A Banner Day at Reddit

In response to yesterday’s post about how our site was overwhelmed by Reddit traffic, which was a response to a post two days earlier about the economics of libraries, Reddit co-founder Alexis (knOthing) Ohanian has weighed in on the matter, going so far as to make our Freakonomics apple/orange the Reddit logo of the day.

I don’t know whether to say thank you or … well … yeah, thank you.

Seriously, thanks. Just let me know next time you’re about to send millions of people our way, and we will hire some more people to shovel coal in the boiler room.


kentavos

We used to call this the slashdot effect. I'm not sure if it's still a relevant term, but slashdot.org used to inadvertently crash sites all the time with their readers.

What's interesting to me about all of this is the technical aspect.

Ideally you would be able to predict peaks of traffic and have the necessary resources (servers, bandwidth, switches, etc.) in place to deal with it.

The reality is that you can't predict it and having resources in place just in case is expensive and wasteful.

Which makes me wonder about large news sites like cnn.com and the Internet in general.

I'll never forget how during 9/11 almost every major American news source had its website crippled by the incoming traffic.

Every user in the world was suddenly pounding any online resource for some sort of news and the websites were going down one after another.

I wonder if today, major sites are better prepared for such a situation. I imagine certain sites used to 10's of millions of users every hour, like Google and yahoo, would be fine. But what about everyone else?

Read more...

Luke Collins

I think the truth is that companies such as Amazon face such a large reputational loss if people can't get on the site and buy what they want when they want that they have to be tooled up to service their busiest times (the weekends before Xmas, thanksgiving etc) all year round. The upshot is that they have a huge amount of hardware and bandwidth idle most of the year, which is why they try to rent it to other people.

As for the 9/11 issue, I rem,ember getting quite jumpy in the months after 9/11 when i couldn't get on to key sites such as BBC News - I had made the link in my head between site unavailability and bad news. Most sites tho have now got contingency measures in place - like the much simpler front pages you see on the BBC News site when something major happens.

cherdt

kentavos,

Companies like Akamai help major content providers cope with such traffic spikes. (Check out Akamai's site for some cool real-time infographics.)

Although I don't know a lot about their services, I imagine that they can shift resources from one client to another based on demand.

jedberg

Hi Stephen.

I'm the Jeremy that sent Alexis the blog link (I work at Reddit too). I'm glad you guys liked the logo shoutout.

You mentioned that it would be good if we warned you next time a lot of traffic is coming your way. My suggestion is to read Reddit daily, and then you'll see your links float to the top! :)

kn0thing

I think this Jeremy guy is on to something...

;)

Thanks for the thanks; I was happy to oblige.

-Alexis

kentavos

We used to call this the slashdot effect. I'm not sure if it's still a relevant term, but slashdot.org used to inadvertently crash sites all the time with their readers.

What's interesting to me about all of this is the technical aspect.

Ideally you would be able to predict peaks of traffic and have the necessary resources (servers, bandwidth, switches, etc.) in place to deal with it.

The reality is that you can't predict it and having resources in place just in case is expensive and wasteful.

Which makes me wonder about large news sites like cnn.com and the Internet in general.

I'll never forget how during 9/11 almost every major American news source had its website crippled by the incoming traffic.

Every user in the world was suddenly pounding any online resource for some sort of news and the websites were going down one after another.

I wonder if today, major sites are better prepared for such a situation. I imagine certain sites used to 10's of millions of users every hour, like Google and yahoo, would be fine. But what about everyone else?

Read more...

Luke Collins

I think the truth is that companies such as Amazon face such a large reputational loss if people can't get on the site and buy what they want when they want that they have to be tooled up to service their busiest times (the weekends before Xmas, thanksgiving etc) all year round. The upshot is that they have a huge amount of hardware and bandwidth idle most of the year, which is why they try to rent it to other people.

As for the 9/11 issue, I rem,ember getting quite jumpy in the months after 9/11 when i couldn't get on to key sites such as BBC News - I had made the link in my head between site unavailability and bad news. Most sites tho have now got contingency measures in place - like the much simpler front pages you see on the BBC News site when something major happens.

cherdt

kentavos,

Companies like Akamai help major content providers cope with such traffic spikes. (Check out Akamai's site for some cool real-time infographics.)

Although I don't know a lot about their services, I imagine that they can shift resources from one client to another based on demand.

jedberg

Hi Stephen.

I'm the Jeremy that sent Alexis the blog link (I work at Reddit too). I'm glad you guys liked the logo shoutout.

You mentioned that it would be good if we warned you next time a lot of traffic is coming your way. My suggestion is to read Reddit daily, and then you'll see your links float to the top! :)

kn0thing

I think this Jeremy guy is on to something...

;)

Thanks for the thanks; I was happy to oblige.

-Alexis