S: Service Metrics was started in July/1998 and backed by a couple of VC folks (Softbank and IDG Ventures). Grew from 3 people in July to 15 now.
J: Freshwater founded in 1996 by John & Donna and has VC funding from Mayfield Fund and Mohr Davidow. Knew they were going to build tools for WebMasters - that is their target audience. Went around and talked to various folks to find out what they needed to do their job, and based on that feedback, they develop products/services as needed.

Q: What is the granularity of the measurements:
J&S: Traceroute/response time is to the millisecond ... and if you want all the data, you can get it!
J: We poll however frequently you want because we are more operations oriented and want to tell you RIGHT away if there is an issue.
S: We do three times/hour because we are trying to show the trends.

Q: What is the impact on a "secure" httpd connection versus a "normal" one?
J&S: Significant ... at least two times (end-to-end ... could be more on server resources).

Q: Are any of your tests intrusive?
S: YES ... but the reality is that for any site of significance, they are in the noise. Their total number of hits is three times/hour times 10 sites ... so 30 hits an hour should not be bad.
J: YES ... but this is good ... because you HAVE to check every single piece in an end-to-end test ... testing the individual pieces no longer is good enough.

Q: How long does this suite of tests take? S: Typically spends 20-30 seconds per URL. They can even use a "test VISA" card that allows you to go all the way through purchase and credit card authorization ... but then it is not charged ... true test of the ordering process on the web site. J&S: They both check the validity of the returned HTML to insure the right stuff is returned.

Q: I'm interested in your products - how can I try 'em out?
J: You can try a free 10-day trial of SiteSeer and SiteScope; see our web page at
S: Contact us via phone or e-mail (see and we'll be happy to talk with you about complimentary trials. We do offer a free Web performance audit.

The Meeting ended just after 9:00. A reminder about upcoming RMIUG events:
Mar: Building Brand Beyond the Web: Panel Discussions on Responsible Email Marketing.
May: TBD
Jul: All you wanted to know about domain names but were afraid to ask!
Sep: Tips and Tools for Web Site Development
Nov: Y2K Armageddon, the coming Internet/World Meltdown! ;-)

(To suggest a topic, pls send your idea to

Minutes compiled, edited, and submitted by Alek Komarnitsky
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