Glitch closes Amazon auctions, donations

Summary:E-tailer suffers a "hardware failure" that crashes several of its departments, including the area where Amazon accepts donations to help victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

Amazon.com suffered a "hardware failure" that crashed several of its departments for about 24 hours, including the area where the company was accepting donations to help victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

Amazon's Auctions, Z-Shops and Marketplace areas went down about 10 p.m. PDT Saturday, said Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith, and were back up by late Sunday night. The glitch also shut down Amazon's Honor System, a payment method that allows Web sites to solicit small donations from Amazon customers.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and New York's World Trade Center, Amazon began using its Honor System to receive donations on behalf of the Red Cross.

The Seattle-based merchant had received $5.7 million in donations before the outage, Smith said.

"None of the other areas, including books, electronics or music, were affected by this," Smith said.

Other online companies, such as eBay and Yahoo, also have solicited donations on behalf of the Red Cross. As of Sunday afternoon, Yahoo had received more than $11 million in donations, according to spokeswoman Shannon Stubo.

Amazon has experienced several high-profile glitches recently. In June, dozens of auctioneers complained that their auctions were excluded from a special promotion that they had paid to be part of. A glitch had erroneously dropped their auctions from the promotion.

A malfunction caused Amazon last month to reveal prices of the business version of Windows XP when it began taking preorders ahead of when Microsoft intended to announce prices for the operating system software. Amazon pulled the XP ads after a few hours.

According to Amazon's policy, auctions scheduled to end during an outage that lasts longer than two hours will be extended by 24 hours.

Topics: Amazon, Outage

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