.COMmentary: Internet surges after plane crash

.COMmentary: Internet surges after plane crash

By Mike Lotz

Internet surges after

plane crash

By Mike Lotz

Internet news traffic rose Monday after an American Airlines jet crashed in New York, but the surge online was not as powerful or as sustained as in the hours and days after the deadly attacks of Sept. 11, web site managers and analysts said.

Some news sites cut back on certain advertising and graphics features or took other steps to keep the news flowing to viewers without disruption.

“There has been increased traffic at sites like CNN.com and the BBC news site, but neither of them is anywhere near what they were like on Sept. 11 and 12, and certainly there is no massive blockage or unusual delay on the Internet as a whole,” said Peter Salus, chief knowledge officer for Internet traffic monitoring firm Matrix.Net.

On Sept. 11, shortly after hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Matrix.Net detected a significant slowdown in the performance of major Internet infrastructure points and web sites.

“A lot of news web sites learned from Sept. 11,” said Denise Garcia, analyst with research firm GartnerG2. She said several web sites were storing stories about the latest plane crash on other servers so that the additional traffic would not tax overall operations.

Web news sites said that traffic, while rising, was not near the levels after the hijacking attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

“We’re estimating we’ll have between 6 (million) and 10 million unique users today,” Dorogoff said, compared with average web site traffic of about 4 million since Sept. 11. On Sept. 11, the site’s traffic totaled 12.5 million, he said.

“We did go into a partially light site to handle the load, meaning we stopped serving certain ads automatically to help distribute the news,” he said.

CNN.com was one of the sites storing the plane crash story on a separate server or the cached memory of a separate browser to keep servers from being overtaxed.

Yahoo’s news site reported additional traffic Monday shortly after news of the crash broke but saw it quickly level off.

Boston.com, the web site for the Boston Globe newspaper, saw a similar short-lived spike in activity.

“We are a little busier but nowhere close to as busy as we were on Sept. 11, 12 or even the 13th, and it hasn’t been as sustained,” said Eric Bauer, director of content for Boston.com.

He said traffic jumped to 9 million page views on Sept. 11, more than four times the site’s normal traffic of about 2 million page views.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at questions@iwebwerks.com

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