China's Olympics Ticket Sales Crash

First-come, first-served ticket sales for the 2008 Beijing Olympics began and ended in one hour on Tuesday when the overwhelming demand crashed the server's database.

Ticket sales for the Games were halted after demand proved to be far too much for the database to handle. The ticketing database could supposedly process 150,000 transactions an hour, but in just the first hour, the Games' site had 8 million hits, its hotline had 3.8 million calls, and 200,000 orders were taken from customers.

Originally, the Olympics organizers had planned to sell tickets in three phases. Of the 7 million tickets available, 1.6 million were allocated in the first phase, through a lottery earlier in the year. The second phase - which was intended to be a first-come, first-served sale - unfortunately only amounted to 43,000 tickets (of 1.85 million available) being recorded as purchased before the system failed, leaving the outstanding orders unfulfilled.

Since buyers were limited to 50 tickets each for various events, one has to wonder if the transaction count was truly as low as 860.

New ticketing information will be announced on November 5, hopefully along with a system that will be able to accommodate the demand. The third phase of ticket sales will take place between April and August of next year.

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