Alas, poor Tumblr… Let’s get right to the point: If your company’s entire presence is online, i.e., your website is the heart and nervous system of your business, then at some point your business will disappear — at least temporarily. Your site will have an outage or downtime. It’s a matter of when, not if. This has happened to Facebook, foursquare, Gmail, Amazon… the list is lengthy. There’s even a site dedicated to tracking outages!
Consumers and site users, though they get frustrated, will understand if your site has a simple, regular-speak statement that explains the problem. Sites like Twitter (assuming it’s not down as well!) allow you to update your core base and interested media tracking the outage. So, as the C-suite of your online titan, you really have no excuse to skip crisis PR basics on the situation.
As of this time, Tumblr has been down for 15 hours. Here’s what they have to say about it:
Anyone know what a “database cluster” is, assuming you’re not an IT guru? We certainly don’t, and a good bet is that the massive universe of Tumblr stakeholders also have no clue. Their Twitter account isn’t much help either, other than to tell you how “painful” the downtime is.
Tumblr, dearest Tumblr… how about telling us what a database cluster is? Even in playful or tongue-in-cheek language, it would go a long way. Maybe a quick explanation that also discusses how long such problems last, and how they’re resolved? And when the outage ends, how about some good crisis management that explains what steps you’ll take in the future to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again?
Without taking these steps, each second of Tumblr‘s outage only encourages competitors to poach the user base.