So you've got one of the most highly anticipated phones since the last anticipated phone. How do you raise even more awareness and get even more coverage? Make sure you run out of stock online, but ensure your message is that you'll have plenty in stock in your stores at the end of the week for the official opening.

Whether it's a marketing ploy or not, O2's mishandling of the iPhone 3G pre-order offering was a shambles, as customers keen to upgrade found a website that consistently crashed and then about an hour after opening, shut its doors completely.

"The web site simply didn't work; at least 95% of attempts to order were cut off by another crash, yet a few orders were still getting accepted at 13:00. I received seventeen 'upgrade code' texts during the morning, but none of them got past choosing 8/16GB and tariff. The site must have been rebooted hundreds of times during the morning", said "Sleepy" in a reader comment on Pocket-lint.

Just like the box office for a hot pair of tickets, when the doors opened at 8am on Monday 7 July, the requests started flooding in.

However this wasn't supposed to be pre-orders for new customers, merely the upgrade option for current iPhone customers or those who had registered an interest, a number that O2 must have been aware of and one that surely you could anticipate on a traffic perspective for the website.

"We have made a limited allocation of iPhone 3G stock available for pre-order online, primarily for those customers that pre-registered their interest", O2 told Pocket-lint yesterday, however failed to mention how many a "limited allocation" actually was.

If it was only 10 devices or even a 1000, no wonder there would be high demand from the thousands that had registered to be informed - 130,000 at the last official count.

But then would a day without any hassle, any panic to get one, have caused such a stir? When Sony managed to ship in enough stock of its PS3 console for launch, the press derided it as a non-seller, as clearly the fact that shops were awash with stock was a clear indication that it wasn't selling.

Even if you account for a uplift in traffic of "people that are just interested" it's surprising that a company of the size that O2 is would have managed to mess it up, if that wasn't the intention, so badly.

O2 says: "The response was so great that the online store completely sold out of iPhone 3Gs within just a few hours. Though O2 had invested several million pounds to increase the order capacity of the site (with order processing capacity increased by over 250 times its normal rate), at times the site still couldn’t process the sheer weight of demand".

The bit here that gets me is the "several million pounds", as this seems incredibly expensive and incredibly budget happy. If I had several million pounds to improve Pocket-lint's website, I can assure you, you wouldn't see any crashes. It was a one-page order form, not an entire new site, that the company has been working on.

But then this isn't the first time in recent weeks that the press office has had to blame the website for poor performance.

Pocket-lint reported last month the price of the Pay & Go tariff that appeared on the website only to be pulled hours later.

The page was swiftly removed and the next day the operator informed Pocket-lint the incident was merely a "technical error on the website and loaded by mistake".

As Pocket-lint reader Chad in the comments says: "I just hope that the actual launch goes smoother than this. What a joke!"

Let's hope Chad is right and that the "technical errors" and "unprecedented" demand for the iPhone 3G won't affect customers when the phone actually launches at the end of the week.