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Christmas Cheer Businesses IT

Black Friday '14: E-commerce Pages Far Slower Than They Were in 2013 143

An anonymous reader writes Black Friday news kicked off this weekend quite early when Best Buy was hit with a massive outage, but it turns out that was only half the story. The top 50 e-commerce websites were slower overall this year compared to last, suggesting customers were frustrated even if they could get to their favorite shopping site. Web performance monitoring company Catchpoint Systems looked at aggregate performance this weekend and compared it to the same timeframe in 2013. The results are notable: desktop web pages were 19.85 percent slower, while mobile web pages were a whopping 57.21 percent slower.
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Black Friday '14: E-commerce Pages Far Slower Than They Were in 2013

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  • by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @06:09PM (#48493291)
    I don't think a big screen is worth dying for.
    • by oobayly ( 1056050 ) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @06:19PM (#48493363)

      It's only a bargain if you actually need it - not my words, but I did think along the same lines when I was watching the mayhem.

      Black Friday scuffles: 'I got a Dyson but I don’t even know if I want it' []

      Frustrated with not being able to buy a Blaupunkt 40” TV reduced from £299.99 to £149.99, Haggerty rushed to pick up a Dyson Animal Vac, down from £319.99 to £159.99. “I don’t even know how much it costs, I don’t know even know if I’m going to buy it. I just wanted something,” she said. “There are lads in there three, four, five tellies. It’s not fair.”

      One of those lads was Andy Blackett, 30, an estate agent, who had two trolleys full of bargains. “I got two coffee makers, two tablets, two TVs and a stereo,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you the prices, but I know they’re bargains.”

      Makes me proud of the country I live in.

      • What a bunch of fucking morons. Meanwhile here I am reading reviews online to figure out which brand of rechargeable batteries to buy. I want to make sure this ~20$ purchase is the right one. Guess I'm a bad consumer.

        P.S.: It's the Eneloops, apparently.

        • I bought a "kit" of Eneloops a few years ago with a charger and 10 AAs, and it's still going strong. It has very easily paid for itself, probably several times over.

          The Eneloop Pros are even better, they have like a 10%-15% higher capacity. I don't know if that's worth the price.

          I want to find some AAAs now.
          • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

            High capacity Eneloop-Pros are much worse. The main advantage of Eneloops is the isolation layer inside the battery. This improves both their ability to retain charge over time as well as their expected lifetime to almost a quarter of normal AAs. In the high capacity version, this layer is thinned to make room for more active elements, reducing life expectancy of the battery .

            I currently use 3rd gen eneloops (HR-3UTGB). Best AA NI-MH batteries I ever used by far and wide, and I used Ni-Cd and Ni-MH recharge

            • I did notice on reading further about the Pros that the # of projected recharge cycles was far lower.

              By "better" I meant that they have higher capacity. But I did not know of this limitation at the time.

              And after having looked at the prices, my conclusion is that the Eneloop Pro is NOT a very good deal. They cost 50%-100% more, for 10%-15% higher capacity and shorter life. I suppose they might be worthwhile if your application absolutely had to have the highest capacity.

              In any case, I am happy with
        • On the bright side it's nice to have the reassurance that dumb people aren't exclusive to the US.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          I think I'm pretty reasonable. I was looking for a TV. So I waited until Black Friday. Got a $3000 TV from Sears for $700 (46" 8 years ago or so). Still compares well to new TVs (full HD, but not LED).
          • Was needing another monitor for my gaming pc. Checked Best Buy online and they had a very nice 24" Dell Flat Panel monitor for only $99 at Best Buy. Had to work the first half of the day Friday, so went Friday afternoon.

            Store was quite busy, but no lines outside or anywhere. Big stack of the monitors in the computer dept. Got what I needed and didn't have to pile onto a rugby scrum to get it. I can't stand that early morning madness. I always wait to later in the afternoon when the idiots have left.

