Multiple online retailers suffered website glitches on and around Black Friday, as consumers rushed online to take advantage of the latest sales.
Amazon, Facebook, J Crew, Takealot and NowTV all suffered website outages and glitches in the week leading up to Black Friday, causing issues for both retailers and consumers. J Crew took to social media to warn their users that their website was suffering technical difficulties :
Happy Black Friday! Due to high demand, we’re experiencing some technical difficulties with our site right now. Apologies to anyone having a problem…we’re working to fix it ASAP!
— J.Crew (@jcrew) November 23, 2018
Customers began replying with their own issues when attempting to shop on the site:
Getting 500 and 504 errors. Can't even put anything in my shopping bag. Won't let me sign in to my account.
— The Whole Truth (@andberg1) November 23, 2018
Both Facebook and Instagram’s advertising platforms went down this week, making it impossible for media buyers to run ads on the platforms. CNBC reports that ad buyers were unable to utilize Facebook and Instagram’s advertising analytics platform to view data about how ads were performing, edit current live ad campaigns, or create new ad campaigns.
“We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing Ads Manager,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC in a statement. “We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.” The issue reportedly persisted for up to eight hours, into Tuesday afternoon.
One media buyer stated that they had never seen glitches on the platform this bad, adding that if they were unable to place ads, it could seriously affect their sales as consumers would be unaware of sales or products being sold on Black Friday. Another buyer referred to the timing of the Facebook crash as “unfortunate,” and stated that it could leave all Facebook ad buyers rushing to update or create ad campaigns before Black Friday.
Retail giant Amazon also faced a data breach ahead of Black friday which could have left the personal details of tens of millions of users vulnerable to hacking. An email to affected users read:
We’re contacting you to let you know that our website inadvertently disclosed your name and email address due to a technical error. The issue has been fixed.
This is not a result of anything you have done, and there is no need for you to change your password or take any other action.”
Sincerely, Customer Service
The company has not stated how many users were affected or if information other than users email addresses were revealed. The company said in a statement: “We have fixed the issue and informed customers who may have been impacted.”
The online merchant Takealot issued an apology following their payment processing services going down this week, stating: “We’ve notified our payment partner and they’re working on restoring their services. Please try one of our alternative payment options like instant EFT in the meantime.” This marked the second year in a row that the website has faced Black Friday glitches.
Thanks @takealot …… site bombing out AGAIN….
— christo roos (@ChrisRosey8) November 23, 2018
Takealot site crashed just as I was paying for a treadmill 💔
— Karabo Mokgoko (@Karabo_Mokgoko) November 22, 2018
NowTV, the video streaming service owned by UK television network Sky, faced serious issues with their payment processing system which charged some people three times for their subscriptions. Andrew Rhodes, a NowTV customer was charged multiple times for his subscription: “I thought it was a great deal – I could get two for one passes over Christmas. So I decided to go for it,” Andrew told The Mirror. “But when I went to sign up, an error message popped up saying ‘something went wrong, please try in a moment’. As per the instructions, I waited a minute or two and then tried again – I even tried on my phone and iPad, but had no luck.”
Rhodes then checked his email only to discover that he had been charged eight times for the subscription: “I was livid,” he said. “I’d received eight emails confirming my purchase for eight of the same pass. I couldn’t actually believe it.” NowTV stated that this was a temporary error which occurred this week and will be issuing refunds to all customers affected by the issue.