It’s the start of Thanksgiving week, which is the biggest week on Recipezaar traffic-wise. December is huge because of Christmas and New Year’s, but that traffic surge is spread out over a couple weeks. Thanksgiving’s traffic is concentrated in three days: Monday will be our biggest day in our history, Tuesday is even bigger, Wednesday is huge and Thursday the traffic just drops at about 9am our time as people are finishing their food and sitting down to eat. History has shown that our Thanksgiving traffic sets the bar for what the following year averages month-to-month. So this week helps us project our growth for next year.

This demonstrates an unexpected advantage in running a cooking site: the traffic spikes are very predictable since they coincide with American holidays. Even Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day are big cooking holidays we’ve learned. As the internet population becomes more global, I expect this to change so that our spikes coincide with every holiday around the globe.

It’s exciting to watch the live stats on the servers that gauge their performance during this week. Last year went well, after we had an emergency repair a week before Thanksgiving Day. Over the course of 2004, we’ve added quite a bit of horsepower and made some significant software performance improvements so we’re confident enough that we decided not to add any additional hardware before Thanksgiving. So this week will tell us how smart/stupid that decision was.

Update: At 10am today, our hourly traffic for both hours between 8am and 10am blew away our highest hourly traffic ever. And daily traffic generally peaks from noon to 3pm, so those three hours are going to be interesting today.

Update #2: By the end of the day, our total traffic was 50% higher than the monthly average. Looking back at last year, it wasn’t until Wednesday that we hit 50% increase for the day. So even if Tuesday and Wednesday this year are the same as yesterday, we’ve done significantly better than last year!