Thursday, September 01, 2005

40 Markets - Part 2 

I need to correct one opinion from yesterday. MediaMap is not just slow in the afternoon. It stops dead. Won't run. Can't make it run. Come back later. This happened yesterday to two of us, and we're under a tight deadline. (Cue gnashing of teeth.) What infuriates me is that the company is aware of the problem but is making customers live with it.

I suspect I know the reason for the slowdown. It isn't hard to build a hypothesis. The system starts to seize at noon when the entire US comes online from New York to California. It is OK in the morning before California work hours and after 6 pm when the East Coast goes home. It is underpowered. Some IT person built it for average performance and not for peak usage, which may be OK for other applications but is lousy for people working under deadline. The system needs to be built for reasonable response under peak loads. It isn't there now.

If anyone has a suggestion for a better system, I'd like to know it. I've looked at a lot of them over the years. They promise a great deal but their databases are indifferent at best.

The keys to a good media database system are simple but difficult: It must be accurate and easy to use 24 hours a day.

By accurate, I don't just mean the name of the reporter or editor but also the person's beat, interests and other pertinent information that helps one target the right individual rather than spamming. Easy-to-use speaks for itself. MediaMap is not easy to use. It tries to do too much and, as a result, it confuses people who can't take the time to learn all of its tricks.


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