On Monday at 10:00am, tickets for the World Series went on sale.
At 10:15am, the server crashed.
The ticketing web site, evenue.net, is still unavailable as I write this, although apparently it was up long enough Tuesday to sell out about 50,000 tickets. Evenue.net is owned and operated by an Irvine CA based company called Paciolan. (In July, TicketMaster announced plans to buy Paciolan but the deal has not gone through yet.)
The Colorado Rockies use Paciolan for all their ticket sales but demand for this series was unlike anything the team has experienced before. Keli McGregor, Rockies team president, blamed computer hackers, saying the team was the victim of an "external, malicious attack". Paciolan hasn't commented on the cause yet, but many internet watchers doubt the attack story.
"This crash was the result of poor planning, a poor read of the market and demand for tickets, and poor disaster response," writes one commenter at computerworld.com, adding "It was a management failure, not a technological failure."
"Despite the fact that they have chosen to hide behind the 'malicious attack' excuse," says another reader, "it should also be noted that no other teams have experienced this problem when selling playoff tickets this year." Another believes the system was unworkable: "The Red Sox had a much better method for distributing post season tickets -- fans could sign up for a ticket lottery, and then the lottery winners could buy their tickets, without the servers being bombarded by everyone who wants to go to the World Series."
While it's possible there was some kind of attack, I think Occam's Razor should be applied here. In other words, the simplest explanation is probably the correct one. What sounds simpler to you: poor planning for a huge demand, or a worldwide coordinated attack involving hundreds of computers?