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This May’s general election could be the last before the populace has a chance to vote online. But while commerce has recognised that competition is just a click away, how much attention have the politicians paid to the performance of their parties’ websites?

Keynote Systems, the Internet Performance Authority™, is monitoring the websites of 35 UK political parties in the run-up to the general election. In the space of one week, the difference between the time taken for websites to load has been startling – with waiting times varying from little over a second to more than a minute.

In an age where online shoppers are used to clicking away to the faster-loading competition once the eight-second patience threshold has been crossed, what does this mean for the future of voting habits?

Keynote has measured 35 parties’ websites – from the Tories and Labour Party, to the Monster Raving Loonies and the Happening Happy Hippy Party – consistently over the past week. Over this period, the Labour Party’s site averaged a wait of eight seconds or more, and at times took almost 15 seconds to load. In contrast, the Welsh Labour Party’s site was available after an average of just 1.13 seconds, with Plaid Cymru’s site also very quick to load at 1.53 seconds.

Meanwhile, the Green Party’s website took an average of 2.67 seconds to load, while the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives followed with averages of 4.07 seconds and 4.56 seconds respectively.

The Scottish Labour Party’s website varied wildly in its loading times – while the average was 10.71 seconds, potential voters can expect to wait anywhere between 1.45 and 40.44 seconds to see what the party has to say about itself.

The Scottish Conservatives, meanwhile, are at least consistent with their page loading time – there were not many occasions when it varied from the average of 21.6 seconds.

The Happening Happy Hippy Party appears to hope its voters will be mellow enough to endure the 16.73 seconds taken for its site to load. Unfortunately, Keynote could not measure the Monster Raving Loony Party’s site, as the loading time was longer than the maximum 60 seconds for data to be available.

Keynote, established five years ago in the Silicon Valley and headquartered in London for its International Operation, is the worldwide leader in e-commerce benchmarking and web performance services that improve the quality of e-business. The company measures web content download times, transactions and streaming media quality, by employing the largest worldwide network of over 1,200 measurement computers measuring more than 120 Internet connection points in 50 metropolitan areas.

Olivier Carron, Vice President EMEA, Keynote Systems, said: “The major political parties have an excellent opportunity here to lead by example and show UK companies how to optimise their e-commerce operations.

“By measuring the performance of their sites and ensuring they are consistently accessible, available and quick to load, they can set the standard for all e-commerce practitioners to follow, while inspiring confidence in plans to move public services online.”

About Keynote
Keynote Systems (Nasdaq: KEYN - news), The Internet Performance Authority®, is the worldwide leader in Internet performance services that improve the quality of e-business. Approximately 3,000 corporate IT departments, web hosting companies and Internet service and content delivery providers around the world have implemented the company’s easy-to-use and cost-effective services to benchmark and manage the performance of their web sites. Keynote was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in San Mateo. The company can be reached at www.keynote.com.

Note to Editors: The Internet Performance Authority is either a trademark or registered trademark of Keynote in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

For further information please contact:
Olivier Carron, Vice President EMEA/Christina Mueller, PR and Marketing Manager, Keynote – Tel: 0207 887 4531
Krista Burnett/Christine Jarvis, Profile PR – Tel: 0207 734 4945

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