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Ebuyer suffers outage as web users try to grab a bargain

£1 clearance sale leads to website crash

UK retailer Ebuyer.com has suffered an outage after thousands of web users attempted to bag themselves a bargain today.

The retailer has a £1 clearance sale, which started at 11am today, with thousands of gadgets, including digital cameras and laptops, reduced to just £1. Thousands of Brits attempted to access the site, which eventually resulted in Ebuyer crashing with many reporting they could not load the website.

"We received an overwhelming response, which slowed the offer page and resulted in many people being unable to access the offers," eBuyer said on its Facebook page.

"Our IT team has worked hard to rectify all issues and we are pleased to report that thousands of people have been able to take advantage of these great £1 deals. We will also continue updating the sale on a regular basis and letting people know via Facebook."

Visa Europe has predicted today (Monday November 28) will be the busiest online shopping day of the year. Dubbed Mega Monday, the credit and debit card firm expects £303 million to be spent online on Visa cards alone today, which equates to £210,000 per minute or £3,500 per second.

Visa said more than 4.8 million transactions will be processed throughout the day, or around 3,300 per minute. 1pm will be the peak period as shopper log-on during the lunch break, closely followed by a rush which is expected to kick-off at 7pm.

The site was back up by 2p, but according to Andreas Edler, managing director of hosting firm Hostway UK, a poor online experience, even if it's only down for a few hours, can be "extremely damaging as customers will simply go elsewhere to get the goods they want".

"Those retailers that fail to build in sufficient capacity or utilise the latest traffic management techniques run the risk of having an unhappy lead up to Christmas as Mega Monday could turn into Meltdown Monday," he said, which has certainly been the case for Ebuyer.com.

Furthermore, David Flower from Compuware believes there is no reason why increased traffic should cause a site to actually crash.

"Website management has developed to the point where incidents such as these can be better predicted and are easier to prepare for," he said.

Flower advised website owners to test e-commerce site before the Christmas rush to ensure a maximum capacity is understood.

"Tests will flag any problems and retailers can take steps to ensure things run smoothly when the real traffic hits. If they get their website right, they will no doubt enjoy a hugely successful December," he added.

"But it's vital retailers take steps to make this the case. If e-commerce goes wrong, it will invariably lead to frustrated customers abandoning poorly performing sites and walking into the arms of the competition."

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