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Horror Stories in Web Hosting: High Traffic Sites That Crashed on Cyber Monday

Part 4: Motorola, 2013

If you think that cyber disasters only happen to SMBs, think again! As we’ve seen in our previous blogs, mistakes happen just as easily to large-scale companies and even banks if their hosting providers aren’t accustomed to hosting for high traffic websites. In Part 4 of our series, we have yet another example of a Cyber Monday web hosting horror story. This time, it involved industry giant Motorola in 2013.

Web Hosting Horror Stories: Motorola 2013

Source: The Verge

What happened?

Motorola launched a sweet Cyber Monday deal -– a Moto X for $349 (approximately $150 off the original price) starting at 9am Cyber Morning. Just as 8am approached, Motorola’s website experienced issues including downtime, and the company had to stop taking orders until the issue was resolved. It took the company an hour to admit to the issue. Several hours later they announced that they should have the site up by 9:30pm, and if not at noon the next day. They missed the 9:30 deadline and launched it the next day. They doubled the amount of devices available for the discount.

What was the cause?

According to CEO, Dennis Woodside, they “Misjudged demand for the discounted Moto X and failed to adequately test Moto Maker before the offer went live.” As a result the “Testing failed to reveal weaknesses caused by large volumes of concurrent orders flowing through the Moto Maker customization engine.” Bottom line -– poor planning, lack of communication with hosting provider and site testing neglect.

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How much was lost?

Motorola did admit guilt and they found a solution and extended the promotion for two days. They also doubled the quantity of phones to allow as many people as possible to take advantage of the promo. They also promised to do a better job keeping customers up to speed when problems like this occur. The CEO also wrote their customers a letter of apology. By admitting guilt, rectifying the situation and apologizing, hopefully Motorola was able to re-coop some of the losses on their “Cyber Tuesday.”

How can web hosting horror stories be avoided?

Planning! They should have planned for the demand — $150 is a good chunk of change to justify a huge spike in traffic. They should have seen this coming and communicated with their IT department/hosting provider who could have performed a load test to ensure that their site could handle the demand. Yet again, we see how important it is to secure the services of a provider that can prevent your brand from joining a long list of Cyber Monday web hosting horror stories. Make sure your hosting company is ready for the holiday spike in traffic by asking the 10 questions provided in this ebook.

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Tomorrow, in our final blog installment, we’ll see how even the biggest retailer of all can suffer when they fail to prepare for Cyber Monday.

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