The past few months have seemingly brought a deluge of high profile email outages. The tricky part for those of us who send email marketing campaigns, is interpreting what these outages mean. Last week we saw a short Gmail outage that caused more pain for Yahoo! than Google because of a tweet from the Yahoo! team. Yahoo! has been no stranger to outages the past couple of months -- Yahoo!'s CEO even came out with a statement in December about what the company is doing to resolve these issues.
First of all, we should take a look at the reality of today. Most email outages are customer facing and involve logging into the email client. Fortunately, most outages of this type are relatively short. The more serious problems for senders over the long run have to do with the capacity of a provider to actually accept email. Senders who encounter these issues will see throttling and deferments. You’ll notice a large delay between the time when email is accepted and actually shows up in the Inbox. These types of problems are not often reported, because to most people, everything is running as expected.
What should you do when you are notified that an email provider is down? Let’s go through some of the common scenarios and how to avoid some common mistakes.
Next time your Google Alerts start buzzing about an email outage, remember to try and understand what is really happening first before making any decisions. Be measured in next steps after the outage. Don’t pile on the problem by sending customers multiple copies of messages, and be prepared for potential implications beyond the email channel such as increased web traffic and increased call volume.
Don't forget to adapt to any time sensitive offers and information you may have included in your message. Being aware of the frustrations and issues on the end-user side can make you a shining star when an email provider goes dark.