How not to apologize for a service outage

I have several domains on Go Daddy, including my blog and my primary email domain. As a result, both my blog and my email were nonfunctional for much of the day on September 10, due to the Go Daddy outage you’ve probably already heard about.

For the record, I first started using Go Daddy simply because they were, at the time, the cheapest. I know all about Go Daddy’s support for SOPA, and even before the September 10 outage, I was in the process of migrating my domains to another registrar. Having said that, my conviction that moving off of Go Daddy is the right thing to do was solidified by the “apology” Go Daddy sent to its customers on September 15.

Leaving aside for the moment that four days is way, way too long after a serious outage to wait before communicating with customers, there was one and only one “apology” which would have been acceptable: cold, hard cash, or at the very least, a credit toward future Go Daddy service. Many Go Daddy customers lost money because of the outage, and even those who didn’t lose money were extremely inconvenienced and lost time and productivity. Go Daddy should have shared that pain. Instead, they sent a worthless (literally) apology, at least to me (but keep reading after their apology for more news!):

Subject: Please accept our apology

WE’RE SORRY

Dear Jonathan Kamens,

We owe you a big apology for the intermittent service outages we experienced on September 10 that may have impacted your website, your email and other Go Daddy services.

We let you down and we know it. We take our responsibilities — and the trust you place in us — very seriously. I cannot express how sorry I am to those of you who were inconvenienced.

The service outage was due to a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables. Once the issues were identified, we took corrective actions to restore services for our customers and GoDaddy.com. We have implemented a series of immediate measures to fix the problem.

At no time was any sensitive customer information, including credit card data, passwords or names and addresses, compromised.

Throughout our history, we have provided 99.999% uptime in our DNS infrastructure. This is the level of performance we expect from ourselves. Monday, we fell short of these expectations. We have learned from this event and will use it to drive improvement in our services.

It’s an honor to serve you. As always, please call us 24/7 at 480-505-8877 — anytime, for any reason.

Sincerely,

Scott Wagner
CEO
GoDaddy.com

Now things start to get funny. After I first posted this blog posting, several people commented that they had been offered a free month of service by Go Daddy. I sent Go Daddy a message complaining about the fact that I was not offered any sort of compensation and others were, and here is how they responded:

Dear Jonathan,

Thank you for contacting Online Support. I understand you are concerned about the recent outage for some of our services. We offered a one-month credit to our customers who have a active paid hosting or email plan with us. As your hosting and email for your domains with us are free, a credit was not issued. However, we apologize for any inconvenience the outage may have caused and have issued to all of our current customers a discount code for their next  renewal with us. As a result of this disruption, you will receive 30% off any new product or renewal.* This offer will be available to you for the next 7 days. Simply place source code Apology4a in your cart or mention the code when you call 1-480-505-8877.

*Not applicable to ICANN fees, taxes, transfers, premium domains, or Search Engine Visibility advertising budget. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, sale, discount or promotion. After the initial purchase term, discounted products will renew at the then-current renewal list price. Offer expires Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at midnight (Pacific Time).

Please let us know if we can assist you in any other way.

Sincerely,
Mike P.
Online Support

There are oh, so many things wrong here:

  •  Why were only people with paid hosting and email plans offered free service, when the outage impacted customers of Go Daddy’s DNS service as much as anyone else?
  • Why was I only told about this discount after I asked?
  • The email I got claims, “This offer will be available for the next 7 days,” but also says, “Offer expires Wednesday, September 19 at midnight (Pacific Time),” which is less than 11 hours after it was sent to me.
  • Domain renewals at Go Daddy are virtually always discounted in one way or another, but this discount code “cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, sale, discount or promotion,” which means that all it does it replace some other promotion.
  • By requiring that the discount be used immediately, GoDaddy forces its customers using the discount to give it money now, even for domains that might not be expiring for several years

In short, this offer is a sham and an insult to Go Daddy’s customers. For shame, Go Daddy!

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4 Responses to “How not to apologize for a service outage”

  1. jik says:

    I’ve updated the blog posting above to reflect the incredibly bogus response I got from Go Daddy when I asked why I hadn’t been offered a discount when other customers had.

  2. Sam says:

    I have one domain with GoDaddy – nothing that is of particular commercial value, but I do pay them a few bucks for it.

    I got an email giving me a month worth of credit for my service. Not too bad for a one day outage.

    Not sure why you didn’t get the same – maybe they did it for those paying for services other than just DNS?

    • jik says:

      Are you serious? They’re offering some of their customers credits and not others? That’s appalling.

      Especially since all that I’m paying them for right now is DNS, and DNS is the service that failed on September 10. So they’re offering their customers with services other than DNS a credit, but not their DNS customers? That’s mind-bogglingly offensive.

      • henry says:

        yup. i got the one-month credit of hosting (a service of theirs that i don’t use). i’m moving my names to name.com anyway.

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