December 4, 2009, 12:00 AM

Retail sites fared far worse on Monday than last Friday, says Keynote

Retail sites’ response times on the Friday after Thanksgiving were better than in previous years, according to Keynote Systems. However those improvements didn’t hold up on Monday, as 44% of the sites Keynote monitors experienced significant problems.

Retail sites’ response times on the Friday after Thanksgiving were better than in previous years, according to Keynote Systems Inc., which monitors web site and mobile site performance. However those improvements didn’t hold up on Monday, which is often called Cyber Monday because many consumers shop online that day.

Of the 34 sites monitored by Keynote, only two experienced meltdowns on Friday, which Keynote defines as response times two to three times longer to respond than their peak performance. On Monday, however, six sites had meltdowns and another nine sites had periods in which their response rates were 40-60% slower than usual. Keynote declined to disclose which sites experienced the performance issues.

Apparel sites experienced the majority of Monday’s issues with three sites reporting download times five to times longer than usual, as well as atypically high error rates.

“Monday’s problems were a combination of poor planning, a lack of preparedness and unforeseen events, like a server going out,” says Ben Rushlo, director of competitive research at Keynote Systems. “It’s not like Cyber Monday’s arrival surprises anyone. It’s the same Monday every year, and I don’t think there were enough deals or events this year that would excuse the issue.”

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