eBay Keeps Crashing

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EBay has a dream business, with no stores, no warehouses and no content costs to drag on the cut it gets from millions of online auction sales. But lately brick and mortar has been looking a lot more solid. Server problems continued to plague auction giant eBay over the weekend, following a series of disruptions that culminated last week in a 22-hour outage. It's almost impossible to imagine how a small glitch could shutter every Wal-Mart or Sears for the day.

The best-known Internet creation myth has it that the Cold War military wanted a decentralized network that could survive the nuclear knockout of some nodes. Although not exactly true, the story used irony to highlight the Net's open, anyone-can-be-heard democratic potential. But now that the Net is turning into a commercial bonanza, the system is looking awfully fragile under the assault of forces much more potent than Soviet missiles -- mainstream consumers.MORE > >