This was published at 11am, Friday morning, London time:
Here’s the latest on the sign-on problem. We’re on the road to recovery. Skype is stabilizing, but this process may continue throughout the day. An encouraging number of users can now use Skype once again. We know we’re not out of the woods yet, but we are in better shape now than we were yesterday.
I don’t care a jiffy, a jot or a weeeeeeeee bit for what ‘shape’ you’re in.
There is only one valid state for a communications network and that is ON.
Not ‘in better shape’. That’s not helping anyone. Least of all me, when I log on at MIDNIGHT — almost half a day later and find that no one’s bothered to update anything for TWELVE HOURS.
Finally, we’d like to dispel a couple of theories that we are still hearing. Neither Wednesday’s planned maintenance of our web-based payment services nor any form of attack was related to the current sign-on issues in any way.
So presumably, then, it was just a class-A screw up then? An avoidable screw-up?
I’ve got a theory, I wonder if you could dispel it:
THEORY: Skype’s information technology team are inept.
Got another theory for you..
THEORY: Skype’s public relations is dire. Have a read of this. Remember, as you’re reading, Skype is/was a billion dollar company, right? OWNED by another BILLION dollar company.
We’ll update you again as soon as we can. Thanks for hanging tight.
Sorry, did you just say ‘hang tight”? Can you imagine Arun Sarin doing a press conference and asking their millions of customers to ‘hang tight’?
Are you, Mr Skype, an international communications service, or are you a start-up who’s just had their only server burn up because of load and because you’re just waiting for the venture capital cheque to clear?
Please see our Heartbeat blog for ongoing updates.
UPDATED 17 August, 2007 11:00 GMT
Yup, I and a million other people have been ‘seeing’ your Heartbeat blog which says exactly the same thing and it’s almost MIDNIGHT.
WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE BUY THESE PEOPLE SOME PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONALS.
There’s a mindset issue at Skype that needs a total rejig.
There’s ACTUALLY a note on the Skype Heartbeat blog that reads ‘Looking slightly better’.
What the hell? I am absolutely 100% bemused that a company of the status and apparent reputation of Skype is actually allowing this level of high-school language.
When you’re providing a free service that’s shoved out to the market ‘as is’, then fine. We’ll be your friends. You can write to me like I’m your best buddy and it’s a minor inconvenience that your service has been Class-F for the best part of 24 hours.
But when you’re a BILLION DOLLAR company and when I’m PAYING you for what I expect to be decent service, the model changed.
It changed a long time ago, boyo.
We’re not you’re mates. We’re not your best buddies. Don’t tell us what’s encouraging, don’t ask us to ‘hang tight’, don’t tell us about your shape and don’t go ANYWHERE NEAR giving us the ‘out of the woods yet’ rubbish.
I waited ’til after midnight on Friday evening (so it’s 00:05) on Saturday morning before publishing this, just in case there was another update due.
Let me finish with this quote from the Heartbeat blog.
August 16th, 10pm London
Apologies for the delay, but we can now update you on the Skype sign-on issue. As we continue to work hard at resolving the problem, we wanted to dispel some of the concerns that you may have.
Ok, this was tolerable. The problems hadn’t really been going on for that long so this update was fine. Er, but wait ’til you read this next line.
The Skype system has not crashed or been victim of a cyber attack. We love our customers too much to let that happen.
But, we don’t love our customers THAT much to properly invest in our infrastructure to make it work. Breathtaking.
On to a bit of a technical explanation.
This problem occurred because of a deficiency in an algorithm within Skype networking software. This controls the interaction between the user’s own Skype client and the rest of the Skype network.
Fix it then.
Fix the deficiency.
Or roll-back to the last known good version.
Or switch on the redundant one.
Or get that guy, you know, the shit-hot programmer dude, to work out a fix to get the damn thing live and operational, somehow, somewhere.
Rest assured that everyone at Skype is working around the clock Ã¢â‚¬â€ from Tallinn to Luxembourg to San Jose Ã¢â‚¬â€ to resume normal service as quickly as possible.
A valid response at 10pm on Thursday night. Rather empty at 12 minutes past midnight on Saturday morning.
It’s also invalid for me to scream ‘work harder’.
It’s not about hard work. Or about asking for patience. If you choose to play in the big world of telecommunications, step up and understand that downtime is simply not an option. It’s not a consideration, it’s not a fall-back position.
Downtime for a carrier is past being embarrassing. It’s past a joke, a bit of matey language and a wink. Every second of downtime is a constant reminder that you’re shit.
There’s no other perspective that fits. Your job is to provide the facilities to enable communication. It is our expectation that when I load Skype that it works. I don’t want any doubt at ALL.
I just can’t get over how the Skype CEO can tolerate it.
I’d be going absolutely nuts. I couldn’t accept downtime. And if it was a catastrophic failure — as this appears to be — I’d be all over Youtube with an explanation, a deep apology. I’d want to see regret and exasperation mixed with deep reserves of energy and enthusiasm to demonstrate that they’re working on it.
I’d clear the frontpage of Skype totally and replace it with a live blog updated every 30 minutes, typed personally by the CEO and/or his chief officers (obviously, where practical).
Why clear the frontpage? Well, because 90%+ of the visitors to the site will be visiting to find out what’s screwed up. They, like me, are going to be mightily unimpressed at being offered to ‘find out more’ about Skype Pro or finding a link to download Skype. What use is that when your service is Class-F and has been like that for … well, it’ll shortly be ‘days’.
I’d also expect an email in my inbox to a) explain what’s going on, b) link me to the CEO’s video explanation and c) apologise profusely. I’d also want to know when I’m next getting an update.
Or……. am I being unreasonable? Maybe it’s just not that big a deal?
Is Niklas Zennstrom not really bothered?
Well, I suppose I need to flick on my not-bothered switch too. And just use Google Talk more.
Dan, Anthony and Alex, you’re generally the only ones I *actually* type to on Skype regularly, so how about it? Get me on Google Talk from now on.