Amazon was on Fire, but not in the way it intended. Mere seconds after Amazon’s Prime Day went live at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT on Monday, July 16, the online mega-retailer crashed and burned. The issue seems to be solved for most shoppers at this point, but for hours on Monday visitors to the Prime Day Deals section were greeted with the following image:
If you fell victim, it wasn’t your phone, your tablet, your laptop, or your PC. It was an internal error at Amazon, and it wreaked havoc on Prime Day.
While some shoppers saw nothing at all (as seen above), others were greeted by error pages. Twitter user Chris Owens posted the following screenshot he was served with:
— Chris Owens (@ChrisOwens62) July 16, 2018
Naturally, the masses quickly took to Twitter to commiserate and share a laugh at Amazon’s expense:
— Eric Davis (@we_want_easy) July 16, 2018
Waits patiently for 3pm #PrimeDay
click for Prime deals.
click for prime deals.
click for prime deals. pic.twitter.com/g0Vg4F6KyH
— Steve Angelovich (@angelsteve89) July 16, 2018
Employees working overtime inside Amazon did not appear amused:
— Jeff Quinton (@JeffQuinton) July 16, 2018
What makes this situation so tragic is that Amazon worked extremely hard to manage its Prime Day from end to end. Every update was carefully scrutinized and media outlets like Digital Trends were placed under strict embargoes to prevent leaks about Prime Day Deals ahead of their official announcement. Unfortunately, by trying to keep the cat in the bag, it appears Amazon’s manufactured urgency has backfired on the company, sending far more shoppers to its pages than it can handle. This is troubling considering Amazon runs Amazon Web Services, a critical component in the backbone of the internet. After all, if Amazon can’t keep its own e-commerce site up and running on one of its biggest sale days of the year, how can it assure its customers will be able to survive a growing and voracious customer base?
Unfortunately, it appears as if the glitch was a tremendous hit to Amazon’s entire online retail presence. Digital Trends employees attempted to purchase non-Prime Day items and ended up in an endless loop of “shop all our deals” prompts for hours on end. Though some of our team members managed to squeak purchases through, social media indicates it was not possible for most shoppers to check out at Amazon.com for hours. Frequently, one would make it to the buy now button, then lose everything.
Given the scale of the issue, it is unclear how deeply this could impact Amazon, let alone the Prime Day Event as a whole. Many media sites spent hours tracking the deals in order to help readers sift through the massive selection of products and make the best choices. When the dust settles, we’re sure we will learn more. And when we do, we’ll be sure to cover it.