          • I did a similar thing for a 40" Samsung for $999 many years ago. Quickly discovered that it wasn't nearly as good of a deal as it first appeared though - I actually ended up with a new stripped-down model made specifically to be a Black-Friday door buster, which lacked many of the features of it's lookalike "normal" model. But while I do occasionally wish it had a full complement of HDMI ports, and have my suspicions that the screen quality isn't fully up to snuff, overall it's been quite satisfactory for

            • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
              Strange. Where from? I know Best Buy generally tries to get special deals. I bough a washer-dryer combination there for a lot less than elsewhere, but they weren't directly comparable. The one at Best Buy was XXX-XX-XX-BB and the one at Sears was XXX-XX-XX-SR, or something like that. They code them like a different color, with extra part numbers on the end, do make price-matching impossible. But the units were physically identical. They even had the same part number on the manual and for the manual.
              • Walmart. And yeah, it seems that most everyone runs through stupid no-price-matching shenanigans for large merchants, but there's also the case, like mine, where they release a stripped-down budget model in anticipation of major sales. At first glance it looks very much like the usual shenanigans - same superficial appearance, the usual minor no-comparison variation in model number... but on closer examination is actually a very different model - mine lacked about half the inputs and most of the computatio

                • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
                  Yep. Wal-Mart sucks that way. The Levis you get there are badged the same, but are cheaper material than elsewhere. They do the same with lawn mowers and such (there's a book written by a mower maker that turned down Wal-Mart that goes into details).

                  All sorts of shenanigans are done in the goal of profits. Look at game consoles. They sell for a (small) loss day-1, and replace everything they can that won't break game compatibility with cheaper pieces. Eventually the loss is turned into a profit. Othe
        • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

          Get JCBs, long life, high power and don't cost an absurd amount.

        • I read that after panasonic took over they moved the eneloop production to china and quality took a nosedive, don't know if it's recovered.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        Glad to see shoppers in the UK are as brain dead as American shoppers.

      • Pounds? I didn't even know Black Friday was a thing in Britain. It's not here in Aus.

        • It wasn't - but it got imported very recently. This year was the first I heard of it over here.

          We have the equivalent - Boxing Day (26th December, day after Christmas day) which is when the sales used to start, but for some crazy reason the shops decided to have sales *before* Christmas so everyone popped out and bought their Christmas presents on the cheap. I doubt Boxing day will see the same level of chaos.

      • by pspahn ( 1175617 ) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @07:33PM (#48493765)

        Those Onion articles always crack me up. It's hilarious how close their satire comes to reality ... it's ... erh ... oh.

        • Shit, I didn't think of it like that - I've gone from laughing at these idiots to realising that part of my country's* population are a punch line. Next time I hear somebody over here talk about "Stupid Americans" - I'm going to point them to this article.

          * A non-card carrying British resident, but my English brother-in-law described me as being more English than he is.

          • Hey, still better than those of us who have to face the future knowing that the majority of our country's population are punch lines, and that the politicians embrace that fact with unabashed glee.

      • My favourite related joke: "You know you're working class when your TV is bigger than your bookcase."

        In these people's case, it's probably "if your TV has more inches than you have in IQ points" ;-)

    • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @06:20PM (#48493369) Journal

      Jesus died for your sins. The least you can do is die for a TV. /sarc.

      • Are you suggesting that a TV is a sin? If so, you're probably pretty close to being right. :)
      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        But we're celebrating his birth by buying TVs we don't need. I'll put off dying until late March/early April (check local lunar calendar for exact date) if you don't mind.

    • by plover ( 150551 )

      Clicking "buy now with 1-click" is rarely fatal.

      Or did you mean that you didn't participate in the brick and mortar competitive fracas, which has nothing to do with the response times of web pages, which is what TFA is actually about? Even reading enough of the article title to post what you wrote indicates the story is about web pages, which you can't "die for".

