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Tech Industry

Snafus humble Web merchants

The past week or so hasn't been good for customer service on the Web. As shown by a series of snafus, glitches, and marketing missteps at several Web sites, it's just as easy to lose customers on the Web as it is to attract them in the first place.

The past week or so hasn't been good for customer service on the Web. As shown by a series of snafus, glitches, and marketing missteps at several Web sites, it's just as easy to lose customers on the Web as it is to attract them in the first place. First, E*Trade suffered technology problems that blocked many investors from making trades. Then, Buy.com mistakenly advertised a computer monitor at well below the actual price, angering some customers who ordered the monitor but who won't get their expected bargain. Finally, Amazon.com backed off a plan to sell some of its content features to publishing companies, calling into question the site's editorial integrity.

E*Trade hit by class-action suit
Coleen Divito files against the online brokerage in Santa Clara County Superior Court seeking damages for last week's series of server crashes.

Buy.com loses big on pricing goof
The company offered a $588 computer monitor for $164.50, attracting hordes of buyers. But only 143 of them will get the bargain price. Some of the rest are hopping mad.

Amazon backs off promo plan
The company says it will disclose when a publisher has paid for a featured spot on its Web site.

Amazon.com under siege
Amazon.com comes under fire after the disclosure that publishers are paying up to $10,000 to have their books featured.

Problems hit E*Trade for third day
For the third day in a row, investors are unable to trade through the online brokerage--and the New York attorney general is investigating.

Quest for market share has fallout
As the recent service problems at E*Trade show, Internet companies race to snare customers, but then often can't serve them.