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GoDaddy Web outage takes out small-business sites

Tribune-Review
| Monday, September 10, 2012 4:10 p.m

GoDaddy.com‘s widespread outage on Monday meant extra work for Tubu Internet Solutions, a Munhall Web hosting firm with about 200 clients whose websites went down.

“We don’t like what’s happening, and we’re working rapidly to fix it,” said Tubu owner Andy Quayle, whose company uses the same data center and Internet domain name system as GoDaddy. He estimated 10 percent of his clients worldwide were affected.

Thousands — possibly millions — of websites hosted by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based GoDaddy.com stopped functioning, causing trouble for the mainly small businesses that rely on the service.

A Twitter feed that claims to be affiliated with the “Anonymous” hacker group says it was behind the outage, which couldn’t be confirmed. Another Twitter account, known to be associated with Anonymous, suggested the first one was taking advantage of an outage and had nothing to do with it.

“There have been temporary outages in the past, but nothing known to be intentional and nothing of such a large scale,” Quayle said.

GoDaddy spokeswoman Elizabeth Driscoll said the company was still investigating the cause and working to restore service. The outage began shortly after 1 p.m. Eastern time, she said.

GoDaddy.com hosts more than 5 million websites, mostly for small businesses, and said it has 10.5 million customers and more than 53 million Internet domain names under management.

Downtown-based ticketing company ShowClix was advising customers via Twitter to order event tickets by phone or on an alternate Internet address until the GoDaddy.com issue was resolved.

One of Tubu’s customers is Rachel Blaufeld, who has two sons, 11 and 9, and uses GoDaddy to distribute her blog on balancing motherhood with running her own business.

She was trying to post on her blog about 1:30 p.m. when she couldn’t find it on her computer.

“I feel bad for work-at-home moms who are my readers,” said Blaufeld of Point Breeze. “Working at home is how they derive their money. There’s no working at home if you’re down.”

Blaufeld said she contracted with GoDaddy because of its customer service but was disappointed that she didn’t receive an email explaining the problem.

GoDaddy was a target for “hacktivists” early this year, when it supported a copyright bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Movie and music studios backed the changes, but critics say they would result in censorship and discourage Internet innovation.

Johnstown-based graphic design firm Prime Design Solutions Inc. recommends GoDaddy to clients as a reputable domain name registration company.

Monday’s troubles centered on GoDaddy’s name servers, said Brian M. Law, president and creative director at Prime Design. “This means that while those websites are technically still up, without the name servers functioning there is no way to find them.”

Law and his three employees noticed the outage early, and “it kind of messed us up for our workday,” he said, adding that several clients called to ask about the trouble.

The outage should spur GoDaddy to increase security on its system. “This is a pretty big black eye for a very visible technology company,” Law said.

Kim Leonard and Bill Zlatos are staff writers for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5606 or kleonard@tribweb.com and he can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

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