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Hallmark.com has trouble playing Cupid

A surge in Web traffic overwhelms the Web site, frustrating visitors who wished to exchange virtual valentines.

A surge in Web traffic overwhelmed Hallmark.com on Monday, frustrating visitors who wished to exchange virtual valentines.

Many people who tried to fetch their Hallmark e-cards on Monday were greeted with an apology rather than sweet nothings.

"Valentine's Day is keeping us extra busy, and that means our store is full right now," the site informed some visitors. "Please try back in a little while."

Hallmark has had trouble delivering its free e-cards on Feb. 14 in the past. Despite hiring IBM to upgrade its systems this year, the company was still plagued by outages.

The fact that the holiday fell on a weekday--when more people tend to be using computers--exacerbated the problem, Hallmark spokeswoman Rachel Bolton said.

"We know how important it is to connect with people on Valentine's Day," Bolton said. "Hallmark is so sorry and so disappointed."

The site was back up and running by Monday afternoon, she added. Bolton said she didn't know how many people tried to send e-cards through the site.