Hallmark apology for Valentine's Day downtime

Hallmark Cards, one of the world's best-known makers of greetings cards, apologized to its clients on Wednesday for problems they experienced trying to access its Web site on Valentine's Day.

An army of love-struck Internet users seeking to pick up or send Hallmark electronic cards on February 14th was turned away from the company's site, which was off-line for a large part of the day.

"We thought we were ready to handle a huge amount of traffic on Valentine's Day. Obviously, we thought wrong," Hallmark wrote in an email to clients, saying the Website was flooded by double the expected traffic.

"We cringe at the disappointment we caused to some of you," the company said.

Hallmark's staple greetings cards business has in recent years had to fight off a challenge from the increasingly popular electronic cards.

Hallmark, which also produces Crayola crayons and markers, publishes its cards in 30 languages and distributes them in more than 100 countries.

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