Amazon’s main website went down for less than an hour on Monday, and the losses associated with that very brief outage are estimated to be in the millions of dollars. The outage was reported on Monday afternoon, and some estimates put it at just 15 minutes, although others estimate that it lasted for about 40 minutes.

Amazon

Amazon’s outage cost $66,000 per minute

For a company like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), which does all of its business online, a website outage is a big deal. Forbes contributor Kelly Clay estimates that the online retail giant lost about $66,240 per minute due to the outage. That totaled about $1 million to $2 million in losses, depending on whether you accept the 15 or 40 minute outage length. To estimate the per-minute losses, Clay used the company’s 2012 net sales.

She reports that the last time Amazon’s main website went down in a similar fashion was in June 2008. At that time, the company lost less than $31,000 per minute.

Amazon went down for improvements

Of course these estimates don’t account for customers who simply came back to the website to try their purchases later. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is such a popular retailer that the losses may not end up being that high. The site may have seen a surge in sales after it came back up.

At first when the outage was reported, the cause was unknown. However, in just a short time CNBC tweeted that Amazon had taken its main site down in order to make some improvements. At this point it’s unclear what type of improvements the retailer was making. The site looks pretty similar to the way it did before the outage.

Amazon Web Services was affected by the outage temporarily, although the sites powered by AWS did not appear to have been affected by the outage. Also AWS was up and running long before Amazon.com came back up, and few web administrators noticed any big problems with AWS.