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Learning From ClickFrenzy’s Fail

by on November 21, 2012

Did you miss the ClickFrenzy… frenzy?

You’re not alone.

After launching last night to weeks of publicity and media fanfare, the 24-hour deal site went through hours of technical issues, with most visitors unable to load the site for the majority of it’s big coming out party. These users made it known too, with #ClickFail trending across Twitter and the news media turning their backs on the sale they were hyping only days before. Wading through the negative press and flood of social anger we found some interesting tidbits about last night’s disaster that every online business can learn from.

The first point of call when a site goes down is to check in with the hosting. Using the curl command we were able to track the hosting as being provided by Amazon’s CloudFront, which is strange considering how robust and scalable their services usually are. If the problem did lie with the hosting, ClickFrenzy may have simply underestimated the surge of traffic they’d receive upon launch.

Looking at search trends surrounding ClickFrenzy gives us a startling indication of how much traffic was directing to the site. Strangely enough, with all that search interest only one ClickFrenzy participant bothered to take out AdWords ads for related search terms. Last night, electronics ecommerce company Kogan was alone at the top of AdWords, capturing impressions for the thousands of searches related to ClickFrenzy. Since then the other big retailers have caught up however, launching rushed AdWords campaigns early this morning.

But one of the most interesting things about ClickFrenzy’s site is that they haven’t even set up their robots.txt. “Sure looks like they don’t need Google with all that traffic” I hear you say?

Well unless you’re actually BLOCKING Google from your site with a robots.txt, that flood of media backlinks is only going to result in a flurry of Googlebot activity to their site. The last thing you want when your site can’t even handle human traffic is an army of robots sucking down your pipes and causing even more headaches, which is exactly what happened last night.

We’ve seen the same thing happen before to clients who have received a stack of backlinks amidst a media flurry and had Googlebot visits spike considerably soon after, but nothing with the level of media interest of Click Frenzy.

So what should Click Frenzy change next year?

  • Block Googlebot about an hour before launch
  • Clean up their website’s coding
  • Get their site working without www.
  • Double check Amazon CloudFront account to enable more capacity
  • Buy AdWords to harvest existing social traffic back to the Click Frenzy site

If there’s anything better than learning from your mistakes, it’s learning from someone else’s. With the ClickFrenzy saga, you’ve got a whole lot of learning to do.

Did you try to get on board with ClickFrenzy? How was your experience with the site? Leave us a comment below!



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