UPDATE - Gateway Grapples with Web Site Glitches

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Title: Gateway grapples with Web site glitches By Joe Wilcox Staff Writer, CNET News.com May 17, 2000, 8:30 a.m. PT

Gateway says it has largely corrected problems that caused parts of its Web site to malfunction at various times during the past week.

The glitches are temporary and mostly fixed, said a Gateway representative, although some functions failed to work this morning.

Web site glitches can be devastating for an e-commerce business, and Gateway is not the first PC maker to experience problems. As Dell Computer prepared for the Christmas rush last year, a snafu brought down its home page.

Gateway's problems started last Wednesday after the San Diego, Calif.-based company moved its e-commerce servers from one location in the country to another. Gateway would not disclose either location for security reasons.

The switch came as NECX, a Web supplier Gateway acquired April 1, took responsibility for hosting and managing Gateway.com.

The changes included a redesigned Gateway home page and e-commerce site that initially failed to work correctly.

"On Wednesday morning, for a two- or three-hour period, we had a situation where the page wasn't fully painting up," said John Spelich, a spokesman for the PC maker. Although the page would not properly load, the problem did not prevent potential customers from looking at products or placing orders.

The failure occurred from about 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PT Wednesday. "At no time was the site down, and the glitch was a one-time event," Spelich said.

But some problems persisted yesterday, with the search function not working properly because of a lag in reindexing files. Any search query pulled up the message: "There is no catalog." Search problems persisted today, with most queries returning the message: "No documents matched the query."

Spelich could not say for sure when the PC maker would solve any remaining problems, but he said the company hopes to do so today. Given the size and complexity of Gateway.com, the switch to a new hosting provider, and the site redesign, some problems are not surprising, he said.

"The important thing is people can still access and order products," he added.

Gateway took a 19.9 percent stake, or $77.7 million, in NECX last year, with an option to buy the remaining 80.1 percent. By acquiring the e-commerce operation, the PC maker hopes to bolster its overall sales and distribution efforts.

NECX opened its doors in 1995, selling directly to customers. The Internet retailer has 34 distribution centers around the country that Gateway will use to help increase the efficiency of its e-commerce efforts. http://news.cnet.com/news//0-1006-200-1888081.html?tag=st.ne.1006.thed.ni


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