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It's a company's worst nightmare: the website is down, and there's nothing that can be done about it fast enough.
Thousands upon thousands of business owners were put in that position the other day as GoDaddy, one of the world's largest domain registrars, experienced a DNS outage that left countless domains utilizing its DNS servers unresolvable.
If one trend has captured the hearts and minds of internet executives, entrepreneurs and developers alike over the past several years, it's cloud computing. And when it comes to market leaders, at the front of the pack is Amazon.
Its suite of offerings, known as Amazon Web Services (AWS), has attracted some of the most prominent consumer internet services, including Twitter, as well as a slew of up-and-coming startups looking for the ability to scale in their early days without Facebook-like funding. Through its cloud, companies can do everything from run resource-intensive applications to send high volumes of email.
The market for blogging and microblogging services is quite competitive, but one of the simplest, Tumblr, has also managed to build a large and loyal following.
But keeping up with that large following as it grows is proving to be tough, and after experiencing 24 hours of downtime the other day, some are questioning whether more tumbles will take their toll on user loyalty.
Brands are increasingly spending real money building up and maintaining their social media presences. From Facebook to Twitter to Foursquare, questions over ROI remain, but many brands have come to the conclusion that social media is an important part of the marketing mix.
But should brands bet too much on platforms like Twitter, which often have spotty performance records but are constantly trying to cozy up to brands? The answer might just be 'no.'
Though I can think of one or two recent examples of online retailers being unable to cope with 'unprecedented' traffic, the UK's e-commerce sites have a higher average availability rate than those of some European rivals.
The AT Internet study found that 99.57% of its tests of UK sites were trouble-free for availability, though it did find that UK etailers fared less well with page load and site response times...
When Microsoft launched Bing, there was good reason to be skeptical. After all, Microsoft's previous efforts to compete in the search market hadn't fared so well.
But Bing is different and with the help of a $100m marketing push, has seen steady growth. Granted, Bing's growth in the search market has come at the expense of Yahoo, not Microsoft rival Google, but Microsoft isn't letting up.
In Twitter's case, the culprit has been confirmed as a denial-of-service attack. A note on the Twitter status page states "we are defending against a denial-of-service attack". There is no word yet on the cause of the LiveJournal and Facebook issues that have been reported. Needless to say, the fact that three popular social networking services are all having a bad morning hints at the possibility that the most important parts of the social internets are under siege.
Cloud computing is growing in popularity and many businesses, both large and small, are turning to the cloud to host critical applications.
Amazon's EC2 is one of the most popular offerings but all it took was a single lightening strike to take part of the EC2 cloud down last night.
Twitter's ascent as a social media powerhouse continues unabated.
The next step in its rise: monetization. Twitter has to make money at some point, it has critical mass, there's no shortage of monetization concepts floating around and Twitter management has all but admitted that 2009 is the Year of Revenue.