CVS, Gap Site Outages On Monday. A Rehearsal For Black Friday?

When it comes to site outages for major chains, the killer detail is much more often "when" than "for how long?" Although it's clear that a longer outage is worse, a 30-minute weekday non-holiday outage at 2 PM East Coast/11 AM West Coast can easily be much more painful than a 4-hour outage that ends at 5 AM East Coast on a Sunday.

With that in mind, CVS and Gap sustained painful outages on Monday (Oct. 4).

Gap crashed at about 11 AM East Coast Monday and was down for anywhere from 21 minutes (according to Alertbot) to 45 minutes (according to Pingdom).

"HTTP Reply Timed-Out. The server responded very slowly and was unable to send the entire HTTP page within the 30 sec. limit," Pingdom reported.

Later that afternoon, Alertbot reported that CVS was down for one hour and 7 minutes, ending at about 3 PM New York time.

The pharmacy chain displayed a standard outage screen, telling visitors: "We're sorry, but is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused." It then encouraged shoppers to use the chain's call center.

Could these merely be the chains practicing for the many site outages expected late next month, on Black Friday? While consumers do their holiday shopping, will e-tailers be doing their holiday dropping?