Busy making things: @mc, notestinycast, github, links, photos.

On the internet, everyone can hear you scream

Posted: August 21st, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Web Services, Weblogs | 12 Comments »

When I first read this story on techcrunch about Grand Central snubbing customers and changing their numbers with very little notice, it seemed like the kind of thing that was affecting thousands of users. Perhaps it was a problem on the same scale as the recent Skype outage. That’s a big deal right?


The problem affected exactly 434 users.

As explained by founder Craig Walker in the comments of the techcrunch post, the problem occurred when one of their partners stopped providing service in a particular part of the country. They were able to port the majority of customers to a new provider but were unable to do so for 434 people.

Unfortunately two of those 434 people had a blog. Then it got picked up by Techcrunch and all of a sudden it’s not a problem that affected 434 people, it’s a problem that affected the entire internet.

It’s unfortunate (for Grand Central and Google) that some of those 434 people were in Northern Virginia. The blog per capita there is off the charts. If those 434 people had been in rural Iowa, the internet would have never known.

That brings me to the other takeaway from this incident: When designing a product or service (especially for alpha geeks) you have one and only one chance to get it right. You’re never more than one power outage, one service outage, one information breach, bad decision, misstep, misquote, or mess up away from loosing your customers or potential customers forever.

Are people going to remember that this issue affected 434 people a few months down the road? Nope. The conversation will go something like this: “Grand Central? I dunno about them. I remember hearing that they changed phone numbers on a ton of people after promising them ‘one number for life.'”

12 Comments on “On the internet, everyone can hear you scream”

  1. 1 Styles+For+My+Hair said at 5:53 am on September 11th, 2007:

    Hi your article is funny.
    I will definitely read your diary..

  2. 2 ashley barebo said at 12:37 pm on July 24th, 2008:

    it’s not funny too laugh at someone who has a problem,like being big,or something is wrong with your brain. or you are nerdy or do not fit in. What if you where that person who you made fun of. would you feel inbaressd like that person did would’t you feel bad

  3. 3 ashley barebo said at 12:41 pm on June 13th, 2009:

    wait are you guys stalkers

  4. 4 lola said at 12:40 pm on June 21st, 2009:

    hi i think that this ashley barebo girl is ight but that is my opinan but it might not be yours. ashley aso gave me her friends e-mail

  5. 5 lola said at 12:41 pm on June 21st, 2009:

    i am one of ashley’s friends

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    i went to dorney park

  8. 8 hi feeeeee said at 7:49 pm on March 7th, 2010:

    ashley barebo

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