Virtual Black Friday a Disaster for Many
November 26, 2006 12:01 AM
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Just like retail stores during Black Friday, retailer web sites also had lots of visitors -- too many for some
Several major retailers
reportedly had issues with high amounts of web traffic
on their web sites during Black Friday. Wal-Mart's web site was difficult to access in the morning, leaving users with blank pages, delays and/or other problems. In the early afternoon, the web site just told users to come back at a later time. comScore Media Metrix says Walmart.com is the 21st most popular web site in the U.S., with almost 23 million unique visitors going to the site in September.
The possibility of purchasing one of 1,000 Microsoft Xbox 360 Core consoles for $100
caused Amazon.com to slow down
around 11AM PST yesterday. The small amount of Xbox 360 Core consoles sold out 29 seconds after the deal went live. Amazon's web site appeared to be back to normal within 15 minutes of the Xbox 360 deal ending. The additional traffic brought some affiliate Amazon sites to a crawl, such as Target.com.
Disney's shopping site was relatively okay, but still had congestion several clicks into the site, according to a spokesman for DisneyShopping.com. Even non-gift oriented sites experienced some traffic pains, as peripheral shopping engines like Shopping.com and PriceGrabber.com posted all time traffic records, and annoying load times.
A VISA spokesperson later confirmed that e-commerce sales were significantly off expectations, claiming good weather prompted customers to turn off the computer and drive to the stores instead.
Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving, has often times been one of the busiest U.S. shopping days of the year. As more retailers begin offering better deals on their web sites, they are getting better at dealing with the increased traffic. However, poor web experiences has been an alarming trend for users attempting to stay out of the lines at the brick and mortar stores.
comScore reported eBay tallied in at over 7.5M IP addresses just on Friday alone, with high expectations for "Cyber Monday" as well. Cyber Monday is the term recently coined to describe the Monday immediately following Black Friday, and has also recently been a strong shopping session.
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12/1/2006 11:59:10 AM
A company as big as Amazon.com should be able to afford some "Capacity On Demand" servers that automatically activate extra processors and memory held in reserve to handle peak loads. IBM builds these, and I'd be suprised if other server manufacturers didn't offer it as well.
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