December 22, 2011, 10:21 AM

Data center resolution and powerful Verizon network boost

The e-retailer skyrockets 21 positions on the Keynote mobile performance index.

There are many moving parts in the engine that drives mobile commerce site performance. Knock one out and a site can instantly suffer—badly. That’s what happened two weeks ago when e-retailer’s data center experienced equipment problems and went dead for a day. The average success rate—the percentage of the time a site page loads completely and successfully—for the week for’s m-commerce site home page dropped to a terribly unreliable 90.23%.

But the data center resolved its issues and along with some juice from a particularly strong Verizon wireless network went from No. 22 to No. 1 on the weekly Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index, an Internet Retailer exclusive. The e-retailer’s average success rate for the week ending Dec. 18 was 99.20% and its load time—the average time it takes for a page to load completely on a smartphone—was 4.70 seconds. It earned an index score of 972 out of 1,000.

“Unfortunately performance was out of our hands for a bit when we had some down time that week,” says Andrew Brown, co-founder and CEO of LLC, No. 215 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300. “But last week everything was back, and that helped us with the rankings.”

While the data center problem was out of Brown’s hands and caused a problem the week before last, something else that was out of his hands actually helped last week. The wireless network of Verizon was performing exceptionally well in two of the four cities in which mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. takes measurements.

“ made no significant content or infrastructure changes to their mobile site during the last few weeks but benefited significantly from Verizon’s better overall performance originating from Chicago and Dallas,” says Abelardo Gonzalez, mobile web performance expert at Keynote Systems.

Coming in second to on this week’s index is Victoria’s Secret, which had a load time of 4.05 seconds and a success rate of 98.96% for a score of 950. And J.C. Penney came in third with a load time of 5.04 seconds and a success rate of 99.05% for a score of 942.

The average load time for all 30 retailers on the index was 9.08 seconds, the average success rate was 98.35% and the average score was 747.

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 various categories and channels, and of various sizes, ranging from such giants as Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and Inc., to midsized retailers like Sunglass Hut and 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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