Lowe’s forced to cancel Black Friday Facebook Event after site crashes

My wife, known for knowing where the deals are, asked me to stay up past midnight in order to get some special Black Friday deals from Lowe’s. They promoted a special promotion via Facebook where at midnight, November 5th special codes would be posted on their Facebook Page. At 11:55pm there were over 4300 people commenting on how excited they were to have a chance to pick up some great deals.

My mission was to go after a hand mixer with a 90% instant rebate that would bring the price down to $18. These are the types of deals people brave the cold weather all night long after filling up on turkey, and I was going to score them while sitting in my bedroom…or so I thought.

Anticipation growing, fingers poised & ready to type. Credit card standing by…

And we’re off to the races…but wait there’s a problem.  Upon entering the code the site froze up and I had to refresh the page.  Uh oh, site crashed.  Now look at the comment count below.  Thousands of people are getting very irate with Lowe’s.

Comments keep pouring in.  Lowe’s website is down.  Twitter is lighting up with complaints.

Trust me when I say the sample of comments above are tame compared to others.  Lowe’s site is still down, it’s now 12:30am (3o minutes into when this madness started) and no updates via Facebook from Loew’s.  We’re all speculating their IT department is running around with their heads cut off.  After much silence (in Internet time), the following post appears on their FB Wall:

And just like that, a (I’m sure) very well planned marketing promotion has failed and literally thousands of people are pissed off.  A vocal minority rose up telling everyone to chill out because there were bound to be disappointed fans since the code would only work for the first 100 customers.

The valid frustration came from those who inputted the code, had it accepted, had all their personal & payment info typed in, hit the submit button only to have the site crash, and the overall crash of the Lowes.com website for close to 30 minutes.  While all that was going down there was silence from Lowe’s for over 20 minutes.

As they’re last post indicates I’m sure they thought the right preparations were carried out prior to the event to ensure the site would stay up.  In the end those preparations failed along with the launch of what could have been a very engaging campaign.  When it comes to live online events, potential SNAFUs are always lurking.  Lowe’s took it on the chin.  It’ll be interesting to see how they come back to tackle the mess created by the event.