King of Pop Proves to be King of Traffic: MJ's Online Memorial Pushes Internet's Limits

Michael Jackson’s memorial held today at the Staples Center in Los Angeles turned out to be one of the biggest online events ever, according to various reports. Akamai says that it was the second-largest day in terms of total traffic on its network. Akamai delivered more than 2,185,000 live and on-demand streams in both the Flash and Windows Media formats. Total traffic on the Akamai network surpassed a rate of more than 2 terabits per second during the memorial service. Akamai says that it delivered 548 Gbps of live and on-demand Flash streams utilizing Adobe Flash technology.


There were 3,924,370 visitors per minute as of 1 pm EST and an average of more than 3.3 million visitors per minute overall. That is second only to the 4,247,971 global visitors per minute who visited news sites on June 25th when the news of Michael Jackson first hit the web. Unlike June 25th, there weren’t many outages reported, but there were widespread slowdowns. According to Gomez, a company that monitors the web, the availability of the home pages of seven of the mainstream news media sites from 12:45 pm-3 pm EST only dipped as low as 98.2 percent even though the response time was slower than usual. Response time (page load times) ranged from 6.5 seconds to 18.5 seconds (usually spans 3.5-7.3 seconds), according to Gomez. However, when it comes to live streaming, Gomez saw lots of rebuffering (i.e.. video ‘stalling issues’) at these news sites — time spent waiting rather than watching was under 5 percent in the U.S. but as high as 40 percent in Asia.

According to AlertSite, which also monitors web performance, E!Online and TMZ reported a few errors during the 12 pm-2 pm EST period. The response time for E!Online’s home page reached as high as 20.75 seconds at 2 pm EST. TMZ’s home page response time reached 10.41 seconds at 1 pm EST. “Overall we saw about a 10 percent uptick in response times on average for the sites we were monitoring,” said AlertSite Chief Strategy Officer Ken Godskind, who pointed out that, “Even Twitter was affected, with login success in the 50 percent range during the 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm hours (EST).”

Here are some other random stats associated with this event.

  • Verizon Wireless network says that from 1 pm-3 pm EST today, voice attempts on Verizon network around the Staples Center went up 10 percent from same time Monday, while data attempts for texting and mobile web were up 86 percent around the Staples Center from same time Monday.
  • Michael Jackson tributes accounted for nearly 5 percent of the total tweets on Twitter, according to Twist (via Pete Cashmore.)
  • According to Facebook, a million users posted about 800,000 status updates. That compares to the 1.8 million Facebook status updates with the word “Obama” on Inauguration Day. The Michael Jackson page, however, has grown to have nearly 7 million fans, a million more than President Obama’s page. And Facebook says some 800,000 virtual MJ gloves have been given away as gifts.

Related post: Live streaming grief: Saying goodbye to Michael Jackson.

Twitter traffic visualization, courtesy of Twist via Mashable

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