Why people are accepting bad uptimes from Internet applications
Recently (for my version of recently), some pundits have asked why people are willing to accept the sometimes less than stellar uptimes that they get from your typical internet service. (Okay, the original article applied the question to various other services too.)
My view is that it's pretty simple and really comes down to two things:
- people are not willing to abandon flawed services, because flawed services are generally better than nothing.
- people are also not willing to pay the price of carrier grade uptimes, because most of the time such a high uptime doesn't really matter to people.
The second is because once you achieve a basic level of reliability, most of the time people either don't notice a downtime (because they're not using the service at the time) or don't care that much when they do notice (because it's not important enough to them).
Without either government regulation or enough people being willing to give up entirely on merely ordinarily reliable Internet services, there is not enough pressure on service providers to force them to improve things. And neither seems very likely to happen.
(Well, okay, there is one more source of pressure: if a competitor introduces a service that's as good, more or less as cheap, and significantly more reliable, and you can't make your service better than theirs so you have to compete on reliability.)
(You might think that people could sell higher reliability for a higher price, but experience seems to show that such things are niche products at best.)