February 3, 2014, 11:38 AM

Test the limit

(Page 3 of 3)

"If you only use one monitoring tool you might be missing something," she says. "There are so many possible users that you have to cover your bases."

Keynote, for example, might catch something that AlertSite misses, she says. Or, if all three vendors sound alerts, the marketplace can piece the information each provides together to quickly identify and resolve the problem. The different vendors provide different information. Keynote makes clear whether the problem is with the site's server, network, application or database; the marketplace's AlertSite tool reports that the script failed but doesn't provide much detail; and another service identifies the general area where the issue arose, she says. And even though AlertSite provides the least detail, it is usually the first alert StubHub receives.

Because Keynote provides the richest detail, StubHub uses it to run about 100 scripts to ensure that the site is loading quickly, while it runs only a handful of its key site elements with the other vendors.

It also uses Keynote to test its mobile site and apps, which launched last August. Mobile is increasingly important for StubHub because it accounted for about half of its traffic last year and about 28% of revenue. But because mobile app monitoring requires using actual mobile devices to monitor performance, it is more expensive than tracking a desktop site, which is why StubHub only uses Keynote to track its mobile performance.

Using several tools in concert has helped keep the online marketplace humming; its site outage time was about 50 minutes in 2013, down from 96 hours two years earlier. That's largely due to the site focusing on performance and availability.

"If someone can't see the ticket on our site because the site isn't loading properly, they aren't going to buy it," Sicker says. Instead, they're clicking elsewhere, leaving the site without making a purchase. That's money left on the table. Finding the right vendor to test and monitor its site can help a retailer find and fix issues before they blow up.

For Things Remembered, those blow-ups were extremely costly. Since it began working with Compuware it has largely avoided outages. And while the vendor's cost is "unreasonably high," Lilien says, its "value is even higher."



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