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Getting Mobbed: Are you prepared for a mob of online shoppers?

Groupon, LivingSocial, Dealfind — these sites exist because consumers will always be looking for bigger and better deals on the products and services they love. But while you might think that your business landing a promotion on one of these sites would be a good thing, what happens when your ad goes viral and millions of users bring your site to a grinding halt; or worse, break it?

If you look at a typical flash sale, it closely resembles the makings of a good load test. Thousands, maybe even millions, of users flood onto your site from all over the globe trying to accomplish the same goal. If that’s not the definition of a load test, then somebody call Webster’s.

The one major difference however, is the consequences. When a load test takes down your site, you expect it. When customers take down your site, you panic. That’s the one good thing about synthetic users, they don’t mind when your site crashes. Actually, they kind of enjoy it.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a product on the market that could realistically simulate different sized flash mobs to virtually mob your site, just like a holiday shopping spree? That way, you could see exactly how your website would handle a new promotion going viral, without any of the negative feedback and damning headlines. What do you think? Sounds interesting right?

Just make sure you give your synthetic users a nice holiday gift to reciprocate. I hear they like e-cards.

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Sven Hammar is Co-Founder and CEO of Apica. In 2005, he had the vision of starting a new SaaS company focused on application testing and performance. Today, that concept is Apica, the third IT company I’ve helped found in my career.

Before Apica, he co-founded and launched Celo Commuication, a security company built around PKI (e-ID) solutions. He served as CEO for three years and helped grow the company from five people to 85 people in two years. Right before co-founding Apica, he served as the Vice President of Marketing Bank and Finance at the security company Gemplus (GEMP).

Sven received his masters of science in industrial economics from the Institute of Technology (LitH) at Linköping University. When not working, you can find Sven golfing, working out, or with family and friends.