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For week ended May 30, 1999 Posted 4 Jun 1999

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SETI@home, FamilySearch hit gridlock

Summarized by Eric Bunker

SETI@home, FamilySearch hit gridlock
ZDNN 27May99 C9
By Alan Boyle, MSNBC


Genealogy Site Overwhelmed by Millions of Hits
Salt Lake Tribune 28May99 C9
By Bob Mims: Salt Lake Tribune


High Demand Halts Family Search Web Site
St Louis MO Post-Dispatch (Scripps-Howard) 27May99 C9
By Christopher Price: Scripps Howard News Service

The Churches newly launched has been slammed with an average of 500 hits per second in the first two days since its official debut on Monday, May 24th, and ground to a halt after hundreds of millions of users tried to log on.

Now the world's biggest genealogical Internet web site search portal, which was originally designed to handle up to 25 million visits a day, received 30 million hits on Monday; 100 million on Tuesday; and on Wednesday a further 100 million.

Staggered by a tidal wave of would-be users, the new Internet genealogy site has been forced to undergo a series of major programming and hardware upgrades less than a week into its launch. On Thursday, May 27th, less than half of an estimated 1 million people trying to reach FamilySearch on the World Wide Web were getting through.

In the mean time, in lieu of the usual and more common "Connection Refused" Internet busy signal, an access-metering system has been set up.

Currently, a user who access is refused will receive a message similar to this; "FamilySearch Internet is receiving so many visits that users are temporarily being given access on a rotation basis for 15 minutes at a time. We apologize for this inconvenience. Please look at the message below to determine when you should be able to access the site. Thank you for using Access in: 44:59."

Dan Rascon, a spokesman for the Church, said; "What we're trying to do is provide the best opportunity to get on this site and get the best information we have. Instead of just showing up and (viewing a Web page) saying the site's busy, we wanted to provide assurance that people can get on and use it."

Dan Rascon, also commenting on the site's popularity, said, "We're looking at this as the 'Star Wars' of the Internet ... It just shows the popularity of genealogy out there right now, and we're excited about that."

The FamilySearch site's success could be immensely profitable, but it actually brings in no material benefit for the Church, as it neither charges for access nor accepts any advertising. The site is physically hosted by Chicago based IBM and was created by Boston based LavaStorm under contract for the Church for an undisclosed amount.

LavaStorm's Justin Lindsey, meanwhile, marveled at how quickly FamilySearch turned into a monster site. "In my experience on the Internet, I've never seen a system come out of the gate so fast," he said.

IBM said it was receiving up to 50 million hits an hour -- the same as Yahoo! the biggest Internet search engine group. The astonishing degree of interest underlines the immense popularity of genealogy on the Internet. Analysts said genealogy was the third most popular Internet pursuit -- after pornography and stock trading.

LavaStorm contends that FamilySearch already is at least among the top 10 most popular Web sites. AOL serves roughly 1.5 million users per day, followed closely by Microsoft. Yahoo! is third with just over 1 million -- or about the same number of potential users LavaStorm estimates for FamilySearch.

Most experts feel that the popularity of the site will not diminish but expand.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information