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Horror Stories in Web Hosting:

Best Buy and Sony’s Website 2013

In Part 1 of our Cyber Monday Hosting Series we look two of the most famous names in retail: Best Buy and Sony, and the sales that were lost on Cyber Monday in 2013. As an e-tailer, we look forward to the ramp up to the holiday season and our busiest and most lucrative time of the year. Our marketing department has been hard at work for months developing a Cyber Monday promotion that is destined to help us reach our aggressive Q4 targets. Our customer lists are up-to-date, social media plan in place and we are ready for our busiest day of the year. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything! Most high traffic websites probably think that the list above concludes Cyber Monday planning, but in reality, this is just the beginning. Some of the biggest in the industry had to learn the hard way. Over the next several days, just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we present you with a series of blog posts of how some industry giants did learn the hard way — a collection of Cyber Monday tragedies.

Download our free eBook on getting your high traffic website ready for Cyber Monday, and make sure you’re not the latest e-commerce site to fail during the busy shopping season.

What happened?

On Cyber Monday, 2013, customers who tried to take advantage of the deals on the Best Buy and Sony Style websites via their tablets, experienced high error rates. This fail was coined “Biggest mobile fail of this holiday season.”


What was the cause?

According to Keynote, both Best Buy and Sony Style pages were not optimized for tablets. When customers tried to access the two sites from their tablets, they experienced error messages and time-out messages at the three-second mark. Why was this happening? Because the desktop-optimized sites were trying to load over a mobile network that was not prepared for hosting high traffic. Considering most of the people were doing so from the comforts of their own home, the heavy content was being uploaded via Wi-Fi, causing a very slow experience for its user.

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How much was lost?

Tablets accounted for 10.1 percent of all online sales on Cyber Monday, and in 2013 that accounted for $1 billion in e-commerce revenue across over 100 US-based online retailers. Tablet users also averaged $131.10 per order, depending on their share of the market. To estimate the total lost for these companies would be hard, but you get the picture.

Most high traffic websites learn the hard way. What can I learn from this?

Basic UX is a simple test to see if the websites could load properly on all browsers, devices and operating systems. This would identify the issue and give them a red flag that the site needs to be optimized for tablets. This is something that their web designer, IT department or hosting company should have picked up on.

The moral of the story: Most high traffic websites don’t know their site or hosting isn’t performing until it’s too late. Holiday success depends on choosing the best hosting for high traffic websites. Click here to download an ebook that will help you make sure your hosting provider is ready for Cyber Monday.

In Part 2 of our blog series, we’ll look back on mistakes made by two other industry giants in 2011 – LOFT and Ann Taylor.

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