Time for a holiday tradition: Black Friday website crashes

I hate to say I told you so. In a tradition as reliable as Christmas itself, network and server outages have again crippled retail apps and websites on the very day that customers come running with bulging wallets.

You’d think companies would be better prepared, seeing as how a lion’s share of their revenue rains down between Black Friday and Christmas. Alas, there are always those who fail to ensure their apps are prepared for 100x traffic, or security threats or properly buffered against unreliable third-party dependencies — all of which they could have accomplished by employing Service Virtualization. Will they ever learn?

Without further ado, here’s the 2016 roundup of companies whose apps tanked on the high holy day of all shopping calendars.

Quidco site goes belly up

The British cashback shopping site Quidco cratered under the weight of Black Friday shoppers. The outage was no joke, but the company’s social media team tried making the best of a bad situation.

Here’s betting there was no laughing in Quidco’s c-suite.

They should have looked to Service Virtualization, a once obscure but increasingly common technique of using special tools to capture and simulate the behavior, data and performance characteristics of dependent systems. That way, you know how your app will perform in the real world. You can stop guessing.

Sorry, Macy’s shoppers, you’ll have to wait!

Eager Black Friday shoppers hit a wall when they clicked on the Macy’s website. According to CNBC, shoppers looking for deals found only frustration because of a crush of web traffic:

“A message popped up telling shoppers that they should wait roughly 10 seconds, then refresh their browser, to enter the site. Once the page was reloaded, however, another glitch prevented some customers from adding items to their carts.”

It’s not clear how long the slowdown lasted, but we know this: The analysts at ChannelAdvisor estimate that retailers lose 4 percent of a day’s sales for each hour of outage. Ouch.

GAME over for UK gaming retailer

The video game retailer GAME was all geared up for record sales on Black Friday and, sure enough, customers showed up in droves. Trouble was, GAME’s website wouldn’t let them check out.

According to Mirror.co.uk, users were placed on indefinite hold when they reached the payment stage, endangering their midnight sale deals.

Reported the Mirror:

“But just hours after purchasing this deal online, some customers said they had their orders cancelled, despite the retailer sending out confirmation emails and delivery details.

One extremely disappointed customer said their deal was cancelled by GAME – and later offered £20 off the full price £249 bundle instead – that’s £80 more than the original cost.”

Don’t blame Santa: That new MacBook Pro under the tree might be glitchy

Many a MacBook fan is dreaming of finding a new MacBook Pro — the one with the cool touch bar — under the tree this Christmas. They might be disappointed, according to early reports.

The new laptops, just now being shipped to early buyers in time for the holidays, apparently is suffering from video glitches galore. It’s not clear if the problem is hardware- or software- (driver) related.

According to cultofmac.com:

“One common link among the glitching MacBook Pros seems to be the use of Adobe software, such as Adobe Media Encoder and Lightroom. Cult of Mac asked Apple for comment on the GPU glitches but we have not heard back yet.”

Sounds like a case of entirely preventable software integration problems — just the kind of thing Service Virtualization was designed to solve early in the software development lifecycle.