Access to Netflix’s many streaming outlets was spotty this Father’s Day weekend, causing much grief in many quarters. While the outage wasn’t user-wide—good news for its 23-million-plus subscribers in the US and Canada—the timing was such that speculation of foul play was foremost, even though the company cited the cause as a technical issue.
According to this article, theories included an attack of the same flavor as the infamous Sony hack, or complications arising from a pending “descrimination” lawsuit.
Netflix has had its history of outages, some of the bigger ones occurring in February and October of last year, and more recently, this past March. It’s to be expected of course, as glitches and failures do happen, and Netflix shares continue to be in a happy place.
It’s a hot service; there’s no denying that, and while outages suck, the repeated outcry is testament to its ingrained popularity. As long as we consumers continue to spoil ourselves with the latest and greatest, we will continue to complain when said latest and greatest is snatched away from us even for an hour, or—heaven forbid—a full weekend.
Netflix’s security blanket is the yawning gap between itself and its competitors, but how long is that expected to last? Hulu, thus far, hasn’t been able to complete with Netflix’s pricing and business model, but others, like Amazon, are tapping into the video streaming market and making headway. For now, consumers will “settle” for alternatives when necessity demands it, but Netflix can easily lose its grip on the market if the outages become too frequent, or if a competitor manages to make its service offering more enticing.
That being said, Amazon’s reputation suffered a blow back in April when one of its data centers went down for a full week, crippling its EC2 service and doing major damage to many of its customers. Moral: everyone has a setback sooner or later. It happens. Just look at Sony. Consumers should form their judgments of a company only after looking at the cause and manner of recovery, not whether the outage happened in the first place.