August 10, 2012, 10:27 AM

Volusion updates technology platform after power outage

Some Volusion retailers’ sites went down earlier this week.

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Volusion Inc. launched a new version of its e-commerce platform this week, with new features including enlarged product images and the ability to list items for sale on eBay.com.

“Customers have been asking us for improvements to their workflow and improvements to usability,” Jason Woosley, vice president of product, says in a video posted on the company’s web site this week announcing version 13 of the Volusion e-commerce technology platform. “V13 is our vehicle to get that into our customers’ hands.”

The promise of the new platform, however, coincided with a problem that left some e-commerce sites on its existing platform offline earlier this week. A denial of service attack, or DoS, knocked out one online store of a Volusion client on Tuesday, the company said. Volusion information technology staff then quarantined the site to protect Volusion’s overall infrastructure, which is distributed in a software-as-a-service model shared by multiple retailers.

In a DoS attack, an excessive amount of traffic is purposely sent to a web site in an attempt to overwhelm its infrastructure and prevent it from operating.

“The attack resulted in sporadic service interruption for a very small number of merchants while the targeted store was being moved to quarantine,” the spokeswoman says. “Functionality was returned to stores in less than 20 minutes.” Volusion didn’t provide more information about the attack.

Volusion has experienced repeated power outages in recent months, a trend that has elicited a large number of critical comments by Volusion clients posted on Facebook, Twitter and InternetRetailer.com, and has prompted Volusion CEO Clay Olivier to post a note on the company’s web site last month promising system upgrades. More on that upgrade plan and comments from Volusion clients can be found here.

Three retailers that contacted Internet Retailer this week but asked to remain anonymous say their sites experienced periods of being offline earlier this week. One retailer says that his e-commerce site was down twice earlier this month, and that it was offline for an hour on Aug. 7. “These outages are only getting worse,” he says. He adds that Volusion has also blamed prior outages on DoS attacks.

To help sites on the Volusion platform handle additional traffic, Volusion plans to increase its network capacity tenfold this month, the spokeswoman says.

The extra capacity should provide smoother operations on Volusion’s new e-commerce platform. Other new features on V13 include the ability to make product ratings that appear on a Volusion client’s e-commerce site to also appear in the same retailer’s paid ads on Google. In addition, retailers on V13 will be able to administer their web page content from mobile devices, including smartphones and tablet computers.

V13 is available now to new Volusion clients. Existing clients’ e-commerce sites will be upgraded to the new version over the coming weeks, Volusion says.

Volusion has more than a dozen clients listed in the Internet Retailer Second 500 and two in the Internet Retailer Top 500.

 

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