How Does IPO Buzz Impact Website Performance?

The IPO market is hot. From cloud computing to mobile to social games, social shopping and social media  – tech innovation is once again driving the capital markets. IPO speculation and news coverage frequently leads to increased website traffic as readers and prospective shareholders conduct their research – and increased traffic can potentially harm the speed at which a web page loads. And slow loading web pages do not make for good first impressions or repeat visits.

We thought we would benchmark the website speed of thirteen technology companies that have either IPO’d since 2007 or have announced plans to IPO in 2011. Many of these companies grew up on the web so we thought it’d be interesting to compare their site speeds. The companies in the benchmark include:  LinkedIn, Zynga, Pandora, Trulia, Yandex, DemandMedia, Zillow, LivingSocial, Compellent, Groupon, Cavium, RenRen and FusionIO. 


Each site we looked at was assigned a score (aka Yottaa Score) which measures several aspects of web page load speed, as experienced by the website visitor. This score factors in how fast the site displays the page title, the time it takes for core content to appear and the time it takes for the page to be fully usable (“time to interact”.) This score ranges from 0 to 100. A higher score means a better page load user experience. Looking at the chart we can clearly see that sites vary greatly in their web performance.  

LinkedIn has the fastest website and provides their home page visitors with a very clean and uncluttered call to action to join today. . The LinkedIn home page has a page load time of 1.42 seconds during the benchmark testing period of July 6th to July 11th! It’s clear that LinkedIn spends a considerable amount of engineering time to ensure that its site loads quickly in a web browser for visitors all around the world.

The second fastest website was Zynga (set to IPO in 2011). Their website loads in 1.69 seconds. Zynga achieves this speedy home page by separating some of the content into Adobe Flash files (which take considerably longer to load and are loaded after the HTML content has been loaded and rendered). Other faster than average websites included Pandora, Trulia, Yandex and DemandMedia.  We were not surprised to see good website speed from which is a search engine focused service on the Russian market.  Search engines sites are notoriously fast with Google and Bing being leading the pack. We were not surprised to see that  and sites loaded slowly – this Chinese social network is probably more focused on performing fast for its local audience rather than from other points in the world. Websites with average load times in this benchmark included:  Zillow, LivingSocial, Groupon, Compellent, and Cavium.

The slowest website in this benchmark is FusionIO which IPO’d in June 2011. We found this to not be in line with their company positioning as “the next generation of storage memory with a focus on high performance.”  With a page load time of almost eight seconds we have to wonder if their customers have the patience to visit more than one page on their website, or give up altogether.  Maybe they will use some of their new funds to figure out how to make their website faster.   .

While site speed might not have a direct impact on IPO prospects or its issue price, it certainly does have a direct impact on revenue and customer satisfaction. Shareholders take note.

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