Mercedes Ruehl Reporter

Mercedes writes for The Australian Financial Review and BRW from the Sydney newsroom. She has an interest in technology, politics and travel writing.

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Click Frenzy determined to dodge another fail

Published 23 April 2013 11:28, Updated 24 April 2013 15:28

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Click Frenzy determined to dodge another fail

Click Frenzy shifts retail sales madness to the virtual realm. Photo: Robert Peet

Consumers worried Click Frenzy will rack up another fail for its Mother’s Day mega-sale on Tuesday evening should turn their eye to the US city of Cambridge, Massachusetts for reassurance.

An internet content delivery firm called Akamai Technologies, which serves roughly 25 per cent of the world’s web traffic, is headquartered there – and Click Frenzy’s founders have enlisted the reputable tech company for their Mother’s Day event on Tuesday evening.

Click Frenzy co-founder Grant Arnott says Akamai’s involvement is the reason why Tuesday’s sale will not be labelled another #ClickFail.

“They run the world’s most powerful content distribution network,” Arnott says, adding he knows all of Australia will be watching at 7pm Tuesday night, many to see if the Click Frenzy site crashes again.

After whipping up huge excitement and involving 180-odd retailers for its debut mega-sale last November, Click Frenzy’s site crashed because the technology it used was unable to cope with the huge volume of buyer traffic.

Arnott and his business partners prepared for up to one million users, although they did not think they would get anywhere near that. In the days preceding the sale they added additional servers, but it was not enough to cater for the two million hits the website got within the first couple of minutes.

Ian Teague, the senior manager for Akamai Australasia, says even a perfect storm for Click Frenzy wouldn’t raise much more than a blip for Tuesday’s sale.

“E-commerce is a big part of our business,” Teague says. “Ninety-eight out of the top 100 internet retailers in the US use us, so [from] Amazon down.”

One of the original tech start-ups originating from MIT in Massachusetts in the late 1990s, Akamai works by evenly distributing the load across the more than 125 internet service providers throughout Australia.

“Had we known the traffic we’d get for the first event, we would have approached Akamai sooner,” Arnott says.

Had we known the traffic we’d get for the first event, we would have approached Akamai sooner.

This year the site’s founders are expecting anywhere between 80 to 120 per cent of last year’s traffic – which was about 1.6 million people – but Arnott says Akamai and the website are prepared for much more than that just in case.

“I am excited but certainly pretty nervous too,” Arnott confesses. “I’ll be greatly relieved at 8pm tonight when it’s all gone smoothly.”

Arnott has repeatedly told media and consumers that he and his co-founders have learned their lesson following what became known on social media as #ClickFail last year.

In a move that suggests most retailers trust Arnott to do it right the second time around, many of the original retailers that participated have returned for another bite at the apple, including Myer, Dan Murphy’s and The Iconic.

Despite the crash, many stores that took part did not see it as a failure.

Myer says the original sale “from our perspective . . . was hugely successful”. Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes says its website had achieved record online sales.

Andrew Fisher, the chief technology officer at digital marketing consultancy JBA Digital, agrees Akamai’s involvement means Click Frenzy is much less likely to fail.

“The other thing that will help is that there will probably be softer demand this time around, because it’s not that peak Christmas period and there is a bit less trust in them this time around,” he says.

“This sale gives them another chance to earn back the trust of consumers and retailers.”

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