The world's biggest e-commerce company suffered an outage late on Thursday afternoon, which temporarily put its Web site out of business. It was unclear whether the outage was related to server overload or some other kind of malfunction.
The site, which went down around 14:20pm. Pacific Time (22:20 GMT), returned to operation within 20 minutes. However, it went down again before returning to regular service. Company spokesman Bill Curry said Amazon did not know what the problem was.
For a heavily trafficked site, Amazon has experienced relatively few outages in the last year. By comparison, rival eBay has struggled with periodic blackouts.