Hurricane Sandy Continues to Wreak Internet Havoc

Some Alertra customers are facing mixed emotions this week as Hurricane Sandy has taken out their websites. We’re assuming these customers had a sense of security, knowing that they would be notified if their websites did indeed go down. Now that the worst has happened, that relief was probably replaced by a mix of gratitude for the notification and then stress as the reality of the situation hit.

We warned our readers earlier this week that we can’t control Mother Nature and she really doesn’t care if our websites are operating or not. That’s why we encouraged Alertra customers to create Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and contingency plans so that they would be able to communicate about their website outages and provide updates if the storm did take a turn for the worst. We’ve alerted several customers of outages due to Hurricane Sandy this week and our hearts went out to you as we did it. However, now that your site is down, you need to ask yourself what you are going to do about it?

Put Your Emergency Plan in Place

Over the past few weeks we’ve discussed a number of ways you can mitigate damage caused by website downtime. The truth is that no one can blame you for a hurricane. What they can blame you for is the way you handle customer relations. If you have been alerted by us of a website outage, start tweeting on Twitter and posting on Facebook. You need to keep your customers in the loop if you hope to avoid any permanent damage to your company’s reputation. If you haven’t followed our blog until recently, you may be wondering exactly how you can go about mitigating damage caused by website downtime. Buzzfeed.com’s actions are a perfect example of how a company can communicate via the Web even if their site isn’t up and running.

Buzzfeed.com is one site that experienced significant issues due to the outages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Although portions of the site were available to the public (because they were cached), the site couldn’t publish any new content online. This was a serious problem as the hurricane was hitting land and Buzzfeed needed to broadcast news about it. What was the solution? Buzzfeed’s editors began focusing their efforts on Buzzfeed’s Tumblr pages. For the site pages that didn’t have a Tumblr page, one was created. This helped Buzzfeed.com keep their customers updated even though the site itself was experiencing outage issues.

Creativity is the Name of the Game

The example set by Buzzfeed.com is a good one. If your site has gone down (or goes down in the future), don’t sit there praying that your web host resolves the issue quickly. Your web host doesn’t control Mother Nature any more than you do. Take action. Use the social media sites to your advantage and communicate with your customers. If there was ever a time to think outside of the box, that time is now. A little bit of creative communication can go a long way when it comes to downtime and website outages.