Originally created 11/07/96

Election: 'Mother of all nights' for Internet



It was the "mother of all nights" for the Internet on Tuesday as millions logged in to check the election totals or chat about the outcome.

Things on the Web normally tend to slow down a little toward supper time anyway, but by 7 p.m. EST, the wait for some sites was molasses-slow, while others poured only slightly more easily onto the screen.

The scene was different at The Augusta Chronicle's on-line site, however.

On @ugusta, "It was the heaviest day of traffic since our launch in June," Joseph Trotz, director of new media for the Chronicle, said Wednesday. "We didn't see any significant slowdown to our site even during the heaviest peak, when were updating vote totals every five minutes."

The site had more than 33,000 hits, which equals about 5,000 page views, Mr. Trotz said.

But other sites slowed down.

The CNN All Politics site popped up with a minimum of wait compared to some. Executive producer Mike Riley said they'd been adding computers all day to handle the additional load.

"We walked in the door this morning and traffic started spiking, which we expected. It's probably the biggest night Ä the mother of all nights Ä for the Net. I'd say we're on track for 30 to 40 million hits (visits) and I imagine tomorrow's going to be even heavier," he said from Atlanta.

MSNBC's much vaunted news site was giving users up-to-the-minute election results - if they could get in. At 8:30 p.m. EST only about every other attempt to access the site succeeded, and the shift from one page to another within MSNBC was excruciatingly slow for those using the most common 28.8 speed modems.

"Bottom line, we're blowing out usage around the Net," said James Kinsella, general manager of MSNBC on the Internet.

Although frustrating to those left waiting, Mr. Kinsella saw the crush around the doors as the dawning of a new age.

"This election night feels quite frankly like the validation that TV got from the Nixon-Kennedy debates. It is extraordinary. I don't want to sound hyperbolic about it, but Yowza! This is a defining moment for the Web as a part of our public discourse," he said from the MSNBC offices in Redmond, Wash.