Holy Crap, Amazon is Down

How will I be able to value myself without my Amazon rankings?

Amazon’s not supposed to go down, you know? If Amazon can go down, so can Google. And then, of course, it’s back to anarchy.

It’s stuff like this that does remind you that, hey, there is still some value in an occasional hard copy or two.

40 Comments on “Holy Crap, Amazon is Down”

  1. Will this change your plans about using Google Docs? :) So, now we have to have documents in triplicate: In Word on local machine, Google Docs, and hard copy! Great! Welcome to the digital age..

  2. I was getting that, now I refresh and it works. Thank God. Where else can I buy Scalzi and cat food?

  3. Kahlil:

    I have Google Gears, which creates local files, so I can continue working even if Google were to go down.


    Nope, still down for me.

  4. I’m just glad to know my work didn’t suddenly block shopping sites (which was my first thought).

  5. It’s a chain reaction. Everyone who came here read that Amazon was down and had to go see if it was down for them. All of those hits by Whatever readers further overloaded the system and compounded the problem. You wield an enormous amount of power.

  6. Still very much down for me… and I work across from several Amazon offices in Seattle.

  7. It’s up, but still shaky. Home page will load, then a couple clicks in I’ll get the “Http/1.1 Service Unavailable” message.

    You expect this occasionally with little sites, but Amazon? Someone’s getting fired.

  8. And just as I post that, now I’m getting “We’re sorry!
    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.”

  9. Now it gets strange: on the main office network it’s mostly unreachable but on the alternate network it works fine.

  10. This is why I like my local indie bookstore. “We can’t sell you anything, our computer is down” is not something you’ll hear there. (They *have* computers, they’re not wedded to them, nor, AFAICT, do they hire the sort of people who wring their hands helplessly and stare at you like a deer in the headlights when asked to figure tax…)

    That and they don’t spam your mailbox endlessly, nor do who knows what with your personal data…

    If you just gotta have an online bookseller, http://www.powells.com. A full city block in the middle of downtown Portland, a city with one of the better mass transit systems going, plus outlier stores for specialty stuff… *and* a pretty cool website. And yes, they’ll let you preorder _Zoe’s Tale_.

    *sigh* what is it with these young whippersnappers, can’t deal without their gorram gadgetry…. next thing you’ll know they’ll think a “book” or a “map” takes AA batteries… and then they’ll think “writing” that you can’t backspace over is archaic…. hey, I knew the SCA was good for something… :)

  11. Sorry, I tripped on the power cord while coming back from the bathroom.

    It will not happen again.

  12. Okay, time to haul out those modems, folks. I’ll set up a bookstore BBS by the end of the weekend. Well, part time- say, 10p-7a – will that work for everyone? I gotta keep the line open for my parents when they’re at home.

    FidoNet, here I come (back)!….


  13. Technoshaman This is why I like my local indie bookstore. “We can’t sell you anything, our computer is down” is not something you’ll hear there.

    Not to defend Amazon because I love it, but brick and mortar stores close on occasion for technical reasons. Power outages, for instance.

  14. At first I thought I had the wrong address, as Amazon isn’t usually my first choice for online shopping, especially for school books! But since B&N didn’t have the OChem textbook edition I wanted, and I couldn’t find it on eBay, I thought Amazon would be the logical next choice. Alas!!! It’s back up now, but that was a bit of a shocker!

  15. Not surprisingly, this showed up on Slashdot [slashdot.org], too. They quote the CNET article as estimating that downtime costs Amazon $31,000 per minute. If that number is anywhere close to accurate, that hurts.

    @ Technoshaman (#16)

    “This is why I like my local indie bookstore. “We can’t sell you anything, our computer is down” is not something you’ll hear there.”

    I heard that at McDonalds one time at about three in the morning when a buddy and I were coming back from a concert. Evidently they reboot their registers in the morning or something. Of all the places I expected to hear ‘we can’t sell you anything right now’, Micky D’s was definitely towards the bottom of the list.

  16. To correct my last, looks like $31,000 per minute is the estimate on a global outage. They estimate $16,000 per minute for a North American outage. Should’ve read the full article before commenting on it. Sorry about that, and sorry for the double post.

  17. The dark truth of large scale website infrastructure:

    Sometimes, it goes boom.

    Largescale IT infrastructure reliability is one focus of my consulting and contracting work. It’s hard.

  18. I worked at a takeout that stayed open through a power outage. The rest of the strip mall closed, but they still had gas and water for cooking, an obsolete phone that worked from just the phone line, and they somehow rigged up some lights using a car battery. The manager was also lightning quick at computing price totals in her head, so the cash register wasn’t as bad a loss as it could’ve been.

  19. So the site was down? I thought it was just my work connection, or IT being tyrrannical or something. (Interestingly, I reached what I wanted anyway by using the Google cache-generated page and clicking links on that.

  20. Rumor is that it was the special Metal Gear Solid 4 + 80GB PS3 bundle Amazon was offering for pre-order at exactly 10:00 PST this morning that did it. At that minute, suddenly hundred of raving PS3 fanatics descended upon the hapless Amazon.com servers for their pre-order, selling out the entire stock in just 7 minutes flat!

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence the problems with the site began a mere 22 minutes after the pre-order page went active (heh, heh).

  21. This was only a test of our powers. Be not afraid, hairless apes. That will come later when we take over

  22. Google and Amazon are not parts of the government, ergo, their loss would have nothing to do with anarchy. Chaos, perhaps. Try not to confuse the two.

  23. Zeph, I really love it when people correct me on terms that are used in a clearly hyperbolic and indeed faux-apocalyptic fashion, which is to say, not intended to be taken at all seriously. Really, it warms my heart.

  24. If Amazon and Google BOTH went down, I’d run through the streets flipping cars and setting things on fire.

    Maybe we should have a practice drill of what to do IN CASE Google and Amazon were to both go down.

    What makes you think I am looking for an excuse to flip my neighbor’s car that he parks in the street directly behind my driveway?

  25. Patrick @33:

    Most geeks who talk about flipping cars and setting things on fire haven’t tried to flip a car (much less done so successfully) or burn things (I’ve seen groups of anarchists hanging out in Berkeley with molotov cocktails asking each other if they have lighters and cursing that they’d all quit smoking…).

    If you think you’re up to it, more power to you. But in order to prevent caustic embarrassment, I advise you to do a test run with say your own car, in your own driveway, and make sure that you can flippinate and burninate prior to attempting it in public.

  26. Come on, I’ve flipped cars when I got a tad overexcited, although there was help from a few of 50,000 crazed peeps. Halloween night, Athens, Ohio, 1986, I remember it well. Go, Bobcats.

  27. Ok, here’s a related question – does anyone know a good way to track Amazon rankings beyond just looking at the sales rank # on the book page? A third party site perhaps? And what is a good number? I assume being in the top 100 doesn’t hurt, but the book I’m tracking for a friend is consistantly in the 2500-3200 range, and I’m trying to figure out just what that means in terms of units shipped.

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