RateItAll Under Attack

RIA is currently under a mild DDOS (Dedicated Denial of Service Attack) from somewhere in China. Basically what this means is that zombie computers are being directed to tie up as much of our bandwidth as possible, in an attempt to cripple the site.

I think we have things under control, as there appears to have been only a handful of IP addresses involved. We're filtering these out as they pop up, and things seem to be stabilizing.


New Tool

Hi all, in case you missed it, there's now a new tool live on the site that lets you delete the comments that you post under a specific review.

This is consistent with RIA's core philosophy to give its members complete control over the opinions and content that they post to the site. I'm not aware of another site that provides tools so that members can post their content on other sites, shares ad revenue, and allows its members full deletion functionality.


Couple of Profile Page Tweaks

You may have noticed a small change to the profile page:

We've moved the member's historical site activity up on the page, so it's the first thing you see after the person's "About Me" section. I'm finding it nice to not have to scroll way the heck down to read someone's review history.

Also, we're experimenting with caching some of the live stats on the profile page, so that they update once a day. This is to try and speed up the load time - I'm still not happy with the speed of these pages.


Changing Your Profile Image

Some of you have reported an error message when trying to switch your profile image. This is now fixed.


Image Syncing Now Live

We now have images synchronized across all of our web servers. No more "now you see it, now you don't."

Please let me know if you see anything screwy when adding images to profile pages, weblists, or item pages.

Now it's on to the fun stuff! Rate-O-Matic comes next :)


New Web Server Online

Our new web server is now online - this means we now have three web servers and a db server sharing the site's traffic load.

I don't expect the new server to make the site faster, but I do expect it to help significantly in making sure that big traffic surges don't cripple the site. In sum, RateItAll is now better equipped to handle significant traffic bursts.

So, in the past week, we have:

- optimized the Recent Comments page
- optimized the profile pages
- added a new web server

This is pretty boring stuff, but critically important.

We're also very, very close to rolling in the image server fix. Stay tuned.


Profile Pages

OK, we made some optimizations to the profile pages and we now have the heaviest profile pages (with lots of widgets, rating history, etc) down to about 5-6 seconds, from (gulp) 15 seconds plus.

This is a big improvement, but still not fast enough. We'll keep plugging away.


Just Bought Another Server

We'll hopefully have it in the mix some time next week. We're also, very close to putting in that image fix so that images are synced across all servers. I'm also hopeful that we will have the profile pages optimized shortly for faster page loads.

This is stuff is boring from a development perspective, but a fast site makes the RIA experience much better IMHO.


Record Traffic Day

Yesterday was an all time record traffic day for us. Depending on what stats package you believe, we did anywhere from 41K to 49K total visits.

For the most part, the site held up, though it got a little bit sluggish from time to time.

For the moment, we have prioritized site performance issues over everything else - some cool features have been put on the backburner until we can get some problem pages (e.g. profiles) loading fast.

I've also requested a quote for another web server.


Recent Comments Page Breakthrough

Guys, I think we've solved the chronic slow loading of the recent comments page from a logged in state. The solution has been right front of our eyes - divide the load into small chunks. Enjoy. Now I can go back to hitting that page about 700 times per day.

Weekly Goals

Our goals for the week:

1) Fix the image syncing issue
2) Speed up the recent comments page for logged in users
3) Speed up the profile pages



Some of you may have noticed strange stuff going on with profile and item images. Sometimes they're there, sometimes they're not.

This has to do with when we went to a mulitple web server configuration a few weeks ago. Because the images are saved locally on either one server or the other, you will see or them or not see them depending on what server you're hitting.

We have a fix in the works that will sync all images across all servers - this should be up some time next week.


Couple of Small Fixes Went Live

We pushed a few very minor fixes live last night:

- The default display in the "Reviews from Trusted Network" display went from two degrees away, to one degree away. In other words, you'll now only see reviews from folks in your immediate trusted network on your profile page.

- We changed the Overall Rating display on each item page from stars to numbers. I was getting tired of accidentally clicking the cumulative rating stars when I was trying to post my rating.

- We fixed it so clicking on the "comments" link associated with any review will automatically scroll you down the page to where the comments begin.


RateItAll on the BBC

Over the weekend, the BBC included RateItAll in a segment called "The New Wave of Silicon Valley Start-Ups." If you watch the video clip, RateItAll's mention is about 8 minutes in. It's a brief mention, but very positive nonetheless.