    • Why in the world do retailers let so many bloody people in at a time? isn't there a risk of being sued by those who get injured it is murica? I could never handle shopping like that i am allergic to standing in line to spend money and crowds.
  • excessive scripts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @06:18PM (#48493351) Journal

    Perhaps if those webpages were not laden down with masses of Javascript, doing who knows what, the pages would be faster to load. All that Javascript has to be downloaded from a server somewhere and executed in the browser. It all takes resources.

    Many website developers today seem to think that his/her web pages only need to load on the fastest computers as the sole page open in the browser. I think of them as "greedy" websites, because they are greedy with the end-users' compute resources.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 30, 2014 @06:28PM (#48493407)

      And redirects fifteen deep to other sites to serve adds ....

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Many website developers today seem to think that his/her web pages only need to load on the fastest computers as the sole page open in the browser. I think of them as "greedy" websites, because they are greedy with the end-users' compute resources.

      Would you say Phil's Hobby Shop [] is greedy?

    • The javascript on the primary site I work on takes up about 50% of the page load time. None of it is to do with functionality - it's all analytics or A/B tests or performance measuring stuff. One day something broke with the tool the marketing guys use to insert all that guff, and the site performance doubled. Inspect the DOM tree after it's loaded, and there's 30-50 iframes and script tags that have been dynamically inserted on any given page.

      I'm not against javascript; it's useful for making sites do usef

      • by pooh666 ( 624584 )
        What is the site? This smells of some poor choices, but mixing in A/B with Analytics in your description is not clear. Are your pages fully cached with a CDN? Are there major content decisions made only in the JS?
        • Most of the JS that causes issues are third party scripts from various vendors, loaded from their sites. If their CDN chokes, it affects our site. All the assets we control are accessed via a CDN, and our pages are cached to the extent permissible by their content. It's the arbitrary crap loaded in from third parties (that can't be cached or handed off to our CDN because it's dynamically generated) that screws stuff up.

          • by dave420 ( 699308 )
            So your dev team made some horrific choices, and that's the fault of JavaScript? Interesting.
            • The dev team didn't make any choices at all. The dev team doesn't write their own requirements.

              • by dave420 ( 699308 )
                They have no say in the matter? Then the company in question is a joke, and to blame anything outside the company when that's the state within is sheer insanity.
    • by plopez ( 54068 )

      And only developed for Chrome "bcaz it's kewl"

    • by Razed By TV ( 730353 ) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @10:21PM (#48494529)
      At the risk of sounding like a luddite:
      Off and on I will think about how people want to treat the internet as a utility. We try to conserve water, we try to conserve electricity, we are metered for these. For phones, we pay for minutes, though you can opt for unlimited plans, and the infrastructure is such that unlimited plans don't burden others. For cars, we have gasoline (though technically not a utility), and when gas is cheap, people buy larger vehicles. When the price of gas goes up, people become concerned about gas efficiency.

      Noone is terribly concerned about "conserving" the internet, or conserving computer resources. Every year computers get faster, and every year websites get less efficient. More bloat, bigger images, more script nonsense. They find more ways to update the browser, to make it smarter and yet more bloated. My NoScript and RequestPolicy plugins are so laden with websites that aren't obviously related to the one I'm on. If I'm lucky, there are one or two sites with a related name, or a CDN, and I can allow these and continue on. If not, I sometimes temporarily allow all, sick of going down the rabbit hole and just wanting to get to my destination.

      I'm sure there is an electricity cost related to the extra computing. The time required for page loads is simply time you've wasted, unless you have managed to multitask a few pages. A site taking 15 seconds more than it did a year ago isn't a lot one time, but it adds up page after page, day after day. Even mobile versions of sites, using 4G services, load slower than they did years ago.

