Late on Wednesday 16 November, we noticed something quite strange. Server errors were being returned for objects on a large number of our monitoring customers’ websites. The problem was short-lived but widespread enough for us to investigate.
It turned out that there was an issue with a popular third-party tracking and remarketing service, and the chart below will give you an idea of how many customers were affected.
Thankfully, the brief nature of the outage, as well as its timing (for UK customers at least), meant that the impact should have been relatively minimal.
Nonetheless, it does highlight the importance of external monitoring to keep track of third-party services, especially those that are dedicated to generating revenue (not to mention regular audits of those third parties). If a service is unavailable, even for a short time, it’s going to have an effect on your business. And that’s something you should know about.
A second, more serious issue?
The effect would have been that websites would effectively have been unavailable during this time, as browsers waited in vain for the file to load. The result: frustrated visitors, lost revenue and damage to the brand.
Again, this highlights the fact that monitoring this kind of third party is absolutely essential. While testing and optimisation services can deliver huge value when they’re working, if they’re down or unusually slow, you need to know. Because visitors aren’t going to blame the third-party for the apparent outage. They’re going to blame you.
Find out more about NCC Group’s monitoring service and how you can make sure you’re the first to know when key third-party services stop working.