Google-eyed users flood SEC site

Securities and Exchange Commission

If you didn't think people were going gaga about Google Inc. going public, you should've checked out the Securities and Exchange Commission's Web site yesterday.

If you could get through.

"The volume yesterday was more than we've seen before as far as people can remember," said John Heine, SEC spokesman. "This was a pretty big surge."

Google filed for an initial public offering of stock April 29. Wall Street observers have described it as the most highly anticipated IPO in years.

Heine didn't directly attribute increased traffic to Google and didn't have any specifics on what people were asking for, but he said it's safe to speculate that many people were trying to access the search engine provider's IPO filing.

The SEC site's response was slow in the morning but evened out in the afternoon after they doubled capacity to handle the increased volume, Heine said. The commission's database, the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval, provides access to the legally required financial and securities filings from companies that are publicly traded or plan to be.

On an average afternoon, the SEC pushes out about 5 megabits of information, but on the afternoon of April 29 it transferred bout 50 megabits, Heine said. Several reporters mentioned they were having difficulty downloading the Google filings, he said.

"The document that Google filed was a fairly large one," he said. "A registration statement is not a six-page document — it's hundreds and hundreds of pages."

Google filed a Form 10, which is a general form for registration of securities, and a Form S-1, which is the registration statement. Combined, the documents exceed 200 pages.

According to Keynote Systems, Inc., which measures Web performance and management services, it normally takes about four seconds to download the SEC.gov home page from the 10 most populous geographic areas. But, Keynote said, between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. ET on April 29, the page took about 45 seconds for a download in some cases. During that hour, the success rate for downloading the SEC home page was as low as 20 percent at times, compared to the normal rate of 100 percent, Keynote said.

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