Putting Site Performance to the Test

Web site performance tester WebHancer Corp. this week will officially launch its flagship enterprise product

Web site performance tester WebHancer Corp. this week will officially launch its flagship enterprise product to give users information about why, not just how, their sites do or do not perform well, officials said.

The Ottawa-based provider was slated to launch e-Business View late last year.

"Its entirely client-side software sending the data back to us. We keep the data for a year, and we also compare you to whoever you define as your benchmark competitor," said Bruce Linton, WebHancers CEO. Unlike other systems that use geographically controlled points of presence, the WebHancer system relies on end-user downloads, which currently total about 3 million, Linton said.

This summer, WebHancer will add streaming-media testing, with wireless site testing due in the third quarter, Linton said. To add WebHancers software to mobile phones, the company is talking with Nokia Corp., of Espoo, Finland, and Telphon AB L.M. Ericsson, of Stockholm, Sweden, he said.

"Performance is one of the major obstacles to the adoption of Web-based apps. This is probably the highest priority for our company," said Evan Goldberg, president and CEO of NetLedger Inc., in San Mateo, Calif., an accounting application service provider and the kind of company WebHancer plans to sell to. "Any tools that will analyze the performance are going to be valuable to us. We really want it to get into the deep parts of the application, not just the home page or the front page."

WebHancers Linton said he is convinced that such testing tools will be vital to helping dot-com companies set their direction. "Even if they cut half of their staff, they still need this because it allows them to focus on which problems the remaining staff should do," he said.

The companys service will spread as customers—and customers customers—advise end users to download the client, which is 330KB, Linton said.

The next version of e-Business View will have a client half that size, Linton said. e-Business View starts at $12,000 per domain tested and scales down as more domains and more frequent tests are scheduled.

Another factor that will play a key role in WebHancers future is its ability to get the client software to as many end users as possible. Linton said that WebHancer is delivering approximately 40,000 to 50,000 more downloads daily, both through its Web site and through customers and partners sites. "We spent a huge amount of time and money making sure that we never know anything about the person were certifying," he said.