MySpace Runs Out Of Power

    July 24, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Everyone’s friend on MySpace, Tom Anderson, has posted a note on the MySpace home page stating a power outage has brought down the site. If it can happen to MySpace, it can happen to you.

MySpace Runs Out Of Power
When MySpace Goes Down, People Panic

The MySpace homepage lists the reason why the site is completely down, and a PacMan game visitors can play if they choose to stick around.

“hey everyone! there’s been a power outage in our data center. we’re in the process of fixing it right now, so sit tight. hopefully we’ll be back online within the hour. its 6:40pm PST now. wanna place a bet? -Tom,” reads the note, posted Sunday evening.

That was twelve hours ago.

MySpace was purchased by News Corp in 2005, when Rupert Murdoch’s Los Angeles-based Internet unit worked out a $580 million deal for MySpace’s parent company, Intermix. Even a company with deep pockets can get caught out on something as mundane as a power outage.

“Hear that? That’s the sound of 80 million people hitting the refresh button,” Pete Cashmore wrote on his Mashable blog of the outage.

MySpace has plenty of money to throw at the problem. Not everyone has a Murdoch’s deep pockets, though. The outage presents a wake-up call to the small to medium-size businesses everywhere – what do you do if your site goes offline unexpectedly for half of a day?

Anyone who hasn’t asked their hosting facility about backup and redundancy options may wish to do so. MySpace has DNS requests for the site redirecting to the outage page that is up right now. It beats seeing an inexplicable error show up in a customer’s browser, since it communicates someone knows about and is working on the problem.

If you have anyone handling online customer service requests and questions, make sure they know exactly what is going on. Being forthright and answering those requests honestly may be painful, but much less so than trying to fool anyone about the issue and getting found out later.

The truly savvy web marketer will take advantage of the situation and move quickly to capitalize on it. It’s an invaluable opportunity to connect with customers aware of the issue as well as those who haven’t been by the site for a while.

Using the outage time to plan a brief promotion, and distributing it to your email and RSS subscribers when all is well again, can help salve bad feelings about an outage. “We’re sorry, things are good, why not take advantage of this 10 percent off coupon today?”

Unscheduled downtime that extends greatly can be a nightmare. Knowing how it will be addressed by your hosting company, and being prepared to spin the situation into a positive outcome when it is fixed, could help dispel that nightmare should it happen.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.