Some online retailers not ready for the holiday season

SAN FRANCISCO, November 25, 2009—Recent results from a recent study conducted by the website monitoring company Uptrends (www.uptrends.com) indicate that many online retailers are experiencing significant amounts of time when their websites are not accessible.  In a month long study leading up to “Black Friday”, the busiest shopping day in the United States, Uptrends monitored the home page of 100 of the most popular e-commerce sites and determined that a significant number of companies were still experiencing periods of downtime that were excessive in some cases.  

 
“What is significant here is that many of these companies are household names and you would assume that there would be considerable resources put in place to ensure their websites were always available.  Repeated downtime of these sites will clearly have a significant impact on the online sales these companies will experience” said Andrew Stock, Director of North American Operations for Uptrends.  “We can only hope that this study is able to get the attention of these companies so that they can put the proper resources in place to monitor and prevent website downtime throughout the rest of the holiday season.”
 
As the holiday shopping season increases website traffic to most online retail websites, presumably many of the issues that have plagued some of these websites could potentially worsen as the demand on web servers and other infrastructure becomes heavier.

30-day website monitoring results:

Company Home Page

# of Page Errors

Down time

Crutchfield Corporation

61

5 hours, 7.5 mins.

Fry's Electronic's

43

3 hours, 39.8 mins.

The Kitchen Collection

40

3 hours 38.3 mins.

Sears Canada

33

2 hours 59.5 mins

Fred Meyer Stores

27

2 hours 41.2 mins.

Car Toys

12

1 hour 16.5 mins.

SkyMall

11

1 hour 16.4 mins.

GameStop

12

 

Brookstone

11

 

PC Mall

6

 
In the overall study results, almost half of the websites monitored experiencd some level of downtime, with only 55 of the 100 companies showing a 100% uptime for the length of the 30 day study.  24 of the websites had downtime between 99.90% and 99.99% and 21 websites were below 99.6% uptime.  As a point of reference, a website with uptime of 99.5% still has downtime of 3 hours and 36 minutes over the span of 30 days.   
 
“Overall, the trend over the last few years is for more companies to put more resources and attention into the online versions of their stores.  Our intention is to conduct this study again next year in order to gauge whether these online retailers have made any measurable improvements,” Mr. Stock stated.  
 
Methodology: Using worldwide checkpoints in USA, Canada, UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia, we monitor the availability of the websites and online services every 5 minutes during the last 30 days. In case a website cannot be reached, a second checkpoint will perform the availability check. If the website is still not available it will be defined as an error. During the research period, we did not look at maintenance periods of the websites. We monitored the uptime of the front page of the website only.
 
About Uptrends Website, Server and Transaction Monitoring
The mission of Uptrends.com is the increased availability of websites, servers and transactions and the reduction of costly downtime for businesses and entrepreneurs that operate online. The Uptrends monitoring system uses a network of checkpoints in various countries such as the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Singapore, China and Australia. More than 1,500 customers in 23 countries rely on Uptrends to keep them informed of their site, server and transaction performance, so that potential problems can be identified and downtime reduced as much as possible. 
 
Additional information is available from the following:
Uptrends North America +1 (415) 839-8450
Uptrends UK: 0808-1010-917
 
For a copy of the full survey results, please contact Uptrends.com