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New Year Blues: Netflix Goes Down Again; Hundreds Take to Twitter to Complain

Sites include . Published on January 4th, 2013. Written by Anthony West.

Netflix like many other tech companies would soon put behind them the few hitches that made life bad for customers during 2012. From price hikes to loss of content, Netflix has seemingly been unable to find some sort of stability when it comes to its services and now it looks like we can add outages as another glitch in the company’s system.

The last time Netflix had an outage was Christmas Eve when disruption was blamed on server issues and nothing too nefarious. Again yesterday the company had similar outages and so far it is unclear what caused the issues. Visitors to the site were greeted with an error message stating, “We’re Sorry The Netflix site is temporarily unavailable. Our engineers are working hard to bring the site back up as quickly as possible.”

Not surprisingly, users who saw the message flooded the support line and took to twitter to find out what was going on. Netflix wasn’t too forthcoming and many users were expressing frustration at the slow response rates and lack of clear communication on the problems.

DVD and Streaming affected

Many users complained that the streaming side of Netflix was giving the error messages, but no sooner that these users started to complain, the DVD side of Netflix started to get the same complaints. Before long it looked like the entire Netflix operation was facing an outage.

When Netflix eventually made a public statement regarding the issues, the company politely made it clear that only the DVD side of the service was affected. “We are experiencing some technical difficulty with the Netflix DVD Web site, which as a result may not be available for all members. Our engineers are working to address this issue. Netflix streaming is not impacted,” said the statement posted on Netflix’s official page.

The outage of course, couldn’t have come at a worse time of the year. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day are both days when most of the company’s users are at home. Having an outage in these crucial periods could further strain relationships between the 23.6 million members that use the service.

The Amazon connection

Netflix like other big media streaming websites use the services of amazon to handle both storage and delivery. The difficulty is that Amazon web services have proven in the last year or so that delivery isn’t guaranteed. Everyone from Netflix to GoDaddy has been affected by intermittent drops in service from Amazon and many have questioned whether Amazon has grown its services in line with the demands of its customers.

On top of these woes, amazon faces strong competition from Google who has made a serious play at entering the enterprise cloud storage and media delivery space.

Businesses across various web sectors now rely on amazon to keep their serves up and running and so constant failure could lead to trouble. Netflix meanwhile will need to play damage control in keeping users on board for 2013. It too has strong competition from Hulu and Amazon’s own streaming media services and so as a company it can ill-afford to keep having outages—regardless of who provides its uptime.

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