Blue Polo Interactive | Super Bowl Outages: A Message for Web Marketing
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Super Bowl Outages: A Message for Web Marketing

Super Bowl XLVII

Crazy game.

Flacco's 56 yard passNo, I’m not talking about the Raven’s first half dominance, although Flacco’s 56 yard pass to Jacoby Jones WAS pretty amazing.  

While we’re on the subject of Jones that 108 yard touchdown run was pretty cool too.  But that’s not what I’m talking about.  

I’m not even talking about the 49ers second half surge (sorry guys, you got close).

No, the watchword for Sunday night’s game was outages.

Pretty impressive outages I might add, and rife with implications for web marketers.  

Cheer Leaders Perform during the Super Bowl blackoutFirst, of course, was the fact that the lights went out for over half an hour.  

The Superdome’s management company issued a statement explaining the power loss and said that, “Shortly after the beginning of the second half of the Super Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system.Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue.”

Personally, I think the lights blew when Beyonce, fresh from her half time performance, plugged in her mega hair dryer (no one I’ve spoken to so far will confirm or deny this).  

But the interesting thing about the power loss was that it comes on the heels of a major electrical project, started this past September to bring the Superdome’s electrical capabilities in line with the power usage required to pull off a Super Bowl. 

According to management the project was supposed to give the Superdome “100% redundancy” in the event of electrical failure.  

Clearly their intentions were good, but they were not as successful or as prepared as they had hoped to be.

Coca-Cola's Dessert Race AdAt the same time we had all those great Super Bowl ads to watch.  I love Super Bowl ads and this year had some amazing entries. In particular were the series of Coke ads. 

Various groups raced across the desert trying to reach a gargantuan Coke bottle rising above the dunes.

The campaign called for viewers to log on to  a website and vote for their favorite team.  Coke then aired a commercial showing the team with most votes to win the race.

One little hiccup: Coke’s voting site went down intermittently throughout the first half.  No one is saying the actual reason this happened, but could it have been due to too much traffic in a world where everyone is always connected?

Lessons for tech    

There’s an important lesson here for all that are involved in technologies and running an online business.  We can’t foresee every problem that might befall our projects.  The Superdome prepared for greater electrical capacity;  it didn’t quite have it.  

Coke wanted to make its advertising more interactive, it didn’t pull it off 100% successfully. 

A 30 minute stoppage for the Super Bowl didn’t really cost them any money; the same is not likely for a web publisher whose sole source of revenue is generated from his site.

Is your website fully prepared for contingencies?  Are you monitoring your traffic?  Are you making sure that less successful landing pages are being updated to recapture the vital traffic you need to stay profitable?  Are you aware of your rankings under Penguin’s criteria?  

Can you afford not to be?

The big web advertisers experienced outages with Coke.  Electrical grids have been operating for decades and yet the Superdome couldn’t adapt.  

If the big boys can experience outages, then you can too.  

Have you taken the necessary precautions to ensure something like this doesn’t happen?  And if it does, are you able to fix it on the fly? 

Aharon Charnov About the author
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