On February 4, 2004, an enviable fellow geek shared a strange new website with the rest of the world that would literally impact everyone’s class reunions forever. Today is the 7th birthday of Facebook.
Sites Can Grow Exponentially
The four founders were Harvard students and started the site from their dorm room. The idea was only for college students. It’s immediate popularity drove them to expand to Columbia, Yale, and Stanford – within 1 month!
It only took Facebook 10 months to reach 1 million active users!!
It is not hyperbole to say that this single web application not only change the life of college students, but eventually the world as a whole. Initially it was a way for young men to creep on hot girls and find other students for sharing class notes or previous tests has now evolved into a way for young men to creep on hot girls and pretend they didn’t see their grandmother’s posting of their baby pictures.
This little college website now is a huge marketing phenomenon with about one-half a BILLION people signed up and 50% of those are on the site daily. It has guaranteed that anyone who was living the single college carefree lifestyle in the past 5 years will always have a haunting fear that an incriminating picture will expose their sins later in life. I guess the future Bill Clintons won’t be running for president after all. Facebook has changed our lives in ways we can’t imagine. I wonder how many marriages will end from the distrust created by the stomach-turning photo of a spouse (from earlier days) found through a tag notice.
Facebook grew so quickly that they went from a dorm room company to receiving $13 million in venture capital a year later. So what? Why does this have anything to do with load testing? Well, for one thing…it could be your site. Your new brain child may seem crazy to some people, and it is very common for others to look at an online idea with an “I don’t get it” attitude. Don’t you suspect that Zuckerberg had to explain it a few times before people caught on to the value of it? Your site could be exactly the same.
Your Web Application Could Be The Next Facebook
Are you ready for quick growth? Do you have plans for success of your web application? Is your site capable of handling the crush of traffic when you are surprised by how fast the word spread overnight? What is the number of concurrent users that can be on your site while still having a less than 3 second response time? If you don’t know, then you better start praying.
The stories are everywhere of sites that were victims of their own success. The database crashed. The caching was configured improperly and 1,000 customers were lost (at an average $250 purchase). Subscribers have jammed the customer support lines complaining about slow response. Prospects went away forever because the site was down. Millions of dollars are spent for 30 seconds of advertisement on the Super Bowl, and yet, every single year there are reports of those advertisers’ sites crashing during the game because it could not take the hit. $ millions wasted!
Even Moderate Sites Need Load Testing
Your site may not be Facebook, and you may not be advertising this Sunday, but I can assure you that you need to prepare for growth. It will catch you off guard because you never know when someone well-connected is going to submit your site to Digg or a reporter from an online content site is going to like your site enough to share it. That will be the day your traffic goes from an average of 100 visitors per day to 10,000 per hour. I know, we have experienced that. You probably won’t expect it to come from Russia or Indonesia or Bangladesh or Israel or Pakistan. We didn’t either – but that’s what happened.
How many times have we heard of server failure from large companies? Almost daily. Why don’t we hear more about the small companies having website failures due to heavy load? We don’t hear about them because they are small. However, the lost revenue from poor performance or outage hurts those little companies much worse than the big companies. Some of those small web companies never recover. Online customers are impatient and unforgiving. They WILL NOT come back if you make them wait.
So as you enjoy some of these cool Facebook facts below, stop to think about your web success. Contemplate the scalability of your infrastructure. Review your Google Analytics reports. Dream of the growth you can enjoy when social media catches wind of the awesomeness that is your site. Picture your depression when the biggest day of your business life is spoiled by the horrible stress that is yours from knowing your site went down when Slashdot linked to it. Why torture yourself? Why not be a prudent and wise business person and do some load testing immediately?
Celebrate Facebook’s birthday with answering those burning questions about your site’s performance. Run a load test of 500 concurrent users. It only takes an hour or two to get some test results. You don’t need a professional performance engineer nor the $300/hour cost. You can set up a simple test plan yourself and run a load test of 500 users for $19.95. If all goes well, try load testing for 5,000 users. It only costs $199. Isn’t that an ounce of prevention that prevents the pound of pain heading your way when success comes knocking on your online door?
Besides, you can take a tour first to see if you like it. You can also get a free account, build a test scenario, and run a test for 25 concurrent users – ABSOLUTELY FREE!
Amazing Facebook Facts
- There are about 1,000,000 developers building applications for Facebook
- Entrepreneurs and developers from more than 190 countries build with Facebook Platform
- The market value of Facebook is about $11,000,000,000
- A Facebook post in December 2009 led to a kidney donation
- Farmville boasts more than 60 million players on Facebook. Zynga—the maker of Farmville, Mafia Wars, and other Facebook games—boasts an annual revenue of more than $200 million
- About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
- Facebook’s fastest growing segment in the United States is women 55 years and older
- People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
- More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.
- More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook; an average of 10,000 new sites daily
- In Australia it is valid protocol to serve court notices to defendants on Facebook. A summons posted on Facebook is legally binding.
- There are more than 200 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices
- The average user spends an hour on Facebook – every day!
- There are more than 70 translations available on the site
- Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application
- If Facebook were a country, it would be the third-largest country in the world, after China and India
- People on Facebook install 20 million applications every day
- Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites
- It took Facebook 5 years to grow from 1 million to 300 million users, but it only took 5 months to grow from 300 to 400 million users
- Facebook users over the age 26 now represent 60% of the total U.S. Facebook population
- The top Facebook Page by number of fans is Texas Hold-em Poker; ironically, the Facebook Page is #6 most popular
- 10% of university admissions officers use Facebook to evaluate applicants, and 38% of what they see negatively affects applicants
- A 20-year-old IBM employee in Canada lost sick leave benefits from her insurer because her Facebook page showed “cheerful” photos while she was on paid sick leave for depression.
- The average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
- Mark Zuckerberg has “Harvard Graduate” on his profile, but he dropped out to run Facebook
- Facebook gets more traffic than any other site except Google