Amazon Website Goes Down (Update: For 49 Minutes)

Amazon’s homepage is refusing to load for a large number of users this afternoon, according to multiple reports on Twitter.

beatles-down-edit-featureIn my own tests, sometimes the page would load, and other times I would simply get a “service unavailable” error.

Update: An Amazon spokesperson provided the following statement: “The gateway page of was offline to some customers for approximately 49 minutes. Other pages of the site were accessible and AWS was not impacted.” Sources close to the situation said the issues were internal and that the site was not hacked.

A homepage outage is truly very rare for the e-commerce giant.

A decade ago, when Amazon was less reliable, analysts would estimate how much the company was losing every second, or every minute. Now that the company’s sales total $61 billion a year, it must be even more significant.

Interesting to note that Amazon’s cloud is fully operational, according to Amazon’s status page.

Over the past year, there have been several instances where Amazon’s customers, such as Netflix and Instagram, have gone down due to Amazon server outages. This time, the problems seem to be restricted to Amazon’s own services, which either means the homepage operates on different servers, or it’s experiencing another problem entirely.

In case you desperately need to shop, get on your phone. The Verge is reporting that the outages are not affecting the company’s mobile applications.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik