99.96% Uptime is Bogus Marketing

Reliability Update

Twitter has been making great progress in terms of uptime and
reliability. Fail Whale sightings are far less frequent these
days thanks to our efforts but we still have a long journey
ahead. Last month we saw 99.88% uptime and so far this month we
are at 99.96%. Our engineering and operations teams have been
taking a very methodical approach to improving Twitter. We’re
using the word “craftsmanship” to characterize our work here at
the office. Reliability and dependability continue to be top on
or list of key goals.

The above passage is from an email from Biz Stone at Twitter today. After a horrid June, things could only go up at Twitter HQ. Fortunately, it looked like they got serious about the uptime issues they had their and things have been better.

In the meantime, they purchased the super reliable and speedy Summize and branded it with Twitter branding at search.twitter.com.

This could only be a good thing, right?

Well, you’d think. Except the purchase of the super speedy and efficient Summize has only driven the tool into the pond. To be fair, it’s not horrible, but it suffers from the same weaknesses that Twitter does.

That is, it can’t keep up.

As an example, I’ve been following #dnc08 and #rnc08 searches on Summize to watch what people are saying about the political conventions. During the high traffic tweet windows during the evenings of the conventions, Twitter is reliable. That is, they are reliably late. Usually 1-2 hours behind the actual tweet stream.

This is completely unacceptable, and it is complete spin, I guess in the spirit of the conventions, for Biz to tout 99.96% uptime.

Let me be clear, when things are slow and not performing up to standard, you cannot claim 99.96% uptime. Technically you can. Uptime is technically defined by if the web server serves a 404 Page not Found (or Twitter Fail Whale in their case) or a 200 Page found status code.

But from a common sense user experience, this is not uptime. And to claim so is disingenuous.

I appreciate the efforts Twitter has put into improving, but why are we fighting the ability to use the tools during high-demand times. In essence, that makes the tools completely useless.

I look forward to better results, but my skepticism remains in place about Twitter. They do not have the staying power to make it.

I have been on a 3 month hiatus on Twitter blogging. I have refused to blog about it, but there’s another post that has been in the back of my mind for some time. What happens when companies and businesses trying to use Twitter as a marketing and communications tool cannot. What happens when your brand relies on the communication lines and those communications lines dying?

Another day, another post. For today, the spin needs to be exposed.

Read More

Never Trust a Chef…

Remember Sy Sperling? He was the President of Hair Club for Men who is famously quoted as saying, “I’m not just the president, I’m also a client”.

Other phrases such as, “Never trust a chef who won’t eat his own cooking”, or similarly, “Never trust a skinny chef” have come to represent the sentiment that the best vote of confidence in a product is when the owner/producer/creator also uses it.

Last night, Biz Stone, one of the founders of Twitter blasted this message out to his Twitter followers:

looking at an email receipt from iTunes for a vampire series I apparently bought””but I haven’t any vampire shows!

Fairly innocuous, I suppose. I hope the series was Buffy. Sarah Michelle Geller is HAWT. The point is, unlike many CEOs and company spokesgroupies, Biz is not promoting Twitter outright. He is not telling people the multiple virtues of Twitter, or explaining best practices of Twitter. Perhaps because Twitter doesn’t lend itself to a defined set of rules defining what it is or what it should do, but that is beside the point. Biz’s endorsement of his own product is a plain, everyday use of his own product in a non-promotional way.

Marketers need to get this. CEO’s need to understand this. PR people need to learn this. Your best sales technique is the technique that is not a technique. It’s just use. We’re watching you and how you use your product. The best time to sell is when you are at your least salesy.

Your thoughts?

Read More