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Cable Technology Feature Article

February 22, 2010

Netflix Down...Up…Maintenance…Guess

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

“Popular online movie rental service Netflix is down,” reported industry observer Allen Stern over the weekend. Twitter, which reflects its users moods the way a feather reflects wind currents, was “jumping bigtime on the outage which occurs when many people typically watch movies and have date nights.”
Evidently Stern was one of those so inconvenienced, as he writes “I’ve seen a variety of messages when accessing netflix.com including Http/1.1 Service Unavailable and ‘We’re sorry, the Netflix Website is temporarily unavailable. Our shipping centers are continuing to send and receive DVDs , so your movies will be processed as usual. And you can still instantly watch movies via your Netflix ready device.”
The message also noted that “our engineers are working hard to bring the site back up as soon as possible.”
Industry MG Siegler was also hoping for a quiet evening in, as he writes “For at least the past hour, Netflix has been down.” This is a bigger deal than it might seem, Siegler says, since “increasingly, Netflix is becoming a streaming video service. And while that aspect is up and running on the third-party devices (such as the Xbox 360) that it works on, it’s obviously not working on the Web. And given Netflix’s awesome customer service, I bet that means refunds are coming.”
So instead of going out, Siegler decided to write about the problem for work – note the verb tense. Well, you have to admire a man that dedicated to his job.
Stern’s evening still wasn’t going well, for at 9:05 p.m. Eastern time he tried again, getting “another message randomly visible noting that Netflix is in a maintenance period – ‘The Netflix Website is temporarily unavailable due to scheduled maintenance. During the maintenance period, you may be able to instantly watch movies on an intermittent basis.’“
Riiiiight, it was “scheduled” maintenance. That’s why engineers were scrambling to get it working again. As Mashable notes, Friday evening seems like a weird time to schedule maintenance.
Maybe some folks rely too much on Netflix. “The great boredom epidemic of Friday, February 19th continues. Yawn,” wrote The Consumerist, somebody else who found an outlet for boredom by working.
“According to the error, you can still watch Netflix on streaming devices. Hope you put some awesome stuff in your queue recently, or you’re going to be watching all that crap you sort of want to watch but not enough to put it on the real DVD queue.”
But Stern, and thousands of others, had their evening salvaged around 10:30 p.m. when Netflix came back up.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Erin Harrison