November 27, 2007, 12:00 AM

Yahoo Store platform back in operation after Monday shutdown

The Yahoo Merchant Solutions e-commerce platform, also known as Yahoo Store, returned to regular operation last night after most of its more than 40,000 retailers were unable to process orders as usual yesterday, Yahoo says.

 

The Yahoo Merchant Solutions e-commerce platform, also known as Yahoo Store, returned to regular operation last night after most of its more than 40,000 retailers were unable to process orders as usual yesterday, Yahoo Inc. says.

Yahoo, which first reported that Yahoo Store merchants were having problems processing orders at 8:31 a.m. Pacific time yesterday, reported 14.5 hours later, at 11:06 p.m. Pacific, that all of its merchants were fully back online and able to process orders as usual. Rich Riley, senior vice president of Yahoo`s Online Channel Division, said in a subsequent corporate blog posting today that the problems first occurred at 6 a.m. Pacific time and were fixed by 6 p.m. Pacific time.

As of mid-day today, however, Yahoo had not said what caused yesterday’s problem. “We continue to investigate the cause of events,” a spokeswoman said today.

The outage yesterday shocked retailers who had been ready for the usual spike in online shopping on the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend. “After weeks of preparing for ‘Cyber Monday,’ one of the busiest shopping days of the season, we were very excited to start the day,” Mitchell Lieberman, CEO of OneWayFurniture.com in Farmingdale, NY, said yesterday. “But what I woke up to early this morning was a horrible scenario for online shoppers. The shopping carts where visitors pay for their orders were down completely.”

Kevin Hickey, vice president of marketing at New Stanton, PA-based OnlineStores.com, which operates several sites on the Yahoo Store platform including EnglishTeaStore.com and United-States-Flag.com, says his company lost about $35,000 in expected sales yesterday as it was able to take in only 20% of its usual volume on the phone and in sporadic online orders.

“We’re disappointed that Yahoo wasn’t up to its normal level of reliability yesterday,” Hickey says. “It might spur us into looking into alternate platforms and to have a redundant back-up system for taking orders.”

At Y Store Forums, a networking web site for Yahoo Store operators at newforums.ystoretools.com, several Yahoo Store retailers posted comments yesterday about the outage. One posting, titled “Customers can not checkout,” was viewed more than 12,500 times.

In a statement released today, Yahoo said: “Yahoo’s dedicated and experienced team of engineers and management personnel worked around the clock to improve the situation as quickly as possible for our merchant partners and their customers. Our systems are operating normally now and our merchants are able to accept orders. Yahoo’s relationship with our merchants is extremely important to us and we value their loyalty. We deeply regret any inconvenience this may have caused.”

Riley added in his corporate blog posting: “We are moving mountains inside Yahoo to see why and how this happened, and to take steps to try to ensure it doesn’t happen again. As for the future, rest assured that we are taking the necessary steps to prepare for the peak holiday selling season. We have technical and customer relations staff mobilized to support our partners.”

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