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Outage ends at Egghead site

The site comes to life after a two-day outage that hit the company just as it closed the last of its stores to move all its sales online.

The Egghead.com (EGGS) Web site has finally come to life after a two-day outage that hit the company just as it closed the last of its stores this weekend to move all its sales online.

The software retailer's site was operational by 2 a.m. PT today, apparently for the first time since going down at 10 p.m. PT Thursday. In a note posted on its home page during the outage, the company stated: "We are currently performing system maintenance to improve the performance of our site."

When first contacted Friday, Egghead spokesman John Hough was not aware that the site was down. Upon learning of the outage from CNET's NEWS.COM, he said he did not know what "maintenance" the company was performing on its site.

Later, he said it was indeed a planned outage, intended to prepare the site for its relaunch as the sole outlet for Egghead products. Hough added that the company hoped to have the flagship site back up and running by early Saturday morning.

This kind of outage is a threat to companies, like Egghead, whose businesses depend on 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week access to their sites. When the company reported its most recent earnings report, it said that revenues of $1 million a week were generated from online sales.

Hough was quick to point out, however, that the outage actually produced a pleasantly surprising consequence for Egghead.

Because Egghead.com, formerly known as Egghead Software, runs three Web sites: Egghead.com, Surplus Direct, and Surplus Auction, the company has an advantage over other online retailers that have only one address from which to conduct business, Hough said.

The other two sites each had record traffic Friday, as surfers were diverted to them through hyperlinks from the downed Egghead.com site. As a result, Hough reasoned, the impact of the outage on the company's revenue for the day will not be negative.

"Overall revenue has not been diminished because dollars are migrating into the other sites," Hough said.

Bookseller Amazon.com (AMZN) faced a similar outage early last month, which left it out of business for nearly 12 hours. To apologize for the inconvenience, Amazon temporarily offered customers an additional 10 percent off books.