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DoubleClick Breaks the Internet

Posted on 11.16.2014

Kim Kardashian may have tried to break the Internet but Google kind of succeeded. For a short time last week, Internet users enjoyed a nearly ad free Web experience due to an outage at Google’s DoubleClick for publishers (DFP). 

Top publisher sites like The Wall Street Journal, BBC.com and countless others displayed white space where ads should have been, costing publishers millions of dollars in lost ad revenue. This, according to experts at Dynatrace, is because online ad revenue is a substantial source of hard revenue for online media companies and advertisers. Any impact to Ad networks (DoubleClick being the largest) leads to a substantial loss of potential revenue as ad impressions are not happening. An issue like this that also slows sites, Dynatrace continued, is doubly impactful as users will get frustrated with slow pages and abandon the site they are on, leading to an additional loss of ad impressions. 

Dynatrace experts used their Outage Analyzer service to detect the outage and monitored the sites affected since the problem first surfaced. According to Dynatrace, the outage impacted 55,185 websites (from 3,357 unique Web domains) worldwide. 

So what happened? According to Dynatrace data, there was an internal issue within DoubleClick’s infrastructure and not a network issue. In the below graph, Dynatrace used a test that it was running against the Reuters homepage as an example. Requests being made to DoubleClick (http://ad.doubleclick.net) took a long time to respond and eventually failed with an Error 502 (see the error detail in the screenshot; to zoom in, click on the image). This indicates to Dynatrace that this is an internal issue within DoubleClick’s infrastructure and not a network issue.

 What's more, almost every industry Dynatrace tracked was impacted by this.   


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