Yahoo (YHOO) has apologized to customers for serious problems with its Yahoo Small Business payment system on Cyber Monday, which left thousands of online merchants unable to take orders on one of the busiest online shopping days. Shopping carts for many of Yahoo’s turnkey online stores were not working at all from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., and remained sluggish until at least 6 p.m. The retail industry had been heavily promoting Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) as the kickoff of the online shoping season. Many online retailers offered sales and promotions to capitalize on news coverage of Cyber Monday. Rich Riley, senior vice president of Yahoo’s online channel division, addressed the downtime on the company’s Yodel Anecdotal blog:
Unfortunately, the system outage occurred at one of the worst possible times, and despite our concerted efforts to fix the problem as it emerged on Monday, we know that we let our merchant partners and their customers down. … Our customers’ expectations were not met, nor were our own. And we are moving mountains inside Yahoo! to find out why and how this happened, and to take steps to try to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Customers are hopping mad, as evidenced by the comments on Riley’s post, which gave a timeline but provided few details about what happened and why. The outage received widespread news coverage at CNBC, Wired and CNet.
Yet another reason to plan for failure and be ready to respond and adapt if Murphy shows up at the worst possible time.