Unintentional Denial Of Service...
This describes a situation where a website ends up denied, not due to a deliberate attack by a single individual or group of individuals, but simply due to a sudden enormous spike in popularity. This can happen when an extremely popular website posts a prominent link to a second, less well-prepared site, for example, as part of a news story. The result is that a significant proportion of the primary site's regular users — potentially hundreds of thousands of people — click that link in the space of a few hours, having the same effect on the target website as a DDoS attack.
An example of this was when Michael Jackson died in 2009, websites such as Google and Twitter slowed down or even crashed. Many sites' servers thought the requests were from a virus or spyware trying to cause a Denial of Service attack, warning users that their queries looked like “automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application”.
News sites and link sites — sites whose primary function is to provide links to interesting content elsewhere on the Internet — are most likely to cause this phenomenon. The canonical example is the Slashdot effect. Sites such as Digg, the Drudge Report, Fark, Something Awful, and the webcomic Penny Arcade have their own corresponding "effects", known as "the Digg effect", being "drudged", "farking", "goonrushing" and "wanging"; respectively.
Routers have also been known to create unintentional DoS attacks, as both D-Link and Netgear routers have created NTP vandalism by flooding NTP servers without respecting the restrictions of client types or geographical limitations.
Similar unintentional denials of service can also occur via other media, e.g. when a URL is mentioned on television. If a server is being indexed by Google or another search engine during peak periods of activity, or does not have a lot of available bandwidth while being indexed, it can also experience the effects of a DoS attack.
Legal action has been taken in at least one such case. In 2006, Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corporation sued YouTube: massive numbers of would-be youtube.com users accidentally typed the tube company's URL, utube.com. As a result, the tube company ended up having to spend large amounts of money on upgrading their bandwidth.