While I write this rescuers are still searching for two French tourists missing from the cruise ship which sank in the Aegean earlier today. And I am still waiting for the cruise lines website to load. I’ve been waiting about five minutes. They still haven’t loaded. I wanted to see how this cruise line was faring in their communication about this disaster. But, it as if they pulled out the phone lines, boarded up the front door and put up a big sign that says we don’t want to talk to you right now. That’s the unintended message of a website that won’t function when you need it most.
Sure, you say, how could it? They are getting millions of hits right now. And that is precisely the point. Most company websites are not built to withstand the millions of hits that a major disaster like this will cause. Since I am involved in a business that sells web-based technology for dealing with situations like this, we have approached cruise lines with the information that they need their website to be prepared for this sort of incident. I’m sorry to report that not a single one has seen the importance of keeping their most important line of communication open during an event of this magnitude.
Frankly, it is inexcusable. Perhaps a few years ago an excuse might be that organization leaders were simply not aware of what will happen to their web traffic during a major news event. But by now it should be obvious to all but those with their heads in their sand, that when a major news story hits, the next thing that will happen is a flood of those most interested will hit the organization’s website.
How much? Millions. It is very possible than in any incident like this more than ten or twenty million hits in one day. The cost of such infrastructure is substantial. But the option to have an incident website hosted on outside servers that are built to handle this traffic is both smart and an increasingly common method of insuring continuity of communication.
By the way, I waiting about five to ten minutes before starting this to see if the cruise line website would load. And now I’ve written this for about fifteen minutes. It still hasn’t loaded. Why won’t you talk to us Louis Cruise Line?