Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.
I was mesmerized recently when the Financial Times explained how much the speed of its website affected its revenue.
This led me to thinking about you and your mother.
May 8 is Mother's Day in the US. This is the day when you must make at least a gesture toward recognizing that your mom is a better person than you are.
Because you're a modern type, you'll likely use the Web to buy and send your mother something thoughtful.
How patient, though, will be you be if a site isn't loading or performing in the way you'd like?
Coincidentally, I was exclusively provided some numbers that purport to show which websites might have, you know, performance issues.
They were given to me by Soasta, a company that claims to be "the largest, most trusted authority on digital performance."
Because it only has motherly love at its heart, it used its proprietary Consumer Performance Index to see which retail sites offered maxi-mom efficient and which sank to mini-mom.
This measures not only speed but user engagement by bounce rate -- the percentage of users who disappear after looking at just one page.
The best-forming site was Perfume.com, which scored a 70. Its pages load quickly. It even had a little rocket icon next to its results. Also performing well were FragranceShop.com, PaulMitchell.com and BurkeWilliamsSpa.com.
You should, therefore, be in a good position to help your mom smell good and look good.
The worst-performing sites, however, might stun some.
Teleflora.com scored a zero. Soasta put a little bicycle icon on this result. Also in Soasta's doghouse were 123Greetings.com, which scored a 4, ThingsRemembered.com, which got a 5, MassageEnvy.com, which scored an 11 and Hersheys.com, which scored a 13.
Naturally, Soasta's loving heart might have given in to certain venal marketing instincts with such an analysis.
The company assured me that none of the sites in the list it gave me is or has ever been one of its clients.
I asked the company about Teleflora's zero. Where was the (perhaps large) room for improvement?
Soasta offered me a depressingly long list that included: "Reduce the number of HTTP requests required to fetch the resources for each page" and "optimize client-side processing priorities and script execution efficiency."
This sounded frightfully serious, so I put this to the zero-rated Teleflora.
Beth Monda, vice president of ecommerce at Teleflora, told me: "Customer satisfaction is our top priority and we are always evaluating our processes and platforms to enhance that experience. Recently, Teleflora.com re-launched on Oracle Commerce, an industry leading platform."
Ah. So there really might have been a problem?
"Our analytics show that since launching, we have experienced substantial increases in conversion rate, customer satisfaction and net promoter scores via on-site surveys," Monda told me.
Even a cursory view of our nation shows that our patience gauge is in the red. Companies surely know -- as the FT itself discovered -- that if their websites don't perform their revenue will suffer.
You don't care about their revenue, though, do you?
You do, however, care about your mom.
Updated May 4 at 11:22 a.m. PT: Subsequent to this article running, Teleflora became upset. Steven Clark, the company's vice president of corporate communications told me: "Within hours of their findings being posted online, Soasta salesmen wasted no time contacting Teleflora and other targeted companies multiple times to pitch Soasta products and services to 'help improve' these questionable rankings." Moreover, Soasta subsequently published a press release that did include two of its clients -- stunningly at No. 2 and No. 6 in the "best" rankings.
Teleflora is trying to turn this into a positive, however. "Teleflora knows Mom would not approve of Soasta's bad behavior, so we're offering a 25 percent discount on Teleflora Mother's Day bouquets to anyone who enters or calls with the Promo Code: SOASTA."
For its part, Soasta commented: "The Soasta CPI index is an impartial and quantitative analysis of website performance."
The company added: "This effort is unrelated to any activity on the Soasta sales side."
Yes, of course it is.