UpGuard Blog

The Cost of Downtime At The World's Biggest Online Retailer

Written by UpGuard | Mar 10, 2016 10:29:12 PM

Amazon.com suffered a glitch today leaving its website inaccessible for approximately 13 minutes. Seem like a paltry number? Only if these lost minutes aren't translated to sales revenue losses. And while outages with the company's AWS cloud computing offering are not uncommon, Amazon's online retail division—as well as all retailers that transact online—have much at stake literally every minute their websites stay up—or go down.

According to various sources, Amazon.com's website was unavailable for 13-15 minutes today due to unspecified technical difficulties. DownDetector's heat map of the outage illustrates the principle areas of service interruption: 

Amazon outage map. Source: DownDetector.com.

Upon visiting Amazon.com, would-be shoppers were presented with this reassuring message/page:

Amazon.com homepage error message.

The Cost of Downtime

Related Blog:

Apple's $20M Configuration Problem 

This week, Apple’s App Store and iTunes Store suffered a downtime of about 10 hours. For the better part of the day, customers were unable to access the stores, purchase music or apps, or make payments using the Apple Pay payment system. The problem has been attributed to “a configuration blunder” of its DNS setup.

How much did that misconfiguration or software bug actually cost the world's #1 online retailer? In 2013, Forbes famously calculated the cost associated with the eTailer's most critical outage that year. Based on Amazon's 2012 net sales, it was determined that  outage cost Amazon $66,240 per minuteor nearly $2 million. A previous outage in June 2008 was close to $31,000 per minute, based on the previous quarter’s global revenue of $4.13 billion. Amazon reported revenues of $107 billion in 2015, which comes out to $203,577 every minute in today's numbers, or a $2,646,501 price tag for the 13 minute episode of downtime.

Expensive and brand damaging service interruptions don't have to bring your online business to a screeching halt. UpGuard's platform for digital resilience ensures that your infrastructure is at all times compliant, hardened for strong security, and free from misconfigurations  that could cause outages.


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