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Frenzy has shoppers clicking, but for the wrong reasons

A failed attempt to boost online retail with Tuesday's 24-hour Click Frenzy has resulted in frustration, with crashes on the main website preventing would-be shoppers from accessing the sale for hours.

PT1M1S 620 349

ORGANISERS were calling it ''the sale that stops the nation'' but when Click Frenzy's virtual doors failed to open on Tuesday night, more than one observer noted it was the nation that stopped the sale. Either that or a simple lack of bandwidth.

Just when local retailers thought things couldn't get worse, the landmark national online sales event that was supposed to be Australia's chance to ''fight back'' against international online competition, crashed before it even began.

The Click Frenzy site finally up and running.

The Click Frenzy site finally up and running.

The event, described as Australia's version of Cyber Monday, was due to begin at 7 o'clock Tuesday night. Almost three hours after the advertised start, would-be shoppers were finally able to access the site.

The serious technical issues that caused the site to go into meltdown came despite assurances from organisers that it could cope with the traffic.

They predicted more than 1 million shoppers would visit the site during the 24-hour event.

A screen grab of the David Jones website.

A screen grab of the David Jones website.

Last night, Samuel Yeats, the chief executive of Ultra Serve, the company hosting the website, said it was ''experiencing some challenges'' but was working to fix them. He said he was confident it would be running smoothly by the morning.

''We were expecting a huge amount of traffic and we got a huge amount of traffic … I can't tell you much more than that.''

But it was not just the main Click Frenzy website that crashed under the heavy weight of traffic. The websites of several other participating retailers, including Myer and Toys 'R' Us, also failed during the opening hours of the sale.

The Click Frenzy website was up and running again about midnight, along with the other major retailers.

The crash on Tuesday night came just hours after David Jones' attempt to hijack the event with a one-day sale of its own backfired when its site crashed for two hours mid-afternoon.

Steve Ogden-Barnes, a retail industry fellow at Deakin University, said the online meltdown was ''an embarrassment" for Australian retailers ''who treated online shopping as an afterthought''.

''They say they are worried about losing sales offshore but many of the bigger players have never really taken this channel seriously … this just proves it.''

Frustrated shoppers also took to Twitter expressing their disappointment at Australian retailers' seeming inability to get it right online.

''… Back to bricks n mortar retail we go,'' tweeted one frustrated shopper.

''Probably best for my credit card,'' tweeted another.

Others took to using the hashtag #clickfail instead of #clickfrenzy.