UPDATED: Click Frenzy buckles under pressure

Participating retailers also experience website meltdown; traffic stats are impressive

It was touted as the ‘sale that stops a nation’ in all its marketing collateral, but the Click Frenzy website went into meltdown within minutes of its 7pm kick off time on November 20.

The 24-hour online-only mega sale was meant to mirror the US version of Cyber Monday sales, but as time ticked on, the Click Frenzy website still wasn’t functional three hours later.

Retailers participating in the online event such as Myer, were also experiencing issues with their websites crashing. Some retailers conducted their own version of online sales, such as David Jones, but their website also crashed.

As problems with the Click Frenzy website continued to mount, the company took to Facebook stating “Hang in there, as thousands are already buying.”

Click Frenzy co-founder, Grant Arnott, later issued an apology stating the technical directors, developers and infrastructure specialists involved in the inaugural event were working to get to the root of what happened with the wave of traffic at 7pm.

According to Arnott, registrations for the event increased from 250,000 to more than 800,000 prior to the launch. Overall site traffic reached a peak of 2 million simultaneous hits at the time of the campaign kick-off. “The number of users hitting the site was unprecedented and multiple times greater than what we had initially forecast. This is a strong reflection of consumer adoption in Australia for online retail. At its peak, the site was processing 20,000 pre-registrations per minute, and received millions of requests in the first few minutes of the campaign going live,” he said. “UltraServe responded quickly in provisioning significant additional capacity to support the traffic which was four-fold greater than the expected volume. The additional capacity was put in place shortly after 9.30pm and returned the site to full functionality.”

UltraServe CEO, Samuel Yeats, said a team of engineers worked through the night to support the customers by caching more of the application. “We continue to see very strong traffic and demand on the site since restoration of the traffic last night, and we hope to achieve significant sales for the consumers and the retailers involved by the time the campaign is completed at 7.00 pm this evening,” Yeats said.

Click Frenzy revealed some more stats saying it experienced an average page load time of 2.5 seconds, recorded more than 1.4 million unique page impressions, more than 16 million products were viewed on the site and that almost a third of all traffic came from mobile devices.

“The consumer reaction has been phenomenal and we believe consumer interest in this event rivals the traditional Boxing Day sales. We genuinely regret the frustration and inconvenience that the initial service delays caused,” Arnott said.

Many shoppers took to Twitter and Facebook to express their disappointment with one shopper stating “Finally hot onto the site and have seen better deals offered on other sites. Not worth all the hype, very disappointing to say the least.”

Apple is also conducting a one day sale on Friday and Dell has launched its own Super Cyber Sale running till Thursday.

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