[Updated casualty list]
Turkeys of Black Friday
Yahoo!'s payment! processing! system! is mostly exclaiming a death-rattle today, as online shoppers pound the cyber-checkout at the start of the holiday shopping season.
The company said that several retailers who depend on Yahoo for e-commerce are reporting error messages to customers when they reach checkout.
Early morning Pacific Time, Yahoo's Store System Status page acknowledged the problem, and promised to investigate the issue.
At 2:24 pm, Yahoo! detectives still hadn't sniffed out a clue. "We are continuing to investigate this issue at this time," the site promised.
The server slaying comes on the first Monday after American Thanksgiving, the so-called "Cyber Monday®" — the internet equivalent of Black Monday, which claimed a few e-tailers itself.
The website of American mega-retailer Sears was completely down on Black Friday, according to internet monitoring firm WebSitePulse.
The Sears website spurned visitors with a disclaimer on its front page, citing it was "temporarily experiencing high traffic volume" shortly after 9 am EST on Friday. Customers weren't able to browse the merchandise online until 4:30 p.m. that day.
The website was again tackled by traffic at 9pm on Friday - this time with the message blocking transactions for only 45 minutes.
Implications include possibly hundreds of thousands of fathers getting another 150-piece multi-purpose ratchet set for Christmas. Despite, mind you, having a toolbox completely full of hardware they haven't touched since it was given to them three Christmases ago.
And did anyone catch the multiple hints about wanting a high-def DVD player? Of course not. At least it wasn't another tacky tie...
A Reg reader also reports that the Circuit City website was down on Thanksgiving day for over two hours. This could not be confirmed, however, as the retailer refused to comment. A representative for the retailer would only say that "volume has been brisk".
The other white meat
America's retailers fared well over the extended holiday weekend, despite fears of sluggish sales due to the credit crisis and housing slump.
But consumers did not disappoint. After all, who needs to worry about such things when you can just charge it over the web? There's always next month to worry about it.
US online retailers raked in more than $500m on the day after Thanksgiving - a mass-shopping hysteria coined "Black Friday" - increasing sales by 22 per cent over last year.
According to online metrics sentry comScore, video games, consoles and accessories were once again on the top of consumer shopping lists.
"Online spending on Black Friday has historically represented an early indicator of how the rest of the season will shake out," said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. "That the 22-per cent growth rate versus last year is outpacing the overall growth rate for the first three weeks of the season should be seen as a sign of positive momentum."
Video game merchandise sales is up a whopping 134 per cent versus last year, comScore says. Furniture, appliances and equipment grew 36 per cent, beating sales of consumer electronics, which increased 21 per cent year-over-year.
They predict that today - the purported online shopping equivalent of Black Friday labeled "Cyber Monday®" - sales will surpass $700m. This would make it the heaviest online spending day on record.
According to research firm Nielsen Online, Best Buy and Circuit City had triple the volume of internet traffic over last year. ®