Amazon unavailable for holiday shopping madness

Things are really complicated

Amazon.com went down just in time for the holidays.

The shopping site was tossing up "Http/1.1 Service Unavailable" messages to users in the US throughout Monday. The problem started in the morning and continued on throughout the afternoon. According to The Register's clock, Amazon was mostly functional at 4:30 p.m. CST. Several readers, however, note that while they can access the site now, they are still unable to use the "My Account" tools.

"We just had some intermittent problems this morning," said Amazon spokesman Craig Berman. Apparently "morning" defines a much broader stretch of time in Amazon country than it does elsewhere.

Amazon reckons that it has "really complex systems" that will go down from time-to-time. Berman declined to provide any other details on the incident and said the company "probably will not" have more details to provide if we call back later.

Given that this is prime shopping season, you have to imagine that Amazon lost more than a few sales due to the outage. Lucky for mum the site is back up and taking orders now. She'll be getting a copy of "Usability for the Web: Designing Web Sites that Work" in time for Christmas. ®

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