Soon after hinting that they may become a streaming company that happens to offer DVDs by mail, the Associated Press is reporting that the Netflix website experienced an outage that limited access to the company’s streaming services. The outage occurred Thursday afternoon, just hours after the stock hit an all-time high, and service was restored several hours later.
As the article points out, outages happen to sites all the time, but users are particularly sensitive to sites that they pay for. When Xbox Live service suffered an outage after a busy holiday season, three Texas residents even filed a lawsuit against Microsoft.
Companies are well-protected legally by various “Terms of Service” (ToS) agreements, but they still must fight against the negative publicity and user backlash. To their credit, according to the Netflix Twitter feed, the company is trying to buy some good will by offering a discount to all users who were affected by the outage. The company is sending out emails to customers who were logged in at the time with details of the discount.
According to a recent report, Netflix traffic accounts for 20% of US internet traffic during peak periods, and at the rate the company is growing, that number is bound to increase. A shift away from physical media means Netflix will need to work on boosting the resiliency of their data centers to avoid outages in the future.