Friday, August 17, 2007

Skype This!

Hmmmm.... first the outage at and now the outage at Skype. Two different causes - same effect: people are pissed off worldwide - and good companies that have spent a lot of time and money cultivating customer goodwill and buzz are hearing the collective cry of dissatisfied customers, angry bloggers, and freaked-out media folks.

If you take a look at the Skype blog - you'll see the kind of people that use it - and it's interesting to see the wide range of reactions. Everything from "...Russian hackers did it..." to " wife is in Shanghai and she's getting really pissed..." and really the heart of the matter: "Two years of great service can not be forgotten for one major glitch."

At least they are communicating to some degree with their customers. I'm an occasional Skype user so it' s not that big of a deal to me. However, there are loads of people that bought special Skype phones and some businesses that have tossed their land lines in favor of 100% Skype.


It's more than just a "my bad" moment - they have millions of customers worldwide - many of whom absolutely rely on the service. The same can be said or almost any SaaS (Software as a Service) application - once people are hooked - they're hooked. And, they're 100% screwed if the P2P (shorthand for Peer-to-Peer) network goes down, the server farm takes a dump, or some lunkhead accidentally digs up a fiber line.

I think it's like most kinds of "disaster" things - until something actually happens, no one (from a customer point of view) really thinks about it.

I mean really - do YOU do faithful backups? Probably not. Even though you KNOW your hard drive will absolutely, 100% fail one day. It's tomorrow's problem until it happens today.

Welcome to SaaS where the focus on Service (and the expectation of 100% uptime). It's these kinds of glitches that make businesses wary of relying on an outside service to run their business. People expect their Internet service (and services provided by IP/Internet) to be like their telephone - it should "just work."

As everyone should know - sometimes life happens. There is nothing that's 100% reliable. In the case of Skype - people should stop bitching and actually pick up the damn phone (cellular or otherwise) and - GASP! - pay for the phone call if it's critical.

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