Netflix users suffering service's longest outage ever

An undisclosed error has taken all 55 Netflix distribution centers offline. Customer-facing site remains up.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Netflix, and its customers, are currently experiencing the worst system failure in the DVD shipper's history. The company shipped no discs on Tuesday, only "a few" yesterday, and so far none today. Affected customers are receiving e-mails telling them their discs are delayed.

Netflix will not reveal the source of the problem that is affecting all 55 of its shipping facilities, other than to say, "it's technological." The customer-facing Web site remains online and users can access and update their lists of requested movies, and watch previews.

Break out the books and Scrabble board. (Click on the image for a larger view.)

The Netflix streaming service also remains online. Calling the customer service number plays a recording that alerts users to the shipping outage and then reminds users that, "You can watch movies or TV episodes instantly on your PC or your TV, with the Netflix player by Roku."

"We are more frustrated than anybody else," Steve Swasey, Netflix VP Corporate Communications said. As it did after the last (and only) major shipping outage in Netflix, in March of this year, Netflix will issue a credit to affected customers, although the company has yet to determine exactly what that credit will be.

Although there is no guarantee of timeliness to Netflix customers, they have become accustomed to very rapid shipping of their discs, and Swasey said it was vital for Netflix to get in front of the issue. But he said that, "There's been very little negativity around this. Maybe two dozen people have vociferously complained, out of 8.4 million members. There's no hue and cry from the populace, because we do continue to provide excellent service." Swasey continued his message on the issue of Netflix's service: "More than 80 percent of customers join because they got a personal recommendation, " he said. "It is what we live for. We take this stuff very seriously."

And when will the service be back up? Swasey ponts to the Netflix Community Blog for updates, but said, "We don't know if we are going to ship today or not."