When Is an Ecommerce Web Site “Unacceptably” Slow?

By , December 26, 2012

While reading Internet Retailer’s December 2012 profile of its chosen “Top 100” ecommerce web sites (http://www.internetretailer.com/2012/11/30/going-extra-mile), I was confused by its “Speed” ratings for the sites. Each web site was evaluated based on its page-load time, and 33 of the 100 sites were rated “unacceptable.”

The idea that many web sites succeed despite slow load times isn’t a surprise. What confused me was the scale used by Internet Retailer in assigning its speed ratings:

  • Excellent (10 sites): Less than 1.5 seconds
  • Good (12 sites): 1.5 to 1.8 seconds
  • Fair (10 sites): 1.8 to 2.1 seconds
  • Poor (41 sites): 1.9 to 3.4 seconds
  • Unacceptable (33 sites): 3.5 seconds or longer.

The narrow range from “Excellent” to “Poor” baffles me; the span from “Excellent” to “Poor” is just 0.4 to 0.6 seconds!

But the use of the term “Unacceptable” is especially confusing: how could these 33 companies be included in the “Top 100,” when their web site speeds are “unacceptably” slow? Apparently, a lot of consumers have chosen to “accept” these speeds, and so have the editors of Internet Retailer, whose use of the term “unacceptable” is thus self-contradictory and absurd.


One Response to “When Is an Ecommerce Web Site “Unacceptably” Slow?”

  1. Mark Welch says:

    Yes, folks, I clearly made a mistake, since the total number of sites should be 100 or less.

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