The Day the Internet Died

Maybe we’re being a little melodramatic, but we’re not the only ones who feel like the Amazon outage caused a death (albeit a temporary one) of the Internet on Monday. As one Twitter member, Celia Nissen, tweeted, “Amazon Web Services experiences outage and the internet dies.”

This week we’ve discussed some of the sites that were affected by the Amazon EC2 outage. We talked about how Pinterest members couldn’t access their favorite media site and we were given a first-hand look at what the outage did to Fast Company’s website traffic. Today we’re going to discuss the effect that the outage had on Netflix.

Netflix is a popular site that users can subscribe to in order to rent DVDs and stream movies to their computers, smart phones, PS3s and other devices. When the Amazon cloud went down, Netflix was taken down with it.

Nothing is quite as frustrating as coming home from a hard day’s work, ready to watch your favorite movie or sitcom, and finding out that the service (that you pay for each month) is not available. Worse yet, you’re really not being given an explanation as to why.

Did Netflix Use Social Media to Its Advantage?

If you visit Netflix’s Twitter page, it doesn’t seem as though the site made an effort to communicate the reason for the outage to customers. There haven’t been any rumors circulating about a credit being extended to those who were impacted. I suppose Netflix customers are just supposed to bite the bullet on this one.

While it’s true that Netflix didn’t cause the outage, they should take personal responsibility for the satisfaction of their customers. As one Netflix customer who preferred to remain anonymous stated, “It’s not just that the services weren’t available. It’s that the company refused to acknowledge the impact that it had on me as a customer and refused to prorate the portion of the month I couldn’t use it. It may not add up to a lot, but even if it’s less than a dollar at least it would have shown they cared.”

And that’s the bottom line. Your customers need to know you care. If you don’t show them that you care, chances are that they won’t remain customers for very long. Netflix may not have much competition for the time being, but you know the rules about supply and demand. If there’s a demand and someone isn’t providing the type of supply that makes customers happy, new companies are going to jump on the chance to take those customers and provide the type of service they really need. Just make sure you don’t let it happen to you.

If you’re notified by Alertra that your site is down, communicate. Whether it’s via email or social media (or preferably both), make sure you get a message out there and do whatever it takes to keep your customers happy and loyal