Why Basenotes is rubbish lately

  • Admin
AKA - where are the marketplace bits in the directory, AKA - why is it offline for hours at a time, AKA - why do I have to log into see the review now, AKA - why is something happening that is really quite annoying...

Anybody that visits the site often will have come across an occasion in the last few months where the site unavailable. This is frustrating for us, so we guess it must be frustrating for you too. Here's what is happening.

The main culprit is the scripts that run the directory. These were coded by myself (based heavily on an application called flattext) back in 2001. I'm a self-taught perl coder, so I kind of made it up as I went along.

How the script works is that when you look at the page for Angel, it looks through 11,000 fragrances to find the stuff to do with Angel. It then looks through 30,000 reviews to find the Angel ones. For those of you who know anything about coding, to have to do this everytime someone looks at a page is pretty inefficient. So why did I write it like this? Well, back in 2001 we had 900 fragrances to look through, and about 300 reviews. Plus we had around 100-200 visitors a day, so there wasn't too much strain.

Over December we were getting about 130,000 page views a day. So the server was getting a bit of a kicking due to my bad coding.

I first thought we might start getting problems last February, and so began recoding six years worth of code. By the middle of the year it was becoming apparent something wasn't working, as we were crashing fairly regularly. Traffic had been increasing regularly after winning a major industry award in Canada, and being featured in the NYT. Being not overly technical, I thought the problem was due to my then hosts.

I then took the decision to move hosting to a different company, paying for a slightly more high-tech server. This started off well, until we started getting busier over the holiday period.

The culprit, as I now know, was not the hosting, but my old code. And since then various measures have been put in place to try and minimise the crashes.

As I said, I'm recoding the whole thing to make it more efficient. I don't know how much longer it will take. In the meantime, the directory will have to come down again until it is resolved (I can't work properly on the code unless I can access the site).

The other option is to pay for more powerful machines to run the site on. The quote we received from our hosts (and others) is about the same as what I pay for my house rent each month, which is just too much right now.

We're entering our eighth year online, and ideally would like Basenotes to grow into something really special. We've got some really great ideas we just haven't been able to implement as throughout 2007 we spent the whole time just trying to keep things ticking over.

I'll keep you informed as to progress.

Blog Comments


Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Oct 27, 2005
Grant, you're a treasure! Your dedication to the site is amazing, and we all love you for it!


New member
Dec 12, 2007
Many thanks for your hard work! I'm new to frangrance and the database has been incredibly helpful as I work my way through all the wonderful sounding frangrances offered by thousands of different perfumers -- I can't possibly sample them all for myself!


Well-known member
May 21, 2006
Godspeed Mr. O. You have a great site here. I would be lost(scent-wise) without it. Don't remember how I found it but very glad that I did. You're the best.

Francois Blais

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2000
Thanks a lot for the update, Grant!
My suggestion is that you simplify the directories pages anyway!
There's no need for everything you put there.
If I remember well, these pages were more simple in the beginning, and they worked well.



Well-known member
Feb 16, 2007
Thank you for your dedication to keeping this site up and running. I have been quite curious to know what was going on (even wondering if the problem was on my ISP's end).

It has been frustrating using the site lately, but knowing that there is someone behind the scenes working on it, I'd say we should all "pay attention to the man behind the curtain" and give him kudos! :)


Well-known member
Dec 4, 2007
As a newbie here, I've gotten used to get many daily doses of BN---when it went down after New Year, I completely missed my new found friend BN. You are quite awesome to explain everything and work yer butt off to keep it going. All the best and thank you very much.


Sep 18, 2007
Oh, that sounds like so much work. I have been wondering why I can't access Basenotes some of the time. I'll just be patient. I enjoy this blog very much. Clare Stella


Well-known member
Sep 6, 2006
Bless your heart and overworked brain and fingers! They're what makes this the very best site EVER.

Anything we can do to help?


Well-known member
Apr 27, 2007
Thank you for providing an explanation and let's hope your investment of work and time in Basenotes will pay off soon. :)


Well-known member
May 27, 2007
Thank you for the update, and for the great site!

Could we maybe have a sticky (like this) where we are periodically updated? Knowing what's going on would help the community I think.


Basenotes Founder
Basenotes Plus
Sep 29, 2000
Thank you for the update, and for the great site!

Could we maybe have a sticky (like this) where we are periodically updated? Knowing what's going on would help the community I think.

Thats the plan - I'll try and keep this blog updated with latest goings on so everyone knows what is happening


Well-known member
Jan 30, 2007
I've only been here for a year, but am amazed at the dedication and hard work you put into this site! Thankyou for that! :)
I'll be more than happy to wait as long as it takes, to get back on track!


New member
Sep 14, 2007
This is a wonderful site. Has helped me with information about all the great fragrances. You do great work, and I appreciate it so much.


Jan 21, 2008
You are to be applauded! I am certain that this site has taken on a life of its own...taking much of your life as it continues. This seems to be the nature of the beast...and the basenotes community should be very grateful for all of your efforts. This collection of information has been a tremendous resource for my work and undoubtedly is of great cvalue and enjoyment to others of a like mind. Please accept our thanks and we hope you will continue with your labour of love.


Well-known member
Apr 6, 2006
I have gotten so much out of being on this site. It has given me hours and hours of pleasure and alot of new friends to boot. I can't thank you enough for all your hard work and dedication Grant.

Dec 28, 2007
I``m so glad of the explanation, I will stop swearing. I`m on this site every day, I`m addicted and learning so much, now I can`t do without you, thank you so much.


Feb 22, 2002
Grant...it's A "good" Problem. You've Been So Successful That You Are Now Going Through Growing Pains! Congratulations On WINNING The Award. It's well deserved...as you that The Best Scent Site On The Net. If You Need Any Finanacial Help...let Us Know And Maybe We Can Chip In And Assist You. Happy New Year And Good Luck On The Code. Joshaugustt
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Well-known member
Jan 12, 2007
Grant -- your labour of love is something we all love too. We will all be patient as the evolution process continues. Best wishes!


Well-known member
Jan 15, 2005
I'm a programmer. I do know what it means to rewrite a code from the dark ages of 6-7 years ago. I'm all tears when I think of you.
God bless you.


Well-known member
Jan 13, 2008
Thanks for the update! I love the site and wish you luck with the Perl! I wish i knew something about Perl, I would offer to help!


Well-known member
May 17, 2006
Oh, Lord. Perl... [crossing myself]. Very powerful, but not a beginner's language. Dude... let's talk about script alternatives sometime, please please please! Friends don't let friends build from scratch when there's tonnes of great stuff out there.

Then again, maybe you are consulting with some programmers. If so, bravo!

Lastly, please consider being informative like this more often. Your paid customers deserve it!

Thanks, Dave

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