Will users encounter the Waiting Room even when the queue is not busy?

If you are directing users to your Waiting Room by publicising the Waiting Room URL, then users will briefly see the waiting room before being redirected to the target site.

If you are using one of the integration options, and directing users to your own domain, then users will only see the Waiting Room if overall demand for your domain is exceeding the rate you have set, or if the queue for that room has not activated yet.

What's the difference between the Room Opens date and the Queue Activates date?

In the case of a popular event, users will typically try to start accessing your target url well in advance of the scheduled on-sale date. They may do it hoping to get to the front of the queue, or they might be trying to scout for information in advance of the on-sale. The Room Opens date is the date at which the Waiting Room will start intercepting requests to the target URL, protecting it from traffic, and preventing it from revealing too much information. If the room is open, but the queue has not yet activated, then your users will be provided with a countdown. Users will not be assigned a queue position until the queue activates. When it does, those users that have been camping out in the waiting room will receive a random queue position. All users that join after that will receive an incremental queue position.

Is the countdown really counting down live?

No. The Waiting Room checks in periodically based on how long the user's estimated wait is, typically once per minute. When the new position is retrieved the number 'counts down' to the new position. The animation is intended to reassure the user that the page has not crashed or frozen. The real check in date is shown at the bottom of the screen.

How is the wait time estimated?

The Waiting Room tracks how many positions the user has dropped since joining the room to get an average rate per minute and applies that to the number of users in front to get an estimate of waiting time.