established name that surely ought to know better.

But these can also be seen as cautionary tales. Everyone slips up from time to time, and we can all learn valuable lessons about planning ahead, reacting to mistakes and mitigating disasters in future.

So without further ado: Who’s been in the spotlight this week?

Chelsea FC – Transfer Deadline Day

The sports media was buzzing with activity this week as the deadline for clubs to buy footballers came to a close. One of the biggest stories was that of Juan Cuadrado signing for Chelsea FC. So popular was this story that fans managed to crash the site due to overwhelming demand.

Chelsea FC website crash

BT Sport – FA Cup Live Stream

Manchester United clashed with Cambridge United in the FA Cup on Tuesday night, in a game exclusive to BT Sport. Unfortunately those trying to watch the game via the BT Sport website and app couldn’t access the live stream.

This isn’t the first “own goal” by BT Sport, as reported here upon the service’s launch.

Tottenham Hotspur – Capital One Cup Final Ticket Sales

It seems like football is the running theme this week. Tickets went on sale for Tottenham Hotspur season ticket holders to book their seat at Wembley Stadium, where Spurs will meet the aforementioned Chelsea. Despite there being more tickets available than season ticket holders to buy them, the site still became overwhelmed, frustrating hardcore followers of the club.

The club announced an extension of the ticket sales window on their website to make up for the problems.

Avoid your own Web Performance Fail

We help blue chip businesses across retail, media, financial services, travel, ticketing and gaming & betting avoid Performance Nightmares by helping them achieve a strategic approach to getting performance right in their applications, as well as implementing tactical fixes. Services include performance testing, performance engineering, APM expertise, web and mobile development, and managed performance and cloud services. Read more about our Performance by Design approach on our website.

When tech glitches become business problems

Technology and specifically IT are essential to business growth, but IT can become a double-edged sword. When things go wrong, tech glitches become real business problems.

As people begin to expect more out of technology advancements, and these advancements have the potential to improve our day-to-day lives, more and more businesses are looking to innovations and the next progression to support their growth. As we’ve seen in recent years with the demise of traditional brick-and-mortar high street businesses unable to adapt in time to new digital trends (in the past year alone we’ve seen HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops hit hard, and nearly 2,500 stores affected), embracing technology is more important than ever to thrive, especially in the retail space.

However, as important as implementing new technologies is, it’s just as important to get the technology right first time. The investment in IT is now so high that tech glitches are now business problems in the most real way. IT glitches are now recognised as a mainstream issue reported on the front page of newspapers (and perhaps more significantly, virally spread digital news sources and social media discussions).

Chaos at Argos

An IT glitch caused chaos at one of the new Argos digital stores.

One recent high-profile example in the news concerned Argos’s new ground breaking “digital-only” stores. Argos has been a true trailblazer in the “click and collect” genre of retail, and the six new flagship stores are designed to fully embrace the sleek “touch screen”-y experience of the future. However, a technical glitch meant that orders were placed to be collected from these new stores before they were actually opened, leading to a frustrating experience as customers turned up to collect goods only to find closed or unfinished stores.

But it’s not just innovative new initiatives that can cause problems. Even fairly routine progressions and changes can damage business if not carefully implemented. Take, for example, BrandAlley, who brought ire to customers after delays in orders being processed. The cause was a switch to a new IT platform, instigated to prepare for international expansion. IT advancement was necessary to grow, but ended up causing a real business issue. BrandAlley has since given out vouchers worth £25 each to affected customers to save face.

I’ve written about a lot of performance specific tech glitches that cost businesses a lot of money and lost trust from customers on the blog before – from the Facebook IPO crashing NASDAQ leading to legal action, to the BT Sport app being unprepared for demand on the first day of the Premier League – and since performance issues are typically much more difficult to put right than functional issues (just look at the ongoing Healthcare.gov fiasco in the US), it really makes so much sense to pay close attention to performance. Just look at how much poor performance can damage brand and revenues.

So with the pace of IT advancement ever quickening, and our need to see the next advancements growing at least as quickly, just as important as keeping up with the “wave of the future” is making sure these changes don’t do more harm than good. After all, tech glitches ARE business problems.

“High traffic” to blame for TSB website crash after split from Lloyds

Image: Twitter / @matt_lad87

Image: Twitter / @matt_lad87

Lloyds TSB customers were left frustrated by an IT glitch this morning, as “unexpected volumes of traffic” caused online banking to become inaccessible on the newly launched TSB website.

The TSB brand had split from Lloyds in compliance with competition rules. The banks had hoped to seamlessly transition customer accounts over to TSB, but this morning online banking customers were greeted with images like the one featured to the right.

Those affected took to social media to seek answers from the brands themselves, as well as to publicly express their displeasure at the service.

https://twitter.com/Joe90stevens/status/377062662779469824

This is hardly the first time in recent memory that a bank has come under fire for their online services not meeting customer expectations. While moving banks is a somewhat daunting task, this is the type of incident that sparks people to switch services. With competition between banks so high, one has to wonder how many customers Lloyds and TSB have lost today.

At Intechnica we have tailored a service specifically to cope with the sudden spikes in traffic associated with launch days, sale days and other major events critical to a business. Click here to find out how Event Performance Management can help your site stay fast and reliable when it matters most (Slideshare).

BT Sport app suffers performance nightmare on first day of Premier League

In an embarrassing “own goal” type gaff, BT Sport’s brand new app made victims out of its users this weekend, preventing many from watching the critical first game of the new season.

For football fans across the UK, Saturday was one of the biggest days of the year – the first day of the new season. It was also a big day for BT Sport, the new live sports offering from BT going head to head with Sky Sports.

One of the key elements to BT Sport’s offering are the apps for iOS and Android devices, which have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times since its release over the summer.

Unfortunately for fans and the emergent broadcaster, the apps scored an own goal on the big day, preventing many from watching their favourite teams once the matches got underway.

BT received a barrage of complaints via Twitter and in the form of negative reviews in each app store:

Unfavourable reviews of the BT Sports app in the Google Play store

Unfavourable reviews of the BT Sports app in the Google Play store

BT responded to many of the complaints directly on Twitter, and managed to fix the issues in time for the second half – but the damage was done for many users. It just goes to show that the performance of an app or website goes a long way in customer satisfaction and loyalty. And it’s an expensive mistake when research has shown that 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.

Want to read about some other performance nightmares that caused headaches for businesses and their customers? Read our post “15 Web Performance Nightmares and the damage they caused“.