June 10, 2008, 12:00 AM

Following Friday fiasco, Amazon.com site once again down for the count

Following its Friday downtime of nearly two hours, Amazon.com experienced availability and performance issues yesterday. The site was down to 30% availability mid-morning and 68% late morning and early afternoon. Its U.K. site also went down.

Following its Friday downtime of nearly two hours, Amazon.com Inc. experienced availability and performance issues yesterday. Beginning at 10:03 a.m. Pacific time, Amazon.com’s main site was down to 30% availability, meaning that only three out of every ten visitors were able to make it through, according to Keynote Systems, an Internet testing and measurement firm. The site returned to normal by 10:23 a.m. Pacific time, only to experience the exact same error condition from 10:56 a.m. through 11:09 a.m. Pacific time, when availability dropped to 68%, and then again from 12:43 p.m. through 1:01 p.m., Keynote reports.

While Friday’s outage only affected the main Amazon.com site, yesterday’s outage also affected Amazon.com’s United Kingdom site. The problems experienced on this site lasted longer and were, in some cases, more dramatic. Beginning at 10:06 a.m. Pacific time, the same “Service Unavailable” error was being seen by U.K. online shoppers, Keynote says. Availability dropped to 30% and then slowly, over the next couple hours, returned to normal.

During each outage period, visitors who were able to make it past the home page and browse for products experienced much slower performance and download times. Both sites regularly download completely in less than seven seconds and in many cases faster than four seconds, Keynote reports. Download times during the periods mentioned slowed by as much as 200%. In some cases, shoppers completely timed out, causing them to have to reload their browsers, unsure if the site would return.

Amazon.com, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, says it knows the source of the problem but would not say what it is. According to Keynote, the problem likely is being caused by a change in Amazon.com’s web infrastructure.

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