SAN MATEO, California — April 17, 2003 — Many tax preparation Web sites performed well in speed and availability this tax season, according to Keynote (Nasdaq: KEYN), The Internet Performance Authority®. However, a few sites emitted a decided groan under the duress of responding to the needs of millions of last minute tax filers including IRS.gov, the U.S. government’s own tax site designed to support taxpayers through the annual ritual. Ernst & Young’s Web site and 1040.com also experienced intermittent slowdowns in the hours leading up to the midnight April 15 deadline.
Beginning April 11, Keynote monitored the Web performance of the most commonly visited sites associated with income tax submission or tax-related information. These sites were measured for homepage download times (response in seconds) and availability (in percent) from the top 25 largest geographic metropolitan areas in the U.S. over T1 lines using Keynote’s Tier 1 backbone infrastructure.
“Tax related Web sites as a whole were resilient to the uptick in traffic as April 15 approached,” said Roopak Patel, Keynote’s senior Internet analyst in the company’s Public Services Division. “Several of the sites did show inconsistent behavior, but the duration was not long lived and most visitors accomplished what they needed on the Web, whether it was form downloads, information access or filing of their tax returns online.”
“The closer it gets to April 15, the more critical it is for online tax preparation sites to deliver speed and reliability on top of an easy and convenient solution,” said Rick Jensen, vice president of Intuit’s consumer tax division. “Keynote’s performance metrics help Intuit measure and monitor Web site performance so we can meet the needs of last-minute filers who rely on TurboTaxâ online services to get their returns filed on time.”
Overall, the Internet as a whole did not experience any notable slowdowns due to the higher volume of traffic from last minute online tax filers as measured by the Keynote Business 40 Internet Performance Index, the accepted standard for page download performance in the U.S. The Index measures the download performance of the top 40 business Web sites every 15 minutes on a 24/7 basis.
While the sites that were monitored performed reasonably over the 48 hours leading up to the midnight deadline on April 15, several of the sites did exhibit problematic periods during high volume traffic. These sites included irs.gov and 1040.com (run by Drake Software as a service for filing 1040 forms online). The government site experienced slowdowns of up to 6-8 seconds on the evening of April 14 (5 pm to 9 pm EDT) and availability decreased to less than 90%. The baseline performance for the government site at other times remained exceptionally good at around 1 second for homepage download times with nearly 100% availability.
The site run by Drake Software also had accessibility problems from 1 pm to 8 pm EDT on April 15. This phenomenon could be attributed to the volume of tax filers that may have waited until the last day to prepare and submit their tax filing online via Drake’s service. Users of the site during that time most likely encountered inconsistent performance and availability.
Another notable site with performance problems was the Ernst & Young Web site (www.ey.com). While the site had high availability during the 48 hours leading up to the midnight April 15 deadline, the average performance was significantly slower than any other site measured. The E&Y site had download speeds of 11 to 12 seconds compared to the average of 2.4 seconds for all other sites.
Overall study results follow:
Tax sites were monitored from 5:00 PM (EDT) on April 11 until 9:00 AM (EDT) on April 16, 2003.
Keynote Systems (Nasdaq: KEYN), The Internet Performance Authority®, is the global leader in Internet performance management and testing services that improve the quality of e-business. Keynote's services enable corporate enterprises to benchmark, diagnose, test and manage their e-business systems both inside and outside the firewall. Approximately 2,300 corporate IT departments and 17,000 individual subscribers rely on the company's easy-to-use and cost-effective services to optimize revenues and reduce downtime costs without requiring additional complex and costly software implementations.
Keynote Systems, Inc. was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in San Mateo, California. The company can be reached at www.keynote.com or by phone in the U.S. at 650-403-2400.
© 2003 Keynote Systems, Inc. Keynote and The Internet Performance Authority are registered trademarks of Keynote Systems, Inc. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Dan Berkowitz , Keynote Systems, Inc., (650) 403-3305, email@example.com