I was affected by this outage at The Planet last week. Outage is understatement of the month, the server disappeared on Saturday, came back up on Tuesday night, was gone again on Monday morning, and stayed that way until Wednesday. The line of problems was horrendous, and although DR procedures were way off the mark, in truth The Planet had a very unlucky succession of failures the like of which we haven’t seen since… well, since a somewhat similar event in the mocky-ah capital above there on the east coast.
There was an outpouring of screaming and shouting by customers, and you can understand why: two big data floors were offline, which took down dedicated racks, dedicated servers, reseller accounts, businesses and end users. A whole vertical was shouting at them, including people that weren’t even their customers. Me, I didn’t bother, I’ve dealt with them before and I know what they’re like: I moved the last two users I had on a box in H! to a machine in CIX, wiped the box and handed it back to them. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Meanwhile StatCounter was feeling the burn. At least internally. Did they get shouted at? Not really, in fact for the most part they were heaped with praise for their actions and communications. Know why? Because they give a crap about their customers, they talk to them, and it’s obvious in everything they do. The Planet is their diametric opposite — customers come way, way below the bottom line, they’re simply an annoyance that only deserve scripted responses.
If you want to learn about the web business, come away from the YUI docs and put down the Symfony manual, and read the comments on StatCounter’s blog. Then go explore the rest of their site, and their forums, and learn why they got that reaction. That’s how you’ll create a successful web business. If you build it they might come, but they won’t stay unless you run it like Aodhan and his team.