Merchant Solutions, Yahoo's hosted shopping service, suffered severe outages on "Cyber Monday," resulting in frustrated shoppers and irate merchants on one of the biggest Internet shopping days of the year. Cyber Monday is the first business day after the long Thanksgiving weekend and consumers' first opportunity to buy online what they were unable to find in stores. At 5:30 a.m. EST Monday, Yahoo Shopping started kicking out "system unavailable" error messages to consumers trying to make purchases at some of the 40,000 participating online merchants, most of which are small to medium-sized. John DiFrenna of sandboxcouture.com, whose sales via Yahoo Shopping shut down completely at 6:00 a.m., called the situation "very frustrating," particularly since the error message did not explain that the problem was with Yahoo rather than the store's site. "[Customers are] just thinking when it doesn't work, we don't have our act together," he said. "[I]f their first experience is they can't access our site, they're not coming back." Search engine optimization consultant Catherine Seven said all 22 of her clients on Yahoo Shopping experienced total shutdowns on Monday. "For all these mom-and-pop shops, this is what they wait for so they can buy their kids Christmas presents," she said. Prior to the shutdown, ComScore estimated Cyber Monday 2007 could set a sales record above $700 million (full story). A Yahoo spokeswoman attributed the failure to "heavy holiday traffic" and said the company was "working toward a solution" without giving details. Yahoo shares closed down 3.5% at $25.21.
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Earnings call transcript: Yahoo! Q3 2007