Encyclopaedia Britannica has become a vicitim of its own success on the Internet.
The decision by Britannica to give away the information in its esteemed volumes online has seen its site come to a standstill - and remain clogged ten days after the announcement.
"The launch of Britannica.com last week created such an enormous volume of traffic that we were unable to handle the demand," said Don Yannias, CEO Britannica.com, in a statement. "We have been working around the clock to correct the problem - our teams have been busy unpacking crates, installing hardware, configuring software and boosting capacity worldwide."
After evaluating the situation Yannias said the company had decided to not only boost the site's capacity several-fold, but also redesign its system to meet the extraordinary demands placed on it.
The US publisher said it promised to make the site accessible "soon".
Britannica took its online decision after seeing sales of its print volumes fall by an estimated 80 per cent since peaking at $650 million as more and more consumers turned to computer versions of encyclopaedias, notably Microsoft Encarta.
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