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Did You Fall When Facebook Stumbled?

By Aaron Rudger | June 1, 2012

CATEGORIES: Web Performance

Thursday's outage of Facebook was notable for the ripple it created across the Web. Many online businesses were impacted indirectly as a result of failing content integrated into their websites. The nearly ubiquitous "Like" button and Facebook's other social plugins became a drag on the performance and availability of some websites. We saw notable failures across media, travel and retail sites. Yet, other some appeared to have avoided significant impact.

The websites of CNN, USA Today and Expedia--members of the Keynote Business 40 Index--demonstrate how different approaches to integrating the Facebook social plugin can be the difference between disaster and only a minor setback when 3rd party content fails.

Usatoday-plugin Cnn-plugin Expedia-like

Here are graphs of their performance and availability during the outage (along with Facebook's for reference):

Chart

Notice USA Today's performance (the blue line). Their home page continued to happily build despite the lack of content availability from Facebook.

Usatoday

Incidents like this are good reminders of the importance of using page construction best practices that accomodate third party content failures. If you feature ads, widgets or plugins on your site, do they represent a potential single point of failure if the service becomes unavailable?

Even if you take care with integrating third party content into your pages, it's important to continuously monitor each source indepently if your site changes frequently. Keynote helps companies uniquely monitor 3rd party content such as ads, social widgets and plugins so you can quickly take action to mitigate performance issues and focus business improvement with actionable data.

So how did your site perform Thursday evening?

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