Data center woes drive down mobile performance index

December 13, 2011 12:39 PM

Sometimes mobile commerce site performance is out of a retailer’s hands. The merchant’s data center can encounter problems, a wireless carrier’s network can be performing poorly. There are numerous variables that can affect performance. LLC found that out the hard way last week, dropping 12 spots on the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index to No. 22 out of 30. Mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. weekly measures the page load time and load success rate of 30 representative retailers’ m-commerce site home pages for Internet Retailer. It took on average 5.30 seconds for the mobile home page to load, which is fairly swift for a mobile site, but the site loaded successfully only 90.23% of the time, which is very low.

“’s mobile site suffered service interruption and mobile users were redirected to its main e-commerce home page temporarily for approximately half a day. During this period the page load time was much slower because there was a greater amount of content to load,” says Herman Ng, mobile performance evangelist at Keynote Systems. “ also experienced an availability issue over one carrier network for about two days. This caused to drop in success rate by 6.91 percentage points to 90.23%.” was aware of the issues but has little to say. “We had some service interruption at our data center and everything has been resolved,” says Andrew Brown, co-founder and CEO of, No. 215 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300. “Unfortunately it affected our ranking for the week, but we’ll continue to analyze our availability going forward.”

Sears Holdings Corp. topped the index with a load time of 3.58 seconds and a success rate of 99.02% for a score of 1,000. CVS Caremark Corp. came in second with a load time of 4.31 seconds and a success rate of 98.70% for a score of 968. And J.C. Penney Co. Inc. came in third with a load time of 5.38 seconds and a success rate of 98.89% for a score of 958. Sears is No. 21 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300; CVS is No. 92 and J.C. Penney is No. 26.

The index average load time for the week ending Dec. 11 was 9.29 seconds, the average success rate was 97.27% and the average score was 789.

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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