Yesterday NewsGator suffered an outage which lasted several hours, and as frustrating as this was for us, I know it was even more frustrating for customers who rely on our service to keep up with their feeds.
A service interruption is never a good thing, but I was pleased to see how NewsGator CTO Greg Reinacker handled the situation. I’ve seen some companies suffer a similar outage yet say nothing about it. Rather than take that route, Greg posted details of the outage, and he also had this to say:
“We screwed up. To our customers who were affected – you have my personal apology, and my assurance that we’re doing everything we can to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
I’d like to add my personal apology to FeedDemon customers who experienced the outage. In addition to the work our server team is performing to ensure this doesn’t happen again, we’re also working on ways to lessen the impact on our client products if/when connectivity issues rear their ugly head.
16 thoughts on “NewsGator Outage”
I didn’t mind the outage, things happen.
But what made me close down FeedDemon for a whole day was the error prompt that said sync service is unavailable. I can understand throwing it once like that (with sound and very wide alert window). But every 10 minutes the same thing started to get on my nerves.
So maybe in future versions you can find a way to show recurring errors in more subtle way.
Just read Greg’s post and that was, indeed, a classy response to a bad situation.
I also agree with Erki, though more on the functionality than the error delivery. None of my FeedDemon folders which were marked for synchronization would update until I turned off the sync option for each folder manually.
Once NewsGator came back online, I had to go back in set up each folder for synchronization again. Perhaps a future FeedDemon update could include a fail safe so that if synchronization fails, it still pulls the feed directly instead of aborting the update of that folder entirely – which it did in my case.
“NewsGator President Greg Reinacker”, eh? When did JB abdicate?
FeedDemon: Not Happy!
As you might know from previous posts; I use and adore FeedDemon. It is a top RSS and podcast aggregator. It works well and has some great features to make keeping track of my feeds a breeze. Plus I like the fact that it is all in one spot and I don…
I appreciate that servers being down is a fact of life. The thing that I did not appreciate was the fact thta FeedDemon would not pull the feeds directly, it is reliant on NewsGator being up. So my stand alone application was crippled by another; all be it related service. To me this is the unacceptable side of the story. I would hope that this “feature” is able to be disbaled in future releases.
I do however appreciate the apology.
I agree with what was said here. If FeedDemon can’t talk to newsgator service for some reason it should revert to the old method where it just went to each feed directly to pull down news… it could sync again once the connection was re-established.
I /love/ when company and/or product management steps up and acknowledges problems. Shows a tremendous amount of class and accountability and garnes a tremendous amount of respect from many, many users or visitors.
Companies that leave their users in the dark generate, from me at least, a lot of questions about what I don’t know and slowly reduce my confidence in the company.
Erki: You’re right that FeedDemon should not have displayed that error so frequently – expect to see this fixed in the next build.
Charlie: Oops – corrected :)
Bob: This is something we’re looking into right now.
I agree with others that it was a good response to the outage.
What will be the real test, though, is whether the statements made are followed through, via action, to their conclusion. In the current climate, though, it’s enough to simply get an acknowledgement of error… which is disappointing.
Outages happen, its a fact of life when using an online service.
Glad to see the FD feature will be tweaked in the next release to handle an outage a little better.
Also, I agree with the other comments about how the outage was dealt with publically. As I said outages happen and as long as they don’t happen often it isn’t really an issue. Admitting you made a mistake is fine and shows good character, after all nobody is perfect :)
Glad to see everything is working ok now.
I am a regular user of FeedDemon and think it’s a great product. I think it is a positive thing to synchronize with Newsgator but a drawback that we have to rely on Newsgator or FeedDemon does not work. Please fix this.
I know outages happen but a bad implementation that the reader does not work if Newsgator goes away.
Just my 2 cents.
I’ve been a loyal FeedDemon user for several years now, and still am even after the NewsGator outage. What that outage did make me do through was question the benefit of syncing my feed with NewsGator. I’ve never seen the point but accepted the wisdom of Nick and the whole sale to Newsgator thing. But no more. Denying me my feeds for several hours made me quickly reach for the ‘subscribe this folder to newsgator’ option and deselect it. I’m now back to direct communications with my feeds, and love the performance improvement. I’m sure there are those that like the newsgator sync, but they just lost my custom in that respect. May Feeddemon continue to be the best feed reader out there, with ot without the newsgator nonsense.
I agree with Rob’s comment about making FeedDemon function when Newsgator is offline: At the moment I’m (inexplicably) locked out of my NG account, and so can’t use FD or NG.
It would be nice if I could tell FeedDemon to ignore NG if it’s down, and to work out where my feeds are coming from and get the latest updates itself.
That said, I suspect you’ve all got some useful ideas you can implement to avoid anything like this happening again (but I’d still like to know why I’m locked out! Still waiting for NG support to come back to me).
Alex Barnett podcast archive
Microformats Podcast, March 31, 2006
“Here’s a great podcast for you. All about microformats…”…
So, umm, hi……. I think. Someone put topstyle lite on my computer so I’m checkin’ it out.
Dealing with Connectivity Issues in Desktop Applications
One of the more frustrating challenges when designing a desktop application that connects to the Internet is figuring out how to deal with connectivity issues caused by firewalls, proxy servers and server outages. Firewalls can be particularly hard to …
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