Instead of the quarterly reports, initial public offering documents and insider trading reports, visitors to the site received a message blaming system delays on "overwhelming response" to a new ad in the Wall Street Journal. The home page also included a reproduction of the ad.
"Technicians are currently expanding our system capacity," the message read. "Until service is restored to normal, we recommend you use our sister site, FreeEDGAR."
A company representative said the site went down at 5 a.m. PST and did not have an estimate for when it would be restored.
Edgar Online is only the latest business site to struggle with technical issues and unplanned downtimes. Online travel site Expedia went down for about an hour last week. And Toysrus.com found its servers inundated in November after beginning a national advertising campaign. The site remained inaccessible for many users for about two weeks.
Meanwhile, eBay, which saw a crush of new users and auction listings last year, suffered a nearly 22-hour outage last June.
Edgar Online decided to redirect users to its sister site after seeing its servers start to "max out" their capacity this morning, said Jay Sears, vice president of business and strategy development at Edgar Online. Edgar's traffic had already grown beyond projections in the fourth quarter of last year, Sears said, adding that today's outage is the first the company has experienced.
"The bad news is it's an outage," Sears said. "The good news is we've seen traffic scale up."
Sears said he didn't have any details as to whether the outage was hardware- or software-related.