Target and PayPal have both experienced temporary Internet shutdowns today, seemingly because of a flood of consumer traffic. It's unclear exactly how long the outages occurred, but the blackouts lingered long enough to draw the ire of many Twitter users.
hey @Target , great online sales that I can't see because your site can't handle the traffic.— Tim Hunter (@NicknameThunder) November 30, 2015
Such a development must frustrate marketers for Target, which appears to be running advertising across the Web today, particularly with a big purchase on ESPN's home page. The retailer's ESPN takeover promos are pushing an offer of 15 percent off and free shipping across Target.com. The Minneapolis-based company is also offering the Cyber Monday special via a big social-media campaign, involving Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook ads.
UPDATE: In an email on Monday afternoon, a Target rep said the sitewide discount was generally getting a "tremendous response."
"The volume is already twice as high as our busiest day ever," the rep said. "We continue to receive and process thousands of orders from guests who are shopping the entire site and taking advantage of the discount coupled with free shipping. As we experience spikes in traffic, our systems place guests in a queue and prompt them to access the site later. We apologize to guests who experience any delays, we appreciate their patience, and encourage them to try again in a few minutes by refreshing their browser."
PayPal is having an even rougher time, with outages occurring Sunday and today, according to several reports. The digital payments system is affecting various sellers such as eBay and DraftKings, per commenters on DownDetector.com.
On Tuesday, a PayPal spokesperson emailed the following statement to Adweek: "On Monday morning, PayPal experienced a brief, intermittent interruption in our service. We resolved the issue, and customers were able to resume paying with PayPal on Cyber Monday."
While the blackouts are bad for Target and PayPal, the waves of traffic that caused them are probably a good sign for Cyber Monday, generally speaking. After all, the digital holidays seem to be off to a strong start—consumers spent $4.45 billion online during Thanksgiving and Black Friday, according to Adobe.