More Than Email. It’s About Trust.

We’re now on the tail end of a rather nasty email service disruption. Here’s a phrase I use sometimes:

Email’s like oxygen these days, we just can’t live without it.

You really don’t notice oxygen when it’s there, but if the oxygen gets sucked out of the room, you notice pretty quickly. It’s the same with email, right? You notice when it’s gone. And that’s exactly what happened for a number of Marketing Ideas For Printers’ customers over the last few days.

Personally, when I learned that there was an email disruption affecting our customers, my stomach started turning a little bit. I could feel the oxygen leaving the room. Thankfully email disruptions don’t happen often, but when those disruptions do happen, I always end up with that stomach-turning, oxygen-sucking feeling. When they occur, most email disruptions are measured in minutes. Less commonly the disruption may last an hour or two. So, in rare times like this when the disruption lasts for days, the feeling is downright sickening.

Who’s Behind the Email Service?

A company called Rackspace is our email technology partner. They’re big players in the web hosting and email universe, trusted by companies big and small. We’ve partnered with them for years and years; they’ve earned our trust. To repeat a line from our previous Email Service Update post:

We partner with Rackspace for our email server because they’re the best, most reliable solution 99.9% of the time. Right now, though, we’re experiencing the other 0.1% of the time as they sort through issues with the email server. Typically, these interruptions of service are little blips that are resolved quickly, however, this one seems to be a big one.

Rackspace is currently working hard to fix this problem…

We’ve never had to worry about Rackspace. We trust that they’re going to be right on the front lines, fixing problems even before they happen. In fact, this recent service disruption resulted from the desire to do just that: fix problems before they happen.

I asked the Rackspace support team for the inside scoop on the disruption because I know that many of you would want to know what happened, and here’s what they told me (with my emphasis added):

We understand how this hurts your business as it hurts our business as well. Reports of the symptoms you are seeing have been trickling in for the past few weeks and in an effort to alleviate these symptoms we doubled our infrastructure’s capacity. Unfortunately, this resulted in all users reporting increased amounts of these symptoms all at once and subsequently a debilitating server load. We began this maintenance on Wednesday night in an effort to interrupt the smallest amount of traffic possible and did not anticipate this effect at all. This amount of downtime is unprecedented for us and we are making no excuses. We made a mistake and we are learning from it. Though I cannot give you or your users a definite ETA, I can tell you that our engineers and operations teams are working all hands on deck to resolve this issue and are reporting that we should be seeing marked improvement by Monday. At this time, there is no loss in data and incoming mail will all eventually deliver so long as the sender did not receive a bounceback. We are expecting a full recovery here and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.

It’s About Trust

We know you trust us to provide you with excellent products and services. Trust is so hard to earn and so easy to lose. We don’t take that trust for granted. So, when a disruption like the one we just experienced occurs, I get nervous that some of the trust we worked so hard to earn from you might begin to disappear.

The trust you place in us for a reliable email service gets assigned one level higher; that trust transfers to Rackspace. Even though the last few days were pretty rough, we still trust Rackspace to do what needs to be done. That’s not a blind trust with an unlimited expiration date. We’ll do our due diligence to make sure Rackspace continues to earn the trust we place in them, which is simply an extension of the trust you place in us.

It’s Also About Integrity

I also want to make sure to save some space to talk about integrity, too. Integrity is one of our core values, so it’s important to us to make sure we’re responding in the way that’s consistent with how we say we’ll respond. Even though we wish bad things never happened, we know that’s not realistic, and our terms of service reflect that reality by saying:

We’d love to promise that the services we provide to you will always be available, but we can’t. We don’t control the universe.

However, we do know how important our services are to you, and how much you rely on them to conduct your business. So, you can be assured that it is crucial to us to ensure that our services are operational as close to 100% of the time as is within our power to do so. In fact, that’s why we partner with enterprise-grade technology partners like to host our digital infrastructure. They’re the best in the business — only the best for you!

Moving Forward: How We’ll Help

I wish this email service disruption never happened. It goes without saying Rackspace feels the same way. But it did happen. Thankfully, it appears that email service is back to normal for everyone except a few outliers. If you’re one of those outliers still experiencing email issues, please let us know, because we (along with Rackspace) will continue to wrestle through any issues that remain to get everything back to perfect.

Please know we’re on your side, and we’re here to help.

With sincerity,

Dave Hultin

David Hultin
President, Marketing Ideas For Printers