Mirrordot to combat the ''Slashdot Effect''

Posted on Saturday, October 02 2004 @ 17:34 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
More experienced internet users will probably already have heared about the "Slashdot effect". Being Slashdotted means that a site is linked from a news article on Slashdot, which is a very big news site. This results in a rush of thousands of visitors to the website, often causing overloaded servers because the sites can't handle the giant amount of traffic coming from Slashdot.

This can be frustrating for visitors because the site can be either very slow or unavailable due to the Slashdot effect. But now there is a site with a solution for this: Mirrordot
Now, Mirrordot, a new project from the founders of network security firm Edgeos, is seeking to alleviate the Slashdot effect by automatically mirroring any website linked on the Slashdot homepage.

Today's the Day. To Jay Jacobson, the project's co-founder, anything that can reduce the frequency of Slashdot-linked sites being shut down is a good thing.

"I read Slashdot all the time and always get frustrated when they post a story, the site gets flooded, and me along with thousands of other people are trying to read the content and we can't do it," Jacobson said. "It may take a day or two for things to come back to normal, and by then I've lost interest."

Slashdot didn't respond to a request for comment by press time. On its FAQ page, however, the service notes that while it sees some advantage to caching some of the smaller sites it links to in order to reduce the deleterious effect the crush of traffic has on them, it has chosen not to. In part, that's because Slashdot doesn't want to hurt sites by affecting their ad revenue. In addition, Slashdot is afraid that getting permission to cache sites would take too long and would cut down on the timeliness of the stories it posts.
More information at Wired

While this initiative has some good points I rather dislike it. The mirroring thing so that readers will be able to read a mirrored version of the story is a good thing but has some drawbacks I think. The cool thing about being slashdotted is the immense amount of traffic that totally whips up your site statistics, and that gets lost. Other drawbacks are that webmasters can't see how many times their article has been readed, and that they miss ad revenues.

MirrorDot contacted me to clear up some points regarding the advertising on their mirrors:
Secondly, I wanted to take a second and clear-up one point in your posting. You mentioned that one of the reasons you dislike the idea of MirrorDot is that mirrored sites would lose advertising revenue from the impressions/clicks served through MirrorDot's mirrors. This is not correct. In fact, we have specifically taken steps to ensure that our mirrors will not negatively impact the advertising on mirrored pages.

From the MirrorDot FAQ

What about a mirrored page's advertising? MirrorDot certainly understands that many web sites depend on the advertising displayed on the site for revenue to keep the site going. MirrorDot itself is one such site.

MirrorDot tries to be as "friendly" as possible to the sites we mirror. When mirroring images (like a site's banner ads and such), we only mirror images that are served from the same domain name as the site itself. MirrorDot does this specifically to allow content served from ad networks to not get mirrored - the original links in the HTML remain in-tact, so when someone hits our mirror, the ads should still be served by the ad network and the original site owner still gets credit for their ads, impressions, and clicks.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

Loading Comments

Use Disqus to post new comments, the old comments are listed below.

Re: Mirrordot to combat the ''Slashdot Effect''
by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 06 2004 @ 14:08 CEST
Goooooooogle will help, since they most probably have it in the cache anyway, so it's up to the reader to decide if he/she want's a cahced version or not.

  • Reply by Anonymous on Friday, November 26 2004 @ 9:50 CET

    No, this won't work for new stuff.