Thursday, January 15, 2009

GoDaddy.com down intermittently today. What lessons can we take away?

Though not widely reported, it appears that GoDaddy.com saw some intermittent downtime today:
A distributed denial-of-service attack turned dark at least several thousand Web sites hosted by GoDaddy.com Wednesday morning. The outage was intermittent over several hours, according to Nick Fuller, GoDaddy.com communications manager.

What caught my eye was some insight on how GoDaddy handled the communication during the event:

To add to the consternation of Web site owners, GoDaddy.com's voice mail system pointed to its support page for more information about the outage and when it would be corrected. No such information was posted there.

Luckily this didn't blow up into anything major for GoDaddy, but I'd like to offer up a few suggestions:
  1. If you're pointing your customers to the default support page, make sure to have some kind of call-out link referencing this event. Otherwise customers will be searching through your support forums, getting more frustrated, and end up typing up your support lines (or Twitter'ing their hearts out).
  2. Offer your customers an easy to find public health dashboard (e.g. a link off of the support page). There are numerous benefits that come along with such an offering, but this specific situation would be a perfect use case for one.
  3. Provide a few details on the problem in both the voice mail message, and in whichever online forum you choose to communicate (e.g. health dashboard, blog, twitter, forums, etc.). At the minimum, provide an estimated time to recovery and some details on the scope of the problem.
A little bit of transparency can go a long way. I would venture to say that if any of the above advice was implemented in the future, the customer reaction, and long term benefits, would pay off substantially.

Update: A bit of insight provided by GoDaddy’s Communications Manager Nick Fuller.

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