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The Internet Government United States News Politics

Political Sites Scale Up For Election Traffic 68

miller60 writes "News sites and political blogs are expecting extraordinary traffic tonight as Americans track results of the Presidential election, and are scaling their infrastructure to meet the challenge. Yahoo anticipates its Election Night traffic may be three times the volume seen in 2004, when it had 80 million page views on Election Day and 142 million more visits the following day. Hosting companies say customers have been ordering extra servers and load balancing services, while content delivery networks are also expecting a busy night. Will traffic approach record levels? Akamai's Net Usage Index, which tracks traffic to its customer news sites, is one metric to watch."
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Political Sites Scale Up For Election Traffic

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  • by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) * on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @12:21PM (#25627659) Homepage
    Since so many people are checking online, I bet TV viewership goes down - be interesting to compare and see how strong an inverse relationship it ends up being.

    I.e. in the old days, everyone would watch the TV anchors drone on so they could hear a snippet what each particular viewer was interested in. But using pull (instead of push) technology, you can zoom in on what you are interested in much more quickly and efficiently.

    P.S. In the meantime, I'm support the HULK for President! ;-) [komar.org]
    • by garaged ( 579941 )

      my guess is that most people will be watching TV and browsing sites, at least that's what I do.

      There is a lot of people watching tv on bed, with the laptop right beside them.

      • by fishbowl ( 7759 )

        >There is a lot of people watching tv on bed, with the laptop right beside them.

        That's just sad.

        • by garaged ( 579941 )

          don't you ever get some rest ??

          • by fishbowl ( 7759 )

            >don't you ever get some rest ??


            More importantly, I don't have a TV. When I did have one, it wasn't in my bedroom.

            As a musician (pianist), I learned two things a long time ago:

            1. TV sucks time. I *need* that time to split between my two careers and various hobbies.

            2. TV takes up space. I have never had a home with enough room for both a TV and a grand piano.

            • That piano must be a tight fit if it precludes owning a TV. Also, given that you appear to have a computer, a TV would take no additional space if you used a tuner card. If TV's not for you that's just fine, but #2 seems like an odd rationale.
              • by fishbowl ( 7759 )

                A grand piano is a big piece of furniture. Modest housing usually has room, in my experience, for a TV and the line-of-sight for the TV, but rarely has enough room for a piano. Solution is obvious. It may be an "odd rationale" for someone who isn't a musician. My day job is in engineering, but my career is a professional musician, so it's a primary consideration.

                • You've misunderstood my point - what I was getting at was that compared to the amount of space required for your piano, the additional space required for a TV is pretty small (although I foolishly neglected to consider fully the line of sight).

                  I didn't mean that owning the piano was odd - I'm in no real sense a musician; more of a wannabe unfortunately. Even still, if I had the space and the cash I'd have a piano in a heartbeat.

                  But I'd still find room for my TV!

    • by dmomo ( 256005 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @12:46PM (#25628201)

      It's funny, this ability to pull info like that. Like you said, we used to wait for that snippet of information. Now that I can get it right away, I find myself constantly refreshing looking for change in the data. I look at the numbers and watch the votes come trickling in. Still, I want more data. It's a weird obsession. The more we get, the more we want. Oddly, no matter how much there is, I always feel a little unfulfilled. Can one be addicted to information?

      • by ciderVisor ( 1318765 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @12:53PM (#25628345)

        F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5

      • No matter how long I stare at a download bar, particularly a Bittorrent one, it always seems to take twice as long as it really does.
        • No matter how long I stare at a download bar, particularly a Bittorrent one, it always seems to take twice as long as it really does.

          Why of course. It runs slower and will never finish while you look. You're collapsing the wavefunction.

      • The more we get, the more we want. Oddly, no matter how much there is, I always feel a little unfulfilled. Can one be addicted to information?

        Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.


        I said, I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.


        Godammit, give me the newsletter already!

    • Or instead of hoping from TV channel to TV Channel, people will hop from a information channel to another channel. I have noticed in the past 20 years a vast increase in the quantity of information that people demand - not in the quality - for late breaking hot news. Only the tempo has picked up.
  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @12:34PM (#25627963) Homepage

    All I want is something I can subscribe to that will "ring" when the election gets called. I want to know as soon as its called so I can flip on the TV and watch the acceptance/submission speeches but I don't want to keep polling a website.

    A simple SMS of "Obama has won... Wheeeee" or "Oh Fuck its Palin" would be sufficient.

    Anyone know where I can get it?

  • Stick it all on a virtual cloud 2.0 with dynamic load balancing and retarded fallover and have done with it.

    On second thoughts, just stick it. I've had enough, I'm moving to a commune in Vermont.

  • Not Just the US (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whencanistop ( 1224156 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @12:49PM (#25628267) Homepage Journal
    To be fair, Yahoo will have to cope with all those people outside the US (yeah, I know - we don't count) who are looking for detailed analysis of the result that they just can't get on TV.

    I don't know why you'd be checking Yahoo! news though. Surely you'd opt for one of the news organisations that has a history of journalism (eg BBC or Reuters).

    Maybe it is just me.
    • by budword ( 680846 )
      This is the USA. We don't have journalism here. We just have corporations that pretend to be journalistic while serving up entertainment, to drive an advertising revenue stream. So there is no advantage in NOT going to yahoo.
  • Other neat metrics (Score:4, Informative)

    by Yonkeltron ( 720465 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @12:50PM (#25628277) Homepage
    Also of note for looking at metrics today: http://www.internettrafficreport.com/ [internettr...report.com] http://www.internetpulse.net/ [internetpulse.net]
  • No kidding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @12:50PM (#25628295)

    It took me 2.5 hours to vote this morning. There was a line waiting to vote that was starting to wrap around the entire outside of the school, its parking lot and all the way up inside toward the very back of the school. I've never seen this many people interested in voting, and I live on the outskirts of Northern Virginia (Herndon, to be exact) where we really don't have that many people.

