For on sales which you anticipate will be busy, we can implement our queuing functionality to make the experience more manageable.
The way it works is pretty simple - we set a threshold of the maximum amount of people who are allowed on the site at a given time,(usually in the region of a few hundred). Once that number of active sessions is reached, anyone who subsequently visits the site is put into the queue. They are shown a message and informed as to what their position in the queue is… “There are x number of people ahead of you”.
The main obvious benefits of this are:
Sites are much less likely to run slow or crash because suddenly loads more users than normal are making requests to the server.
Its a better experience of browsing and buying a ticket for those who have gotten through. Even if we provisioned enough servers to handle several thousand people all trying to buy tickets at the same time, imagine how annoying that would be. A user would log on and just see all the seats quickly disappear on the seat-map.
We can customise the message shown on the page that queued users see. From box offices I’ve worked in before, the main thing which sends people apoplectic about being queued on a website is when they are made to do so for a long time and then when they eventually do get through, all the tickets are sold out. We can feed in updates as time goes on, 'x number of tickets left’ , ‘y tickets…’ , ‘very few…please be aware its unlikely’ ,etc ,etc
We can also change some of the other functionality during these busy on sales. For example, the code which creates the recommendations gets modified to be ‘dormant’, as it were, so that its not making large requests to the database,allowing page loads to be quicker.
It takes a bit of set up, (not quite as easy as us switching a button on and off), but when you next have an occasion where a show you anticipate will be popular is going on sale,let us know in advance and we can get everything in place to have queuing ready.