You would have to be living under a rock to avoid the hype around new NBA phenom Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks. For those of you who don’t follow basketball, you probably can’t escape hearing about him from other channels whether it’s social media or celebrity news. And on Sunday during a nationally televised game, all that hype came home to roost for the New York Knicks when the team’s web site went down.
According to Yottaa, a web site optimizing company, the web site went down on Sunday when it was flooded with traffic. As the blog post pointed out, the Knicks’ IT folks probably should have been prepared for this and arranged for additional servers to handle the traffic.
Today, it’s fairly easy to scale up during those peak times, purchase extra server space from a cloud vendor, pay for what you use, and scale back when the peak time ends. Perhaps the Knicks’ web team should have have foreseen that during a nationally televised game against the NBA champs with Lin playing, it might end up driving some traffic to the site.
Heck, even Mark Zuckerberg showed up court side for the game.
But the Lin hype has building for weeks, much like Tebow-mania last Fall. You had to expect this was coming on a quiet Sunday afternoon after the Super Bowl is long ended and lots of people would be tuning in to see this kid play.
You may recall we’ve talked about this before. In a post last year called Web Site Delays Cost Real Money, we put a figure on the site being down. Now assume that a good number of those people wanted to by Jeremy Lin gear, a fair bet given his recent popularity, every second that site was down cost real money.
In a now infamous case last Fall, retailer Target had a massive site crash when it launched a low-cost fashion line from Italian designer Missoni and failed to anticipate the huge volume of traffic it would bring — even though it probably should have given the scope of the pre-release hype.
All of these instances should be cautionary tales for any IT pros charged with keeping your company web site up and running. When you know there is going to be a traffic spike, have the resources in place in to deal with it (or even have your cloud provider or content delivery network make sure you have the resources available should need them).
Otherwise, you could end up like the New York Knicks on Sunday afternoon, with all of those Jeremy Lin fans all stocked up and no place to go — and that’s the last thing you want to happen when you have customers lined up for your merchandize and tickets.
Photo of Jeremy Lin by DvYang on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.