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Performance Tracking  > 2007 Valentine's Day

WebSitePulse 2007 Valentine's Day Retail Performance Report Summary

The Valentine's Day is over and the shopping period for this popular holiday is over too. WebSitePulse started monitoring the ten most popular websites for this shopping season on February 1st and continued monitoring up until February 14th. To measure the websites performance, we used our Transaction Monitoring service, which simulates the end-user experience with the monitored websites, performing multi-step shopping stransactions from 3 US cities - San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, DC.

This year, the Valentine's Day shopping period was characterized by only one major event, when Diamond.com was unavailable for more than 6 hours during the busiest part of the day. It all started at 8:30 am on February 07. The response time of the monitored transaction started climbing up, and 20 minutes later, at 8:53 am the website was completely unavailable. In addition to the automated monitoring process, our authorized engineers tried to access the website, performing various diagnostic tests from different monitoring locations in the US and other parts of the World, which confirmed the site being inaccessible for online shoppers. The problems continued through the rest of the morning and early afternoon, and at 2:55 pm the website services were completely restored and the response time came down to its normal levels of around 3.5 seconds.

Other minor events were registered through the shopping period:

February 1 - Few problems with Hallmark.com were detected during the first day of the 2007 Valentine's Day Performance Report: initially there was a 15-minute timeout period at the "add to cart" step of the monitored web transaction, and then a much longer period of "Page not found" error when opening the home page of the website. The other website with less than 100% uptime was Victoriassecret.com, where a brief period of site maintenance was detected early in the morning.

February 8 - Much more serious and longer problem again with Hallmark.com was detected this time, when the website was completely unavailable for the whole night, presumably because of unscheduled maintenance or servers upgrade procedures. All checks returned error 404, which is not the nicest way to tell Customers to "come back later". In addition to this availability issue, once the site was working again, the response times did not seem to have been improved which lead to poor website performance results. For a short period of time, Vermonteddybear.com website was redirecting all traffic to their yahoo store, interrupting the shopping transaction at this time, which was detected and noted as an error.

February 12 - The same situation happened as it did last year - Valentine's Day shoppers, who missed the deadline for ordering a real gift and receiving it on time, rushed to Hallmark.com to order e-cards. This resulted in Hallmark.com being down three times for the day - during the night, at around 11 am and just after lunch, totaling in close to an hour of downtime for the day. The rest of the Websites included in the 2007 Valentine's Day Report performed as expected.

February 14 - At the last day of the report, the shopping rush seemed to be over at all monitored e-retailers, except for Hallmark.com, where the average response time was a record high compared to the whole monitoring period for that website. However, even with some timeouts detected, the Hallmark.com website performed much better this year compared to last year - no major service interruptions were recorded.

The overall performance of the online retailers was in line with WebSitePulse expectations: more pressure on the websites when Valentine's Days gifts could be ordered 3-5 days prior to February 14th, and last minute crowds at the "doors" of the websites providing instant expressions of love and affection.

Even though a multitude of factors are playing their role for the overall shopping experience, WebSitePulse strongly believes that website availability and response times are among the most critical ones and they are directly correlated to the End Users' purchasing decisions and behaviors online.

The summarized numbers and averages for the entire monitoring period are shown in the tables below:

Average Response times for the whole period
#TargetSan Francisco, CAChicago, ILWashington, DCAvg. resp. time

Average Uptime for the whole period
#TargetSan Francisco, CAChicago, ILWashington, DCAvg. uptime

Best regards, and takeITeasy™ with WebSitePulse™

Iavor Marinoff, CEO

Report Methodology:
Performance and availability are measured for a typical shopping web transaction at 15 minute monitoring interval every day between the hours of 6AM and 3AM EST. The WebSitePulse application monitoring service is used to collect data and to create the reports.
The steps in each shopping transaction - opening the home page, browsing for a product, adding product to the shopping cart, and secure check out - are comparable for all ten websites, and reflect the real online buyers' experience. The simultaneous monitoring is performed from 3 US locations of the WebSitePulse monitoring network: Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA, and Washington, DC. In case of a detected malfunction or unavailability, the system performs automated error verification from 3 independent resources and only after the above procedure is performed and has returned consistent results, the detected error is confirmed, recorded, and included in the daily performance reports. In these cases, an advanced WebSitePulse exclusive feature comes into play - Forced Monitoring - which automatically switches to a 3 minute - monitoring interval for increased accuracy.

About WebSitePulse:
WebSitePulse is a leading provider of global, independent, and objective availability and performance monitoring of web sites, servers, network components, web applications, e-business- and email round-trip transactions.

For more information about this report please contact:
George T., CTO
phone: 1-407-380-1600

WebSitePulse launched the Performance and Uptime Reports program to keep the general public and the Internet community informed about the performance of specific websites and the challenges their webmasters, owners and operators are facing on a daily basis, especially when the web traffic intensifies due to some special events through the year. Some of the most popular web destinations, related to each particular event, are selected for the purpose of the Reports, and data from their performance measurements is made available on the WebSitePulse public website.

With the intention to broadly disseminate this information for the benefit of the Internet community, we encourage the use of this information without prior approval and under the following Terms and Conditions:
  • WebSitePulse should be referred as the "Source" of the information;
  • WebSitePulse should be acknowledged as the owner of the copyrights of the information in the Reports;
  • The texts of the Reports could be changed or altered to better suit the needs and the style of the publisher without prior notice to WebSitePulse. However, the integrity and the meaning of the information should be preserved;

The Data from the performance measurements cannot be changed or manipulated and should be used "as is".