EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2320 - June 30, 2010     1 of 3

Amazon.com Fails to Explain 3-Hour Outage

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It should have been a good day for Amazon.com yesterday, with its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos appearing in an interview in Fortune Magazine. Instead shares of the company closed down after a 3-hour technical issue left visitors unable to shop.

Amazon.com communicated with its third-party sellers, but no one else. It posting an announcement on the Seller Announcement board at 12:47 pm Pacific that site latencies were impacting customers' ability to place orders on the Amazon.com website.

Some bloggers tried to calculate the cost of the outage to Amazon's bottom line doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations, such as this one from Data Center Knowledge, which estimated the potential cost as somewhat lower than $1.75 million an hour.

Others documented Amazon's previous outages, such as this Cnet article an hour outage in 2006, a 30-minute outage in 1999, and a 90-minute outage in 2008, calling it "a better-than-average record for such a well-trafficked shopping destination."

Amazon.com updated its seller announcement at 8:45 PM, with a typically succinct message: "Greetings from Amazon, This issue has now been resolved." Amazon's public relations team did not respond to AuctionBytes' inquiry for more information about the outage, and other journalists reported the same.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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