      I just want my information, I want it simple, and I want it now. I'm sick of all this crap that is designed to make my life better somehow. I liked my life the way it was. I liked being able to do Verbatim searches on Google and actually getting verbatim results. I don't need fancy maps that take 10 times as long to load, I need simple maps that work fast when the network is congested. I don't need functionality changes to make things look slicker. I want to be able to do more with the hardware I have, and we just keep going in the opposite direction.
    • by pooh666 ( 624584 )
      It isn't the amount, as much as the complexity and the number of different vendors, programmers, companies that are represented. The post a way's up blaming "tracking" is way oversimplified and hitting the wrong issue. How do you debug a page for performance AND MAKE ANY CHANGES, if much of the code you didn't write and you can't change?
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Perhaps if those webpages were not laden down with masses of Javascript, doing who knows what, the pages would be faster to load. All that Javascript has to be downloaded from a server somewhere and executed in the browser. It all takes resources.

      Many website developers today seem to think that his/her web pages only need to load on the fastest computers as the sole page open in the browser. I think of them as "greedy" websites, because they are greedy with the end-users' compute resources.

      The problem is th

      • Those developers may very will need those fancy machines.

        But whoever is doing usability testing should be testing on fast machines, slow machines, new machines, old machines, mobile devices, etc. If they're not, then they aren't doing the job properly.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @06:32PM (#48493441)

    More of the coding needs to be server side or not exist at all.

    The worst is the ads. I turned on NoScript and so many pages just fly now because the stupid javascript isn't allowed to run.

    • by sound+vision ( 884283 ) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @07:10PM (#48493645) Journal
      I recently installed NoScript for security reasons, but I was glad to find the speed improvements too. Also, the NoScript's domain list has shed some light on how many scripts really are on some of these web pages. They have their own scripts, plus several social networking sites, random CDNs, Google analytics, a couple of ad services... Then you hit "temporarily allow all scripts" and the NoScript list shows even more domains and you realize the scripts are being chain-loaded. Some of these sites end up with 25 domains listed. That means you are waiting on 25 servers to respond, 25 DNS lookups, before the scripts even get to executing, which is even worse.
  • FTFA:

    Median webpage response times for desktop websites for the entire group (aggregate) was 3.991 seconds, compared to 3.330 seconds in 2013.

    Do people even notice that? I mean, if I'm getting what I think is a great deal and it takes literally a fraction of a second more for the page to load I don't think I'm going to care.

  • Due to caching, downloading Javascript pays off with faster response if you hit the same site enough times. Neither the article nor the Catchpoint Systems website say how many times they hit the same site, let alone how many times a customer is expected to hit the same site so essentially this article is fluff piece.

  • All of the ISP's have NOT upgraded their backbone for years, they are now overselling it by never before seen levels making even 500Gb Cable Internet feel like DSL.

    The problem is people are not screaming about it to their congress critter forcing ISP's to deliver what they sell. They need to pay a $1000 per user per month fine for not delivering what they promise or advertise.

    That would get the lazy executives at Comcast moving.

  • I've noticed a number of sites are hosted on some kind of content management platform, presumably aloft in the Cloud. Sometimes there's a noticable delay in getting the page to load.
  • "Black Friday" has been happening and advertised since 1 Nov. Friday Nov 28 just happened to be one day in the stream of pseudo sales between 1 Nov and 15 Jan.
  • I gave up browsing at some point, it was so bad. Amazon was a bit slow but worked OK.

  • (disclaimer: opinions expressed do not necessarily represent my own...)
  • There's a whole new generation of JS devs who are complete slobs about dependencies. They will attach the entire Bootstrap library for one plug-in. I've seen libraries that embedded and minified it such that it wasn't even obvious they were using it and they weren't using it for much. 20 megabytes for a !@#$ing restful documentation widget whose own proprietary code was 20,000 lines long. It's just ridiculous. IMO, every client-side web dev should be forced to support IE6, then mobile, then write for the de

  • I'd blame the Cloud
  • If the network is hitting capacity, why would a network company want to invest in higher speeds, if the gov't is going to tell them how to run their network?

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.