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Chris Cardell

Amazon goes offline… it cannot be!

Amazon has always had a good track record with it’s uptime. However back in late October 2005 went down for around five to six hours, although at the time Amazon would “rather not talk about” how the problem was caused and when it started, which at the time seemed slightly suspicious.

Anyway, today went down for around two hours. The first users to come across the site being down were greeted by a friendly ‘Http/1.1 Service Unavailable’ error. Later, some users noticed a new message,

“We’re sorry!
You have been denied access to this feature because we believe you violated the terms, conditions, rules, guidelines or policies of our site in the past. If you believe we have taken this action in error, you may contact us at
We apologize for the inconvenience.”

We doubt this went down well with users, however shortly after Amazon corrected this message with a more polite message more of the nature, “its not you, its me”,

Amazon Down“An error occurred when we tried to process your request. Rest assured, we’re already working on the problem and expect to resolve it shortly.
If you were trying to make a purchase, please check Your Account to confirm that the order was placed.
We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Once Amazon had resolved their issues the PR department released (taken from TechCrunch),

“The Amazon retail site was down for approximately 2 hours earlier today (beginning around 10:25) – and we’re bringing the site back up.
Amazon’s systems are very complex and on rare occasions, despite our best efforts, they may experience problems. We work to minimize any disruption and to get the site back as quickly a possible.
Amazon’s web services were not affected nor were our international sites.”

Amazon’s last quarter global revenue was over $4 billion. Do a couple of rough calculations and you find that Amazon is generating revenue of around $1,826,000 every hour. Amazon was down for two hours, so theoretically they lost out on $3,652,000 for the time in which they were down. However these are global figures including all their services but only itself was down. Still, they would have lost a fairly significant sum of money (but probably not to them).

Possible reasons for the outage could be a DDOS attack, a software or configuration error, load balancer failure or a host of other possibilities. One things for sure, it certainly wasn’t because of Metal Gear or in preparation for the iPhone launch, they would have left a nice friendly ‘we’ll be right back, doing some maintenance’ message if that were true.

Still its nice to see some Amazon shenanigans, takes the limelight away from PayPal.

This entry was posted on Saturday, June 7th, 2008 at 1:04 am GMT. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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  • Colin Sidaway

    site has been offline for 2 hours this evening – went off around 5pm still offline now! is running ….but the link to gets you nowwhere!!!


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