April 24, 2012, 1:08 PM

Toolfetch.com fixes a downtime problem and returns to peak performance

The merchant is No. 2 on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index.

Lead Photo

The merchant's m-commerce site home page loaded on average in 4.14 seconds.

Two weeks ago Toolfetch.com LLC came in at No. 3 on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index, which measures how long it takes to load an m-commerce site home page and how often that process is completed successfully. Last week it dropped eight spots to No. 11. This week it’s back near the top again, at No. 2. What happened?

Mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc., which measures the performance of the home pages of the m-commerce sites of 30 retailers every week, says for the week ending April 15 Toolfetch.com had a high error rate. Most of these errors were connection timeouts: The web servers of Toolfetch.com were not sending data, so the smartphones requesting the data stopped the entire process because it was taking too long.

“It turned out we were experiencing downtime roughly around the same time each day,” says Andrew Brown, co-founder and CEO of Toolfetch.com. “We analyzed a few tasks running on our servers and made some tweaks, and we believe the issue was resolved as you can see from the performance boost.”

Additionally, Keynote Systems found performance for all retailers on the chart degraded a bit on Sunday, April 15, and Monday, April 16. The problem stemmed from weaker performance by the Verizon wireless network, says Abelardo Gonzalez, mobile performance expert at Keynote Systems. “The Dallas, Chicago and New York regions all showed increased load times for most sites beginning around noon Pacific time on Sunday, returning to normal around 11 a.m. Pacific time on Monday,” Gonzalez says.

There’s little retailers can do when it comes to weak wireless network performance. This is why it’s good for merchants to keep their m-commerce sites slim and trim, mobile experts say. Sites with fewer kilobytes typically load faster.

Sears Holdings Corp. topped the index for the week ending April 22 with a load time of 3.34 seconds and a success rate of 99.30% for a score of 985 out of 1,000. Toolfecth.com came in second with a load time of 4.14 seconds and a success rate of 99.15% for a score of 969. And Office Depot Inc. came in third with a load time of 5.04 seconds and a success rate of 99.13% for a score of 956.

The index average load time was 10.09 seconds, the average success rate was 97.25% and the average score was 823.

Sears is No. 21 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300. Toolfetch.com is No. 215 and Office Depot is No. 53.

Click here and then click on Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index Part 1 and Part 2 to see this week’s complete results for all 30 retailers on the index.

Keynote Systems measures 30 representative m-commerce sites exclusively for Internet Retailer. The sites include merchants in multiple categories and channels, and of multiple sizes, ranging from such giants as Amazon.com Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut and Toolfetch.com LLC. Keynote tests the sites in the index every hour Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. through midnight Eastern time, emulating four different smartphones on four different wireless networks: Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 on AT&T, the HTC Evo on Sprint, the BlackBerry Curve on T-Mobile and the Droid X on Verizon. The HTC Evo and the Droid X run Google Inc.’s Android operating system. Keynote runs the tests in Chicago, Dallas, New York and San Francisco.

Keynote combines a site’s load time and success rate, equally weighted, into a single score. Given that both performance and availability are important, the score reflects the overall quality of the home page; a higher score indicates better performance. Scores also reflect how close sites are to each other in overall quality. The index average score is the midpoint among all the sites’ scores.

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