When you find out about this developer trick, you’ll never see progress bars the same again.

In a now-deleted Reddit Thread from earlier today (Apr. 16, 2021) that delved into the weird industry secrets normal customers don’t know about, one Carfax software developer spilled the beans on a back-end trick he programmed in to appease not so tech-savvy customers.

Former Carfax employee and Redditor /u/Cybersoaker told us how their CarFax software was so fast retrieving data that, in order to satisfy Carfax buyers who complained their results popped up too fast, CS programmed in a fake progress bar that randomly waited for a couple of seconds to sell the lie that computers were “crunching the data” behind the scenes.

While technology and information is everywhere, the vast majority of people do not have a basic understanding of how information is compiled, uploaded and presented in understandable reports on the Internet.

Carfax has been around since 1984 and is basically a gigantic database with, according to their website, over 26 billion records. It’s literally the most comprehensive vehicle history database in North America.

According to Shift.com,

Carfax gathers information from police departments, insurance companies, DMVs, and auction houses to piece together a history on nearly every car out there. Their data-gathering team in Virginia adds about 3.5 million records a day

When you pay for a Carfax, you’re simply paying for access to their database. The work’s already done and reports are compiled for you, as mentioned, in as little as 10 milliseconds (that’s about one tenth of a blink.)

Carfax reports are not cheap. At $40 for just one, it’s more than most people will spend to find out a car’s history. Many Carfax report buyers don’t know about their vast database and wrongly assume Carfax starts “gathering” information around the internet when you finish your purchase.

For their $40, customers want dinner and a show. Hence, the fake progress bar.

Reddit users mentioned how programmers often program in progress bars or spinning icon doohickeys to satisfy end users and that basically any site that has a loading page, like TurboTax, Booking.com, Travelocity and even your ATM’s “Processing your transaction” are all uselessly programmed in or else people would complain.

Now that you know this information, it’ll be hard to not notice fake progress bars everywhere else online!


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