When writing my master thesis about resource allocation in containers I wanted to show the relevance of performance by citing something I always knew to be true: 100ms in additional latency costs you 1 % revenue. Time to find a source for the references!

All sources I could find eventually end up to be Greg Linden. He worked at Amazon for 5 years from 1997 to 2002 and worked on the recommendation system. He recounts this stat in a blog post from 2006: In A/B tests, we tried delaying the page in increments of 100 milliseconds and found that even very small delays would result in substantial and costly drops in revenue.

Later that month he repeated this in a presentation(PPT):

+100ms latency leads to -1% sales at amazon

This A/B test must have happened somewhen before 2002. People do statistically insignificant A/B tests or come to wrong conclusions all the time, so a simple claim is not good enough for a source.

Greg Linden referenced a presentation by Marissa Meyer(PPT) from the Web 2.0 conference in 2006 in which she apparently talked about the A/B test from the slide above. Her main message: Instant feedback loops matter for product engagement.

I am rather surprised to see that the 1% claim has made it into the common knowledge of so many people as a fact, considering it is so weakly supported and outdated.

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