Website Outage on Friday the 13th

Dontcha just love technology?  Seriously, I do!  My businesses live or dies by my web presence these days.

It's 7:30 a.m. and I'm checking -- as per usual -- on my various databases and websites that I maintain in order to run Todd Olivas & Associates,, and others.  I check what our Virginia operations have done as far as East Coast scheduling and overall company billing. (I live in California.)  I see who's posted on over night, etc.  I've got programmers and designers working for me on various projects through a sourcing website.

Meanwhile, here at good old, our Arizona hosting company Brinkster is experiencing a denial-of-service attack (DoS).  Per Wikipedia, the definition of a Dos:

“… an attempt to make a computer or network resource unavailable to its intended users. Although the means to carry out, motives for, and targets of a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of the concerted efforts of a person, or multiple people to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, temporarily or indefinitely.”

 I can’t reach my own website.  I ping myself.  Nothing.  I ping Brinkster.  Nothing.  This is bad.  What do you do when your key vendor for something like this – your hosting provider  -- or ISP – or telephone carrier – whoever – their own website is down?  Thoughts of the zombie apocalypse come to mind.

Still, I don’t panic.  I do what has worked countless times in situations like this.  I go to the company’s twitter account:  And there was my explanation:

“We experienced an outage on our network this morning due to malicious targeting of one or more of our end users....”

I went to Brinkster’s Facebook page:

            “We experienced an outage on our network this morning due to malicious targeting of one or more of our end users. We are working with our ISP's in an effort to prevent this activity from reaching our network to begin with.”

Now here is a company who knows social media!  I left a little tweet for them giving them most likely very redundant information… “Hey my site is down too. Blah blah blah.”  It’s all I could do.  At least I had chimed in.

Not more than one hour later, Chris Flournoy, from Brinkster calls me on my cell phone.  “Hey, Todd.  Got your tweet and Facebook comment, here is the situation, blah blah blah.”  Actually, he didn’t say “Blah, blah, blah.”  (Just for the purposes of this blog post it doesn’t really matter the specifics.)  Suffice to say I was slightly surprised that such a large hosting provider like Brinkster would actually take the time to read my tweet, look me up in their customer database and take the time to contact me personally.  Now that is excellent customer service.  Something I try to emulate in my own business.

When there is a problem –not if but when – there is an epic fail in the product or service you deliver,  what do you do?  Do you run and hide behind the anonymity of the internet?  Or do you do like Brinkster did and use it as an opportunity to reach out even more to clients – touch them on a personal level – and in return gain a huge boost of brand respect?

Today might be Friday the 13th, but it couldn’t have been any less bad luck!



Friday, January 13, 2012

Todd Olivas

Todd Olivas is a court reporter and entrepreneur.
He founded TO&A in 2003.

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