Wal-Mart's web store crashes

Wal-Mart's online store crashed yesterday, two days after Amazon.com website encountered significant performance problems.

Wal-Mart's online store crashed yesterday, two days after the amazon.com website encountered significant performance problems.

AlertSite.com, a company that monitors website performance and uptime, was unable to access walmart.com from its seven monitoring locations in the US at three different times yesterday, according to Ken Godskind, the company's marketing vice-president.

Walmart.com spokeswoman Amy Colella acknowledged there had been availability problems, but called them "minor issues" that affected the site briefly and had been resolved. "Customer transactions weren't affected and the site is now up and running," she said.

She declined to be more specific about what caused the problem, which she described as "isolated".

Godskind said AlertSite checked websites every 15 minutes from its US locations and walmart.com had been unavailable from all of them at 9.37am, 10.07am and 10.22am Eastern Standard Time, but was available at all seven locations at 9.52am. AlertSite records a web page as unavailable if it takes more than 30 seconds to download.

Based on various performance measurements, walmart.com was sluggish for the rest of the morning until around 1pm, when its performance regained normal levels. Between 11am and 11.50am, it was taking almost 11 seconds for walmart.com to download, when the normal average is between three and four seconds.

Godskind said that the performance problems at walmart.com seemed much less serious than the ones that affected Amazon's website on Monday.

Sluggishness or outages at online storefronts are critical for e-tailers, particularly during the holiday season, hurting not only sales volume but also customer satisfaction and confidence.

Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service

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