    • by dpilot ( 134227 )

      My town has had 28% of the vote in early. Even if the turnout is above average, it seems to me that it'll have to be more than 28% above average for the poll lines to get longer. I came into work early, so I can leave early and pick up my daughter for her first Presidential vote. I've missed the opening rush and the lunchtime rush. I hope to get there before the after-work rush.

    • It took me 2hrs. Yes, lots of people interested in voting.
    • by David_W ( 35680 )

      It took me 2.5 hours to vote this morning... and I live on the outskirts of Northern Virginia (Herndon, to be exact)

      Apparently the secret was to wait until the afternoon. I'm in Herndon too (outside the town limits) and voted around 4pm. Took 5 minutes.

  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot.davidgerard@co@uk> on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @12:54PM (#25628363) Homepage

    BOOTH OF DESPAIR, Ohio, Tuesday - Americans today committed egregious acts of democracy [today.com] to elect the next failed administration and the next failed Congress.

    In a fabulous upset, almost no-one could bring themselves to vote directly for either of the official candidates, instead opting for a write-in vote. Popular write-ins included "the black guy", "the old guy", "McCain from 2000" and "Tina Fey." The seventeen votes for "The Invisible Man" were tallied for Joe Biden. Several tons of Liquid Paper needed to be scraped off voting machines.

    The winning candidate turned out to be Noneof Theabove, 46, of Dogshit, Nebraska. Apart from the Presidency, Mr Theabove won 72% of Congressional seats and all Senate seats up for election this year.

    Mr Theabove's policies include drinking, shouting abuse at the television and inchoate existential despair. "He completely embodies the national mood," said Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, just before applying for a new job flipping burgers.

    A majority of US soldiers in Afghanistan stated the place was "just fine, really" and they were learning to speak Pashto rather than returning. Canada looked south and snickered, though not very much as they still had Stephen Harper to cope with. The Kingdom of Mexico stated its "regret" today that it has had to close its borders to American refugees.

  • My father has a dutch site giving links to sites covering the elections (http://www.digischool.nl/gs/community/vsverkiezingen.htm , for those interested). THe site never gets more than ca. 100 views a day, today it has surpassed 1100. I expect that next week the page can be archived due to a lack of views.

    • I thought you were about to say your dad was Andrew Tanenbaum!
      • Nope, I went to one of his lectures once. It was about Minix. At the end he all gave us a free Minix CD. I tried to boot it, but it failed. That was the end of my Minix experience :)

  • So, they're trying to stop their sites getting ballotted? No? Anyone?
    I'll get my coat.
  • Confucius once said: "the one who in the evening feels itchy in his ass, next morning gets his small finger stinking"
  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @02:28PM (#25630143)

    142 million visits in one day is about ~1640 visits per second. However, traffic isn't distributed evenly - typically peak is twice that of average. So they need to be provisioned to handle ~3287 visits per second.

    They'll also want some headroom to ensure they can still serve in case of hardware failure, so let's imagine they provision for 4000 visits/second.

    The Yahoo homepage, at least for me, triggers about 32 file loads on a cold cache, so that's a peak hits per second of about 128,000.

    For comparison, Akamai globally peaks at about 6.5 million hits/second [akamai.com].

    • Sorry, I forgot something whilst doing the calculations. Yahoo said that's what they handled in 2004 and that they want to be ready for 3x that last year. So for their homepage alone they'd need about 384,000 hits/sec of capacity. That's just the Yahoo home page, and ignores clickthroughs to other parts of the site. It does assume everybody hits the site on a cold cache though. Most likely a lot of those users are Yahoo regulars and they'll only have to load 7 or 8 files instead of 32. So actual traffic won

  • I can't find a real good reason to vote.

    Our candidates are Coke and Pepsi, both cola and I'm not into cola. Don't care much who wins because whoever does will be a member of the one party elite.

    • Our candidates are Coke and Pepsi, both cola and I'm not into cola.

      So instead of going out and voting for Sprite or 7-Up since they "can't win", you're not even going to bother to vote? It's people like you who are the reason we keep having cola year after year after year.

      (Don't get me wrong though, just because it pisses me off that doesn't mean I won't support your right to not vote.)

      • I wanted to vote for Kucinich, but since he officially dropped out, I went with Ron Paul. It's ok to vote 3rd party. There's someone out there that thinks the same way you do. Will they win? No. But you can still vote for them.
      • by k1e0x ( 1040314 )

        No, I'm voting (for Baldwin) I'm just not following the news.

    • You're telling me that 1) your state had just two people running for President? ( My State PA, had 5, and we're as backwards as it comes. b) You can't write in someone?

  • "Will traffic approach record levels? "?

    Most likely!

    Speaking from experience when we ran demconvention.com [demconvention.com] over the very busy Democratic National Convention week, traffic went from effectively nothing to massive spikes in hours.

    All in all the website got 2.6 billion hits, 3.2 million visitors, 350,000 hours of video watched... [silverstripe.com] in the four day/96 hour period of the convention!

    This was about double the website traffic that the Republican convention (gopconvention2008.com) got.

    It will be interesting to learn

  • My site of choice in recent weeks has been www.electoral-vote.com whose keeper had this to say before turning in at 0400hrs:

    The site did extremely well. With three servers running lighttpd we were able to handle 300,000 visitors/hour and 2500 requests/sec at the peak. The total number of visitors yesterday was just over 3 million.

    Perhaps not the scale of a Yahoo, but impressive nonetheless. Oh - it's a great site too!

Due to lack of disk space, this fortune database has been discontinued.