Re: New ad server system

From: Zak Power <>
Date: Mon 16 Oct 2000 15:10:05 -0500

> 9 seconds is a lot of time to ask a user to sit there
> and stare at an empty screen. Advertisers insist on
> putting their ads at the top of the page (supposedly
> the worst possible place to put banners) and that holds
> up everything while browser tries to fetch the ads.

It is, I know! Hmm.

Dumb-assed idea springs to mind - "use IFRAMEs to
present a default ad if it takes more than 3 seconds to
load the selecte ad - and when the selected ad is
loaded, it refreshes to that.

I can't readily think of an easy way to both guarantee
speed and guarantee delivery of "the" ad... hmm, have
to think on this some more. And see what happens to the

> A 3-second timeout sounds reasonable, but it seems to
> me the longer timeout should be flexible -- from 6 to
> 9 seconds, depending on server load. If the server is
> getting beaten to death, 3 3-second timeouts are just
> going to make matters worse for everyone.

Hmm yes, the very situation the timeouts should solve.

Mabye 3 2-second timeouts?

> So, basically, what I'm proposing is that you design
> the software to allow 3 3-second timeouts when it's
> least likely to need them, and to allow only 2
> 3-second timeouts when it's most likely to need them.


I can tell you're on to something here. So we're
defining "FAST" and "SLOW" modes of operation... hmm...
I just wonder how to tie it all together. If you have
two modes of operation why not an infinite number, it'd
be nice to be all configurable.

If I get this right, it's like "when the weather is
nice, our level of service is high, and we will
tolerate only 6 seconds of delay - but when it is
stormy, we have to relax the quality assurance, and
allow more time for the serve"...?

This makes sense!

We then want the system to report it's load level.

Some voodoo needed there. Actually I guess you can just
judge load by "connections per minute" - that seems
fair? Rather than attempting to take into account all
the factors, I think measuring the number of
"connections" is a good measure.

So when you log in, you see "welcome user, 586
connections per minute".

We could make canned values and boast about how the
tool can support n hits. Then you can represent this as
a percentage.

"DynaMan delivers up to 1,000 connections per minute on
X platform."

"Server running at 58.6% capacity."

You could then have a fairly simple "delivery quality
control" panel. And set policies there. Such as :

POLICY #1 : [FAST] : [1] attempts of [1] second : threshhold 50%
POLICY #2 : [MEDIUM] : [2] attempts of [2] second : threshhold 75%
POLICY #3 : [SLOW] : [2] attempts of [2] second : threshold 100%

That makes stuff a little confusing but I think I see
the value of having that.

And when it decides to bail out it does so by
delivering a local ad, as is done for the commission
serves. This has the side-effect of encouraging people
to run fast servers because if they don't the ad
provider will get a bunch of free impressions as it
defaults back to something it can find.

It'd also be nice to see :

"this ad ran in 80% FAST mode, 15% MEDIUM mode and 5%
SLOW mode this month."

Is this over-kill?

> From a Webmaster's perspective, it's far better to
> serve a broken link than it is to have the page hang
> for a long time. You normally have 15-30 seconds to
> convince the user to hang around. Taking the first 6-9
> seconds of that window just to serve banner ads is
> very, very risky if they don't come up quickly.

I can see this for sure.

Alas - the bottom line is if it's not fast enough, it's
not fast enough, a system such as we described might
end up just preferring a single ad over another, just
because that server is faster.

The concept of measuring and enforcing the speed of
serves is great but how to make it flexible and easy to

So far it's been "the sky's the limit" but we'll
eventually determine acceptable numbers of connections
per second based on different platforms, we've not hit
that threshhold yet.

Right now it presents the NEOS info including all sorts
of stuff, hundreds of pages, but it all needs to be
condensed into "85% capacity" I think. Rather than
think about bandwidth, load averages, disc I/O and
those infinite other things...

Zak Power / ZENCOR
(800)-759-9826 / (416)-820-3304

Received on Mon Oct 16 2000 - 15:10:05 CDT


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