Pinterest Goes Down with Amazon Cloud Outage

Yesterday we told you how some of the sites that are hosted by Amazon’s cloud services went down due to “degraded performance for a small number of EBS volumes in a single Availability Zone”. At least that’s the reason Amazon is giving. All in all the reasons being offered are a little vague as to what actually happened to cause sites to go down, up, down and then up again. We do know that Amazon is denying a cyber-attack. What is also certain is that some major websites were taken down with the outage, including the Pinterest social media site.

The Effects Did Not Go Unnoticed

Pinterest has been named as the third-most-popular social media site on the Web. Yesterday, when the site went down, customers were left wondering exactly what was going on. The site would go down, come back up again (not functioning properly) and then go back down. Anyone trying to visit or use the site began to understand what it felt like to be a yo-yo. Up, down, up, down. Customers were becoming increasingly frustrated by the hour.

The good news is that while Amazon may have been elusive as to exactly what was causing the website outages, Pinterest remained transparent to their members throughout the experience. At one point the company tweeted “Hi Pinners, we are currently experiencing site issues and working hard to resolve this as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience!” While it doesn’t explain a lot, we really can’t blame them since the source of the problem – Amazon.com – wasn’t exactly providing anyone with a wealth of information. Today Pinterest updated members tweeting, “The site issues we were experiencing should be resolved and you can pin to your hearts content again. Thanks again for your understanding!”

What Exactly Happened?

Understanding exactly what happened isn’t an easy feat. Amazon didn’t tweet a single word about the website outages affected by their EC2 services. In fact, Amazon hasn’t given any specific reason for the downtime. What we do know is that they have lost customers due to the issue. While Pinterest itself hasn’t stated that they will be switching services, other sites, like WhatsYourPrice.com, have stated that they will be leaving Amazon behind to look for other providers.

How Can You Prevent Losing Customers?

If a site like Amazon causes widespread website outages twice in approximately one month’s time, it’s not a surprise that some customers are going to start looking for alternative providers. The true problem, however, isn’t in the downtime. What customers seem to be most frustrated with is Amazon’s refusal to be transparent and discuss the reasons behind the outages. Vague answers that don’t actually address the root of the problem just aren’t good enough. If you want to prevent customer loss, let Pinterest.com be an example. While they themselves didn’t completely understand the reason for the outage, they did what they could to get things back up and running and kept their audience in the loop. Twitter is an amazing thing. Pinterest used it. Perhaps Amazon should have used it as well.