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Online traffic overwhelms Cupid

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It has been a bumper Valentine's Day for online florists, with Netflorist and Interflora forced to stop processing gift orders yesterday afternoon.

"We had around 100GB of traffic over the Valentine period in 2006 and at one point our site had over 250 concurrent users on the system," says Sue Morris, marketing director of Netflorist. She adds that the site processed about 50% more orders this year.

"More and more people are shifting to online versus ordering through a local florist. This is largely due to the convenience factor and the ability to see online an example of what is being ordered - this is not possible on the phone," says Morris.

She says despite a 150% boost to staff in the call centre, the number of callers still overwhelmed the company.

Sharon Louw, CEO of Interflora African Areas, says the traffic on the Interflora site was exceptionally high. The company's Internet service provider and Web developers "have never seen anything like it", she says.

According to Louw, Interflora stopped processing orders at lunchtime yesterday and started routing people to their nearest florist. The increased volume to the site could be attributed to the increased availability of bandwidth in SA, she says.

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