A "freak hardware failure" brought down the site just before it opened at 5 a.m. PST, said Kozmo spokeswoman Stephanie Cohen Glass. Engineers at the New York-based company corrected the problem around 1 p.m., she said.
This holiday season is beginning to look much like last year's, when almost every large Net retailer saw its site suffer a breakdown or slowdown. In both years, most of the outages were caused when oodles of holiday shoppers overwhelmed the Web sites.
On Tuesday, Amazon.com suffered a 30-minute blackout, the latest in a series of outages this holiday season. Walmart.com, the Net unit of giant offline chain Wal-Mart, went down three times last weekend, each instance for at least an hour. Brick-and-mortar retailer Best Buy saw heavy traffic knock out its site, BestBuy.com, a week ago.
Analysts predicted before the holiday season got under way that online shoppers would begin to lose patience with sites that weren't reliable during the holidays.
"The glitch happened at an inopportune time, that's for sure," Glass said.
But Kozmo, which delivers goods such as videos, ice cream and CDs ordered over the Internet to customers' doors in an hour, sees most of its business in the evening.