Target and PayPal Sites Report Problems on Cyber Monday

Hub Telegram: Cyber Monday, the online version of Black Friday, is not immune to traffic jams of shoppers rushing to take advantage of post-Thanksgiving sales. Some of the most popular websites experienced an overload on Monday, similar to a crowd pushing its way into an already packed brick-and-mortar store.

Shoppers were for a period of time unable to gain access to the site of Target, the discount chain,and PayPal, the online payments processing service. Both are now back online after an onslaught that reflects the shifting trends in the way consumers are looking for shopping bargains.

Foot Locker, Groupon and Victoria’s Secret also experienced brief outages or slowdowns Monday afternoon, according to Catchpoint Systems, a web monitoring firm.

In a statement on Monday, Target said it was experiencing its biggest online volumes ever in response to a 15 percent online discount that it had announced previously.

Visitors to the site early Monday got a message saying: “Please hold tight. So sorry, but high traffic’s causing delays. If you wouldn’t mind holding, we’ll refresh automatically & get things going ASAP.”

According to a statement from Target, the company said it placed online shoppers in a queue in order to manage the volume of users, but it then allowed them to keep trying to gain access by refreshing their browser.

A heat map on downdetector.com showed most of the problems with PayPal were reported in North America and Europe. Problems started around 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

PayPal said in an emailed statement that the “brief, intermittent interruption” in service was resolved. It did not provide a reason.

The holiday buying frenzy has evolved over the years as more stores offer sales before and sometimes on Thanksgiving Day. It has also shifted away from physical stores as Americans have increasingly turned to online shopping.

For many people, Monday was their first day back at work after the long Thanksgiving weekend, so some shopping was presumably being done surreptitiously while at work.

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