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News flash: Web 2.0 is unreliable

Recurring uptime problems with Twitter, Seesmic, and other sites demonstrate that the much loved Web 2.0 is having growing pains.

In the blogosphere of early and ardent technology adopters, sites like Twitter and Seesmic have justifiably gained the attention and buzz. Twitter has had a series of well documented outages, and this weekend Seesmic seized up when videos of movie celebrities, such Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford, were posted to the video sharing site.

It also caused problems at partner sites, like TechCrunch, that embed Seesmic video comments (vomments) on their pages.

These recurring problems once again demonstrate that the much loved Web 2.0, consisting of many start-ups lacking adequate infrastructure and stable code, is unreliable. The larger start-ups and established sites have the funding to deal with traffic spikes, but they are not invulnerable to outages. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft,, and others have delivered blank pages. I grappled with some brief outages caused by server overloads as we were testing new pages on my own site recently.

All the unreliability and hiccups simply proves that Web 2.0 is like Swiss cheese, full of holes that lead to 404s. It's growing pains that these fledgling companies will survive if they can continue to innovate, attract more users, and increase uptime.

As the user base grows for these start-ups, there will be proportionally increased outrage associated with downtime, even if they are free services. That's why Facebook borrowed $100 million recently to provide funding to expand its server farms and associated infrastructure.

In his blog, Seesmic founder Loic Le Meur said the company has had 99.99 uptime until the recent problems. The downtime was exacerbated by a lack of communication with users by Seesmic, which the company plans to address.

Following is a Seesmic video I did on the issue:

See also: A business model for Twitter: Pay up