May 14, 2009
The freely available Google Analytics service has been wonderful for the Analytics Industry. It has made analytics accessible to nearly everyone whom has a website. Unfortunately, today, widespread reports indicate an international outage for Google Analytics, Gmail and possibly more services. This outage has serious impacts on websites around the world and the businesses they are in that their customers depend on. CNet’s coverage of the outage has a great quote from Twitter user Tadiera: “The Internet dies without Google. Can’t get to my bank Web site because it’s waiting on ‘google-analytics.com.’ This is made of lame.”
This isn’t the first time a Google outage has outraged users. There was the 2008 incident. And there was the 2007 incident. Interestingly, each has occurred at roughly the same time of year, but not sure if that’s anything more than coincidence.
As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for.” Thom Craver astutely points out that “I repeat what I wrote earlier this week: If you’re a large company, you do not want to rely on Google Analytics. At this point, the little guy is now suffering.”
It’s a constant challenge for small businesses to afford high reliability services. Free options are great until something negative happens. Then they are forced to do nothing but wait for the service to restore. In reality they aren’t paying for the service so an outage here and there shouldn’t be upsetting technically…try telling that to anyone using a service that goes down though.
Google is not the only one that suffers reliability issues. Just this past January Omniture also left it’s customers in the lurch during it’s outages. As Forbes reported, “…customers of Omniture’s Web-based data services have experienced sporadic hiccups for days on end since the beginning of December, receiving data as much as two days late–long after it would be useful, in many cases.”
The fact is that both Google and Omniture sample their customers data to begin with. It should concern their customers that these providers are having outages even when they are pulling sampled data.
Webtrends has made significant investments in our infrastructure to ensure that these kinds of incidents don’t happen. Do a search on Google for Webtrends outage. The only thing you’ll find is a one hour outage from a customer that uses our software, not our hosted service. We know it’s not sexy to talk about SaaS and other backend infrastructure topics when everything is running smoothly. But, when s*%@t hits the fan, then our customers love us for our reliability, scalability, and availability.
Update: The best coverage of the Google outage today was from Larry Dignan on Between the Lines