XtraMSN visitor numbers 'phenomenal'

The contingency plans of Xtra Ltd., Telecom New Zealand Ltd.'s Internet arm, for increased traffic to the new XtraMSN.co.nz website have been "blown out of the water" by huge visitor numbers.

The new site was launched last Thursday, June 18, with Xtra planning for a 100 percent jump in traffic from its old site. However, Xtra communications specialist Matt Bostwick says that between 10am and 11am on its first day, visitor numbers were up 400 percent on the old Xtra site, which was "just phenomenal".

As a result many visitors to the site have encountered slower than normal loading times.

The site combines Xtra's New Zealand-centric news and information with Microsoft Corp.'s web-services, like Hotmail, Messenger, Chat and Communities.

Bostwick says XtraMSN apologizes to anyone who has experienced problems with the site.

"Xtra's technical staff have been working day and night to keep ahead of the wave. Even our contingency plans have been blown out of the water by the huge traffic loads," he said. "We've got jumbo jet-loads of new equipment coming in to make sure we can meet the demand."

He says the company always knew the new site was going to be popular, but the levels of traffic were far in excess of its most optimistic projections.

"The 400 percent increase in one day put a lot of strain on the computers that run the site," he said.

Bostwick says ACNielsen survey figures estimate XtraMSN will reach 75 percent of New Zealand's at-home net audience in its first month -- around 735,000 unique New Zealand visitors. He adds that the numbers are even bigger if you include at-work surfers.

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