Performance Issues for says it is experiencing “latencies” that are affecting the performance of its web site, the Internet’s leading retail store. “We are currently experiencing an issue that is impacting customers’ ability to place orders on the website as well as the display of item details,” the company said on a forum for sellers. “We are working to correct the issue and will continue to provide updates until service has been restored.”

UPDATE: And it’s back. After about three hours of problems, the site is displaying properly as of about 3:55 p.m. Pacific time.

The outage reports are reinforced by a steady stream of complaints on Twitter from customers who are unable to access the site or complete transactions. Some requests are returning “Service Unavailable” messages.

The problems didn’t appear to affect Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing business. The AWS Service Health Dashboard is showing no outages or problems as of about 4:45 pm Eastern.

What’s the cost of downtime if Amazon is unable to process orders? In the first quarter of 2010 the company’s North American revenue was $3.78 billion, which works out to about $1.75 million an hour. The impact of outages is likely somewhat less than that, as AWS remained up and running throughout.’s first acknowledgement of the problems was at 12:47 p.m. Pacific, meaning the incident lasted about three hours.

The downtime is notable because major outages ont eh retail site are rare, as noted on Twitter by Jesse Robbins. “Amazon operates of the largest & most reliable websites in the world & even the best fail from time to time,” Robbins wrote.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. Latency in the data center, huh? Distributed and parallel computing code writers start em' up!

  2. susan

    "latencies"??? that's laughable. the whole thing is fubar, they'd be better off taking it down.

  3. Tim

    It seems as though the entire inventory database is offline - the site structure works but no products are found. Amazon is only acknowledging this "issue" with sellers via the seller account home page. The message: "We are experiencing an issue that is impacting customers' ability to view items and place orders on the Amazon website. This is also impacting how items display in Manage Inventory within your seller account. (06/29 14:55)" has been the same since about 13:00 PDT.

  4. It is 6/20/10 7:37p CDT and Amazon's website is still not loading graphics and not working properly

  5. bob

    Yes, its true you cannot scale a website written in C++. Even when its up a complete slow pig I will never use. The only thing I would buy on amazon is a membership to another website that sells stuff

  6. Mike Powers

    I've now been burned twich by Amazon's "best bought together" suggestions. The first was for extra bits (expensive) for a hammer drill (very expensive). The recommended bits are patently not suitable for this application. Now its a toy and the recommended companion cars. They don't fit. Ain't it great dealing with a company that scrupulously avoids providing the customer with any "contact us" info on its web site. Hmm - wonder what that means about their operation?