News sites carrying coverage of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's resignation faced an onslaught of traffic Wednesday, but demand on the servers paled in comparison to earlier in the week when news of the sex scandal first broke.
Spitzer, who developed a reputation as a bulldog while attorney general for the state of New York, was a hot news topic on Monday, when allegations surfaced that he had hired high-priced prostitutes.
And on Wednesday, the former attorney general turned governor announced his resignation, a move that comes early in his term.
The New York Times, for example, faced a two-second delay in loading pages between 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. (EDT), which came right in the middle of Spitzer's 11:30 a.m. press conference to announce his resignation, according to Web site monitoring company Pingdom.com. In the hours prior to 11 a.m., the average load time on the site was half a second.
But that 2-second delay Wednesday paled in comparison to the 11-second delay The New York Times site faced on Monday, according to Pingdom.com. That slowdown occurred from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
That had the IT staff at the New York Times juggling servers, said Diane McNulty, a spokeswoman for the media company.
"NYTimes.com Web site traffic spiked after the Spitzer article was posted on Monday around 2 p.m.," McNulty said in an e-mail. "The hourly Web site traffic from 2 to 4 p.m. was 60 percent higher than the same time last Monday."
She added that The New York Times' mobile traffic nearly doubled during that time period. Traffic figures for Spitzer's resignation announcement have yet to come in.
And while traffic to news sites was heavy on Wednesday, it didn't compare to 9/11.
The New York Times Web site was overwhelmed by traffic on September 11, 2001, the day terrorists struck the city's Twin Towers. Readers had trouble accessing stories on the site, McNulty noted.
And two months later, when an American Airlines plane crashed in Queens after departing from JFK airport, the Times site had trouble dishing up pages, but not as bad as on September 11, said McNulty, noting the company has since increased its bandwidth by 10 times its previous levels.