Get out the diapers. Online shopping has grown like a weed in recent years. But on Monday, when its site went missing for several hours, Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) gave us a startling reminder that the key players, like bladder-busting toddlers, are still prone to the occasional accident.
In a report at ZDNet, Web performance monitor Keynote Systems said the e-commerce giant started experiencing problems yesterday morning at 8 a.m. Pacific time and that outages continued intermittently through 2:30 p.m. Pacific. It wasn't clear whether the site was the target of a deliberate attack or the victim of an internal glitch. Either way, the timing stinks.
Amazon blacked out after online retailers had a banner Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving -- known for its ability to put retailers "in the black" -- was a huge success as online shoppers booked more than $250 million in sales, up 41% from last year, according to researcher comScore Media Metrix. Shoppers even got out on turkey day, stuffing virtual shopping carts with $133 million in goods. That's double last year's total.
The good news is that last month's shopping could account for only 17% of expected online retail sales this season, according to a research report compiled by Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) , Nielsen/NetRatings, and pollster Harris Interactive (Nasdaq: HPOL ) . No doubt Amazon would get much of the remaining business, so long as its virtual doors remain open. It's worth noting that the company is expecting a windfall: Fourth-quarter guidance calls for revenue of $2.29 billion to $2.54 billion, or growth of as much as 31% over last year.
Will it now be harder for Amazon to make its numbers? Probably. But investors shouldn't overreact the way Wall Streeters did when Wal-Mart's (NYSE: WMT ) Thanksgiving hiccup came to light. If anything, Foolish stock pickers ought to be looking to profit if smaller online retailers such as Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation Overstock.com (Nasdaq: OSTK ) or Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick RedEnvelope (Nasdaq: REDE ) see their shares spark and sputter on Amazon's blackout.
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers has never blacked out, though he did live through New York's famous 1977 blackout. Tim doesn't own stock in any of the companies mentioned. To get a peek at his weird habits and portfolio, check out his Fool profile, which is here.