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The upscale retail site was down today on Internet Explorer browsers.
NeimanMarcus.com, the e-commerce site for the upscale Neiman Marcus Group Inc. department store chain, was unavailable from about 3 a.m. Eastern time today via two popular versions of the Internet Explorer web browser. The site remained offline or continued to show an error page through mid-day Wednesday, according to AlertBot, the web site monitoring service of InfoGenius Inc.
AlertBot says the Neiman Marcus site was either completely down or showing an error page when accessed via versions 6 and 8 of the Internet Explorer web browser on computers running on the Windows 7 operating system. The error page displayed the message: “We are currently updating our site to enhance your shopping experience. Please check back soon, or call 1-888-888-4757 for immediate assistance. We apologize for the error.” A call to that number connected a shopper with Neiman’s call center to place an order or check the status of an existing order.
Justin Noll, sales and marketing manager for AlertBot, estimates that about 5% of the global Internet population access web sites using Windows 7 and at least one of the Internet Explorer browser versions in question. “The problem is most likely a server misconfiguration on Neiman Marcus’s part,” he says.
Neiman Marcus Direct, the retailer’s online and catalog division, did not immediately return a request for comment. AlertBot did not report downtimes at other Neiman Marcus Group brands. In addition to Neiman Marcus, the retail company also operates e-commerce sites for apparel retail brands Bergdorf Goodman and Cusp, and for home furnishings cataloger Horchow. Neiman Marcus Group is No. 39 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
NeimanMarcus.com has also been showing erratic response times today for the error page that has appeared on versions 6 and 8 of Internet Explorer, AlertBot says. Instead of the site’s usual page response time of about 700 milliseconds, the response times today monitored by AlertBot have ranged from a super-fast 300 milliseconds to an extremely slow time of four to five seconds, Noll says. At other times the response time was 30 seconds or more, he adds. Response time refers to the amount of time it takes to get the first byte of data on a web page, AlertBot says. By comparison, industry-wide page load times—referring to the time it takes to load a full web page—typically run about two seconds or more.
Noll also notes that NeimanMarcus.com has not shown downtimes today on other web browsers, including Firefox and version 9 of Internet Explorer, and that it’s unusual in AlertBot’s monitoring experience to come across a web site with downtime on only some versions of web browsers. “The oddest thing is that the site works on some browsers and not others,” he says.