If you tried visiting our site any time over the past week, it’s quite possible that you received a “site not found” message from your web browser. I can assure you that our site hasn’t gone anywhere, but finding the site has indeed been an intermittent problem due to issues at our domain registrar, Dotster. They are in the midst of a transition to a new management platform, and somehow that has triggered problems with the DNS tables that direct internet traffic to our site. As you can imagine, this is incredibly frustrating for us as we gear up for our first product launch.
Even at the best companies, mistakes sometimes happen and problems sometimes occur, however rarely. What separates great companies from not-so-great companies is how those problems are managed and resolved. In fact, studies have repeatedly shown that customers tend to be more loyal to companies that had problems and resolved them decisively and effectively than they are to companies that never had any problems at all. We all can forgive a company letting us down in the short term when we see them bending over backwards to fix things and restore our trust. Such a trial by fire gives us confidence that any future problems will be handled equally well. When a company hasn’t been tested under such circumstances, we may still feel positively towards them, but we don’t really know for sure how they will behave in a crisis.
Unfortunately, our current registrar has failed to impress us under these circumstances. Their technical support team has been difficult to reach and initially provided contradictory information about the problem. There has never been a sense that they understand or care about how disruptive this problem can be to a business. Though we never had any problems with them previously, we have emerged from this situation with the realization that we simply can’t count on them in a future crisis.
It’s quite possible—likely even—that this registrar will never experience a similar DNS problem in the future. We now realize, however, that the quality and responsiveness of a registrar’s technical support is perhaps even more important than their reliability record. As a result, we’re moving our domain to Network Solutions, who presumably will do a better job in this respect. We simply can’t risk another experience like the one we’ve had this past week.
Certainly this is a lesson for us in the importance of choosing the right domain registrar, but, more importantly, it’s a reminder about the critical importance of customer service. Rest assured that we’ll be taking this message to heart as we launch our first product to customers. If we hope to have a tool that is indispensable for investigating photo authenticity, then we have to ensure that customers can continually rely on it. Technology only gets us part way to that level of assurance. The rest of the distance is purely a human factor.