Executive Corner

When the Internet means life and death

Recently, my wife and I helped friends of ours move.

In the past when we had to get rid of a whole lot of furniture, we put up ads on Craigslist and consequently sold it all for reasonable prices in an extremely short window of time. In short, Craigslist was amazing, so we encouraged our friends to do the same. We went ahead and helped our friends put a number of pieces of furniture up on Craigslist to sell.

This past Friday my wife noticed that our posts hadn’t gone ‘live’. She tried again, but they wouldn’t let her post duplicates. She went to the Craigslist online help forums and made no headway. She’d send an e-mail asking what went wrong and get a canned response. She called Craigslist for help, but got no answer. She even tried posting all new ads with all new text. Those disappeared too. By the end of the entire frustrating weekend nothing had been achieved…and the furniture needs to be out of the house by tomorrow!

Craigslist was so reliable — so good at achieving our goals in the past that there was no real backup plan. We expected it to work — and when it didn’t we were in trouble.

I certainly don’t mean to bash Craigslist. The service is free after all. I know they keep a very small staff, and that’s part of the reason they have maintained a reputation as a community service instead of just another eBay competitor. They DON’T have a huge team to fix problems when they arise because they’d be forced to become something that wasn’t — well — Craigslist.

But the whole ordeal got me thinking about just how important online communities and resources are today. We rely upon them every day to live our lives, and sometimes we’ve come to NEED them. For some modern Internet experiences we rely upon each day we don’t have a backup plan.

That’s why I am proud to work for a company that helps businesses get online and stay online. I’m happy to work for a place that understands how IMPORTANT uptime is — and not just uptime but also keeping vital web services functioning as intended.

All of us at ServInt understand that it’s not necessarily about what kind of revenue you might make in the few minutes you were down, but how that downtime affects the community you’ve built and the reputation you’ve worked so hard to forge.

And sometimes it’s even more important than that. More often than not, a person’s business is their livelihood; if a business is down it affects their pocketbook — that’s a given. But we treat every customer as if their site’s uptime is a matter of life and death, because sometimes it is.

Imagine a charity campaign that brings vital services to people going down during a big funding drive. Imagine inopportune downtime on a suicide prevention hotline website, or an EMT dispatch center. We do. The Internet is now how we connect with people, and it’s the first place we go to for information and resources when we really need them. In other words, sometimes it IS a matter of life and death.

I feel it goes without saying that ServInt is the type of place that you can trust your business to. But you can also trust to host your blog with us, or your nonprofit, or whatever you have that shares your critical and important voice. We’re the type of place that helps you scale and grow, and we’re one of the few places that’s at home with any critical web presence – be it an individual’s pet project, a Mom and Pop shop or a Fortune 500 Enterprise.  It’s because we treat every website with respect, and we understand that a website isn’t just a website.

Next Friday is “Black Friday”, the day where most retail outlets (here in America at least) go “into the black”; i.e. start to turn a profit for the year. Every year ServInt helps countless businesses weather Black Friday and succeed on their biggest sales day of the year. That’s important. But we do important things for our customers every day that make sure that their critical services are always operational.

Hosting is an industry that is practiced by many but is only done well by a select few. If what you are putting online matters, make sure you are hosting with a company that really understands what that means.

Photo by Bruce McKay

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