Marketing campaigns 'can paralyse Web sites'

Forget hackers - many companies are their own worst enemies when it comes to keeping their Web sites running, a report has found

E-business in Britain is under threat from poorly planned Internet marketing campaigns, the latest research has found.

According to Catchfire Systems, many Web sites are crashing because IT departments aren't being kept informed about their firm's online marketing plans. As a result, IT managers don't take precautionary measures to cope with a surge in Web traffic -- and normal businesses activities can be be badly damaged as a result.

Catchfire found that nearly a quarter of firms have seen their Web sites become overloaded with demand and actually crash because of a badly organised campaign that attracts Internet users.

This is because at 46 percent of firms the IT management are only told about a new campaign when it is about to begin -- giving them very little time to make the necessary preparations. Even worse, 28 percent of companies surveyed don't involve the IT department at all in their marketing activities.

Nigel Thomas, marketing director at Catchfire Systems, has urged UK businesses to bridge the gap between their IT and marketing departments.

"Paradoxically, a successful marketing campaign can actually paralyse normal online business activity by flooding the company's Web infrastructure with more visitors than it can support," Thomas warned.