Goes Down, E-Commerce Vendors Left Hanging

Talk about a serious outage. Payment gateway service provider has been down and out for several hours, a number of tipsters inform us. That has big implications: since the service is used by tens of thousands of e-commerce vendors to accept credit card and electronic checks payments on their websites (example), it likely means millions are being lost during its downtime. PayPal and Google Checkout are still up and running.

It’s unclear when the downtime started exactly, but the consensus is somewhere between 5 and 7 hours at this point (11 AM Eastern), with e-commerce vendors desperately looking for ways to contact the company or get any first-hand information about what’s going on and when the problems will be resolved. Twitter, meanwhile, is buzzing with the news as the United States wakes up (hashtag #authorizenet).

According to some threads in hosting forums, which remain unverified for the moment, there was a fire at a Seattle datacenter during this U.S. holiday weekend which caused a massive technical failure.

We’re trying to get more information about the situation.

Update: nobody is picking up the phone at the U.S. offices of CyberSource, the holding company of Someone I talked to at their UK offices couldn’t help me and told me I should keep trying the U.S. office.

Update 2: Nathan Cheeley writes:

A fire in Fisher Plaza, Seattle has cause a massive power outage causing leading IP-based payment gateway solution Authorize.Net to go down around approximately 11:15pm PST (last night).

A traffic reporter for KOMO News that operates out of Fisher Plaza tweeted that a fire set off the sprinkler system which fried the generators.

Update 3: has set up a brand new Twitter account to keep everyone updated, confirming the cause of the failure was a fire but also stating an ETA for resolution is not available at this time.

Update 4: a new tweet says backup was in place but that datacenter was impacted as well.

Update 5: tweet number 4 says “transaction processing is back up, with the exception of Global processing.” (12 AM Eastern)

Update 6: Or not. (12:30 AM Eastern)

Update 7: reports that full transaction processing has now been restored with Concord EFS.

(Thanks to everyone who sent this in)