UH-OH ... WTF JUST HAPPENED TO AMAZON? That was the rage all on Twitter yesterday as eager buyers went wondering just what was going on with the online book retailer.
On Tuesday, Amazon experienced a widespread servcie outage that last more than three hours. During the rare crash, the site displayed blank or partial pages instead of product listings.
By mid-afternoon, only a list of categories on the left of the screen were visible with no product photos. Those searching for specific items came up short and customers' shopping carts and saved item lists were temporarily displayed as empty.
So what does a roughly three hour outage cost a 27 billion dollar company?
Amazon faces a potential loss of an average of $51,400 a minute when the site was offline. Amazon shares closed down 7.8 percent, a sharper fall than the Nasdaq index.
A post on an Amazon seller community form at 3:47 p.m. Eastern Time said, "We are currently experiencing an issue that is impacting customers' ability to place orders on the Amazon.com website."
An hour later, a follow-up announcement informed users that the problem still had not been resolved.
By 8 p.m., the site seemed to be acting normally. Still, in this era of one-upmanship and e-readers now the rage, can Amazon afford even an inkling of bad publicy? Especially with Barnes & Noble's Nook coming up the rear and Apple's iPad game-changer now the new status-quo.
The outage didn't seem to affect Amazon's Web services. A company dashboard showed that those services were operating normally.