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Donald Trump bests Jeb Bush in website performance, experts say

A comprehensive review of all the candidates' website performances by a company in the business of improving it shows that there are stark disparities.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Donald Trump. Even his website's a winner. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

How was that Democratic debate for you?

Did it move you? Or did it move just certain inner parts of you?

The big question, at least if you're obsessively technological, is whether people moved to go to a candidate's website will be well served there.

In a no-doubt calculating but still potentially enlightening exercise, a company decided to see whether Bernie Sanders' website performs as well as Hillary Clinton's. The enlarged brains at Soasta, a company that exists to judge and improve performance on the Web, took to its proprietary systems to see which candidate has got his or her Web together.

Soasta ranked the politicos' websites based on its Consumer Performance Index, which examines everything from the site's bounce rate (site visits that don't go beyond the home page) to speed and load times. The company told me its CPI "balances visitor satisfaction with a website based on bounce rate across a range of load times to provide an online engagement score."

According to results Soasta released Tuesday evening, Donald Trump came out where he always has -- in first place. If he can't make America great again, he's certainly made Web performance in politics as good as it can be.

Rumbling closely behind was Bernie Sanders. Coming in third place was John Kasich, while fourth place was captured by Hillary Clinton, whose site currently features Katy Perry. (I am serious.)

What about the Internitwits?

At the very bottom was Jeb Bush, which seems surprising as some say he's raised more money than most. Can it be that he doesn't have a good back end? Or perhaps it's a Florida thing, because next to last was Marco Rubio, while just above these two was Ted Cruz.

The three of them might berate their nerds forthwith when they learn that above them all was Lawrence Lessig. The Stanford and Harvard law professor standing as a Democrat has only one goal: To get money out of politics. One assumes that, just like Trump, he's paid for his website himself.

Can it be that Bush isn't engaging and Trump is? I mean in the literal human sense, of course.

Ergo, perhaps their websites are perfect because they accurately reflect these characteristics. Still, Trump's site had a CPI of 88 to Sanders' 87. This contrasts with Cruz at 80.2, Rubio at 80.1 and Bush at a forlorn 77.

The difference between an 88 and a 77 CPI score is website load times of 5,097 milliseconds to 9,766 milliseconds, respectively.

It may not seem like much, but higher website load times have an adverse affect on readers' attention just as it does in e-commerce, explains Benjamin Polovick, a senior data scientist at Soasta.

"For Amazon, 100 millisecond latency can result in 1 percent of potential sales lost. For Google, a latency of 400 milliseconds results in a decrease of 0.44 percent of search sessions," Polovick said. "This time difference affects how many users are willing to understand a politician's stance and be willing to support their campaigns, attend rallies and eventually vote for them."

I wonder just how much websites make a difference when compared with a politician saying something utterly mendacious or insane that is actually recognized as mendacious or insane.

One day, of course, we'll all vote online for one robot or another. I still imagine though that, once Trump sees that he's a winner yet again, he'll be crowing on Twitter: "Trump Beats Clinton, Experts Say."