Typepad experienced a severe, multi-day DDOS attack this past weekend thru today. I know, Happy Easter, right? Or Passover? Either way, it made for a rough blogging weekend. I took Friday off so I could get some blog posts lined up for the upcoming week, but the attack had Typepad down all day Friday. Then part of Sunday. Then most of Monday and Tuesday. Oh - and I forgot that this all started Thursday night when I originally wanted to post: Before kicking off an Agile project, there needs to be a vision, which didn't get posted until Friday night.
Yes, I posted a blog entry on Good Friday at 4pm CT. It shows I'm an overachiever (riiiiight!).
Typepad is pretty much up all the time. I think this is the first time I've experienced this problem with them. Ever. They do a fantastic job managing their systems.
I did experience an interesting mix of emotions during the DDOS attack - uncertainty, anxiety, and frustration.
The problem during the attack is that you as a user have ZERO control of what is going on in the server room to get your account back. Short of someone installing a Webcam in there, there is no way for you to know what is really happening. Are people running around like there is a fire? Are people madly typing solutions on a keyboard? Is there a manager yelling? Are people just calmly working? Are they taking a nap?
You have to rely on Facebook and Twitter for somewhat regular status communications. Typepad did a great job keeping everyone informed. However, I had to trust that Typepad was honestly communicating with us about what was happening. I am not sure everyone felt they were being honest. (I did!)
I experienced a similar event a couple of week ago, when my email service provider was attacked. Email was down for over 6 hours - a service disruption previously unheard of with my provider. I got my updates through Twitter and Facebook, and I was habitually checking both every 2-5 minutes. My email addiction was getting the best of me - I was anxious, uncertain, insecure about missing a message or an email getting lost in cyberspace. I had no control for how this was being fixed and I had to trust who I hired to get it fixed quickly.
Sure, there were some nasty Tweets and Facebook posts about email being down, but what could the provider do, really? It was up to us, the customers, to have faith in who we hired to get the systems back to normal.
During the Typepad DDOS, the tweets were interesting. Some people got angry at Typepad for being attacked, as if they planned it. Of course, some people threatened to move their service; others felt sympathy and empathy that Typepad was attacked.
I understand that some of these people make their money from their blogs. However, if you want to be sure that your site is always up, then host your blog yourself and maintain your control over your environment. Even then - what happens if your hosting provider gets a DDOS attack? What happens if you are managing your server yourself? Yes - it is the same problem. You have to trust who you hired to address the problem.
Although customers need to trust who they hired to fix a problem, that doesn't stop them from feeling uncertainty, anxiety or frustration. I could list a bunch of customer service ideas to mitigate those negative customer emotions, but that feels trite - we all know how to do those things.
These companies balanced my anxiety and frustration by appealing not only to my trust in them to fix the problem, but how I trust myself and my decision making abilities to choose them as a service provider in the first place.
Trust will stop the uncertainty feelings and reduce the anxiety and frustration. And that trust can only be built over the course of the entire customer relationship - including after you fix the problem. The more you trust your vendor choice, the more you trust yourself and your decisions.
I bet Typepad will have very loyal customers after this ordeal. I know I'm impressed with how they handled this multi-day attack.