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Paid user "express lane" [Jul. 8th, 2004|03:22 pm]
Paid Members

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[bradfitz]
New paid user feature!

If you're logged in as a paid user, you "cut in line" of other web requests that we've received but not yet generated a response for.

So our load balancer retrieves all incoming web requests immediately after your browser sends them, then sorts those requests into two lines: free users and paid users.

Whenever a real server (not the load balancer) is ready to do more work, it always fulfills a request from the paid user line, and only does free user requests once no paid users are waiting.

We've had this done for a couple weeks, but just put it live today. We were going to wait to announce it until we had the cool part done, but thought it best you all know what's up. The cool part is: we're going to make the load balancer tell the real servers how many seconds/milliseconds you saved by cutting in line and how many people you cut in front of, and then the real servers will add that to the response, so you can do "View Source" in your browser and at the top it'll show you those stats, so you can verify it's working.

This is all different from what we did a few years ago, which was to have "free servers" and "paid servers". Instead all the servers do both free and paid, but access to the servers is prioritized by your account type.

Here are some stats of it in action:
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 0
web_proxy-normal.count 3
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 0
web_proxy-normal.count 0
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 0
web_proxy-normal.count 4
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 1
web_proxy-normal.count 4
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 0
web_proxy-normal.count 3
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.
queues
web_proxy-normal.age 0
web_proxy-normal.count 5
web_proxy-highpri.age 0
web_proxy-highpri.count 0
.


At the top it showed there were 3 free users (waiting for less than a second --- age 0) waiting to get responses, and 0 paid users. Then it was all clear, then 4 new free users were waiting, then waiting up to a second, then those cleared, and 3 new free users were waiting under a second. Then 5 later, still under a second.

But throughout, no paid users were ever waiting.

Obviously the above isn't an interesting demo of this feature, but next time we hit a hiccup and the site gets slow, the paid users will be affected the least, since you won't have to wait in line long for a page to be generated. (just have to wait for paid users that came before you)
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: luxography
2004-07-08 11:55 pm (UTC)
You probably think that charging extra for non-crappy seats at a sporting event or a concert is also a little messed up.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: __murderer__
2004-07-09 08:50 am (UTC)
actually I do
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: luxography
2004-07-11 09:26 pm (UTC)
Well, if our world ever changes to one where the price of sale is not primarily determined by either the cost to provide the goods/service nor the market demand for the good/service, I'll let you know. ;-)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: __murderer__
2004-07-12 03:04 pm (UTC)
wow I had no idea all these users would be this peeved at my comment..I feel proud now. Thank you all.

And I DO think that if people want to market their service and make some astronomically stupid "express lane" garbage then please start the site PRIMARILY as a PAID site and not spring it up on people after awhile of dealing with shitty service. Don't give great service and then downgrade little options here and there for greed purposes please, it's useless and it's shady. PERIOD.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: __murderer__
2004-07-12 03:06 pm (UTC)
all the users who are against my ideas then please feel free to hang onto the admins' balls because that's exactly what you're doing. If you're against something, then speak out and don't be little bitches about it because I know I'm not the only one against this whole idea.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tomcatshanger
2004-07-20 11:34 am (UTC)
Laugh.
Yeah, cause damn capitalist business people taking care of their paying customers are EVIL.
DOWN WITH THE MAN!

Your hilarious.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: admiralmemo
2004-08-03 08:02 pm (UTC)

Um...

I saw no bad service, either when I was free or when I paid up. There was that problem with the Cartman cluster, but they more than made up for it. LiveJournal is great, IMO.

Also, show me where they "downgraded" anything. I fail to see it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nicolemarieh
2004-09-01 12:51 am (UTC)
livejournal is not "primarily" a paid site. imo, they dont even truly encourage people to become paid members; its just an option for you. they dont spam you with emails/advertisements (hello, hotmail) about the benefits of being paid- you generally have to seek out the information if youre interested. Nowhere has anyone been "springing" charges, crappy service, or any other otherwise negative things on users. The option to be a paid member has been around for at least a couple years i believe, and iirc, there wasnt even any real benefits for becoming one at the time. it was just something you could do to help support the site. there certainly was no "shitty service" to speak of, so there goes your theory.

for every paid user improvement, there are probably five more general (free) user improvements in the works. "Please note that we're continually optimizing the site because to us, even a slight lag is totally unacceptable" This applies to everyone, even the ridiculous, ignorant, and unappreciative users. *ahem*

As far as options go, many new and exciting features have been added to livejournal in the past year, more are constantly being worked on. Many are available to everyone while some are just for paid users. And i assure you, not a thing has been downgraded. PERIOD.
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[User Picture]From: nicolemarieh
2004-09-01 01:00 am (UTC)
you really think its fair for people a quarter mile away from an event (who can only see blurry movements or watch on big screens) should have to pay as much to go as the people who get to be just a few feet away and can catch every tiny bit of action?
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