Microsoft MSN Ads clogging the tubes: Digg + Hotmail

Over the last few days I’ve noticed Digg.com has slowed to a crawl where it would take up to a half a minute to load each page. At first I thought it was Digg, but then I noticed “connecting to ads1.msn.com” in my status bar when apparently nothing would happen. Is there something wrong with Microsoft’s advertising network?

One of the many neat features in Firebug – a web-developer extension for Firefox – allows the monitoring of network traffic when loading a web page. This is extremely useful to track down causes for slow loading websites.

Firebug MSN Ads Digg

In this case, Microsoft’s ad servers (in particular, ads1.msn.com) is taking around 27 seconds to respond to the request for a simple 5KB Javascript file used to propagate websites with banner advertisements. In contrast, Digg’s server responds on average in less than 100ms.

Firebug MSN Ads Hotmail

On another site, Microsoft’s own Live Hotmail, the advertising banners served by ads1.msn.com and takes around 27 seconds as well to load. However unlike Digg, Hotmail’s ads are not placed at the top of the HTML so it does not hinder displaying the rest of the page’s contents.

Whilst this problem does not seem to affect everyone – otherwise Digg users would have already revolted – but at least two other Digg users also experience the same problem and are coming to the same conclusion. Furthermore, this happens more often then not, which means in few cases when it does load normally, it’s fast.

There’s something seriously wrong with Microsoft’s ad servers, whether that is a short-term technical glitch or long-term load capacity problem. In either case, Microsoft needs to fix it fast. If they plan to be second-to-Google, bringing down the internets serving merely Flash banners is not a good start.

Update: Microsoft.com Downloads seems to be affected too.

19 insightful thoughts

  1. haha thats funny..

    still I couldn’t careless about digg ..so doens’t bother me

    I wonder if they will do it too facebook aswell ..also wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if that site crawled to halt either

  2. If a website makes you wait 27 seconds for content that otherwise takes less than 1 second, then it’s obvious the webmasters value your money more than your patronage.

    Advertisers broke my last straw a long time ago. Between the download times, blinking, audio, video, popups, nudity, and being disguised as real content, I can’t stand them anymore. I block them all. I never click or buy from an ad anyway.

    http://www.adblockplus.org/

  3. @Frank: If the performance problem was with the server, everyone would be seeing it. I am consistently not seeing it, thus immediately discrediting your theory.

  4. Not surprising, but I consistently see similar problems on google served-ads also. Unlike Sid, I don’t think that just because one doesn’t see the same problem, your theory is discredited. But I frequently see sites that are slowed down by Google ads — or more accurately, all other branded ads — so what is your point? The fact is, ads are annoying, but without those annoying ads, the web will probably be filled with subscription-based sites. There are always things in life that we don’t like, but we have to accept it as facts.

  5. I have been experiencing this problem for weeks, and it really is frustrating. Ad Blocker Plus doesn’t make any difference, it still attempts to connect to ads1.msn.com.
    This occurs on both the Mac and the PC at home. I eventually edited the hosts file on the PC to make ads1.msn.com point to 127.0.0.1, but the problem still exists on the Mac.

  6. I wouldn’t object tooo much to ads1.msn if it was only the once but unfortunately it is every time you change a page in hotmail.
    Rob How do you edit out the ads1.msn ???

  7. I’ve also experienced this and have been wondering what the hell is going on with Digg for the past few days. Digg has been slowing to a crawl.

  8. And. Thanks for the information: unknown person said he frequently see sites that are slowed down by Google ads — or more accurately all other branded ads — so what is your point.

  9. Huh. Do you mind if I tell other people: Om said Om frequently see sites that are slowed down by Google ads — or more accurately all other branded ads — so what is your point.

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