Poor [Sixapart](http://www.sixapart.com). It seemed like a good idea at the time. Take that great [Movable Type](http://www.movabletype.org) software, remove the installation and hosting hassles and serve it up yourself for a price. I’m sure they never imagined the headaches and downtime that would follow.
It seemed like the situation was improving for Typepad customers, and [now this](http://status.sixapart.com):
>Currently the application is not available. Our operations team is working diligently to restore access. We will update status when we have more definitive information on when the application will be available.
What’s worse is that they’ve restored blogs from a backup a few days ago. That means that if you go to a Typepad blog from a link in [Technorati](http://www.technorati.com) or your feed reader, chances are you’re going to land at a 404 (file not found page) for a recent entry.
So I’m away in Washington, DC and not reading blogs for a few days. This morning, I read on [eWeek](http://www.eweek.com) that [FeedDemon 2.0 is due out soon](http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1902418,00.asp). I’ve been running the beta of [FeedDemon 1.6](http://www.feeddemon.com) for months now (the one that works with [Newsgator](http://www.newsgator.com)). I hadn’t heard of a version with a new UI! I click the link in the article and:
>`The requested URL /blog/2005/12/silence_new_fee.html was not found on this server.`
That’s strange. But I want to know more about FeedDemon 2.0! I go over to [Technorati](http://www.technorati.com) and a search leads me to a post on [Venture Chronicles](http://sapventures.typepad.com/main/2005/12/feeddemon_20.html) and that’s not there either! Of course, I assume some sort of conspiracy theory afoot here until I find out that it’s all [Typepad’s](http://www.typepad.com) fault. (I did eventually get the content of the blog post, including a screen shot of the new UI…very cool!) Too bad for Nick Bradbury/NewsGator that he gets mainstream front-line coverage and this has to happen.
So I’m taking a few minutes to catch up and I’m running into 404s quite a bit. If I mouse over the link and I see typepad.com in the URL and the article is from the last day or so I know well enough not to click through. This is really going to hurt Sixapart. It’s bad enough not allowing bloggers to post, but losing content won’t be forgiven easily. Mena Trott may not be able to be-lovable-and-ask-forgiveness her way out of this one. Maybe it’s time to be just a software company again?
At least they should get a redirect up that exchanges that default “not found” line with a page that explains what is going on.
Update 12/17: Typepad is back. Still a little bruised since many blogs I’ve visited seem to be missing their images, but at least the recent entries have been restored. It raises the question: What happens when bad stuff happens to nice companies? How much do you brush off because you know the intentions are good? If my blog was on Typepad, I’d be waiting to see the fall-out before deciding to jump ship. If I were Sixapart, I would be playing it very honest: We’re new at this, we’re experiencing growing pains, but stick with us and we’ll make it worth your while. A free month of service may not be enough. I’d probably offer free redirection if you decide to leave and put your blog elsewhere (so domain.typepad.com would automatically transfer to the new location for N amount of time) but also offer a nice incentive for riding out the storm…like stay with Typepad for 6 more months and at the end of that time you’ll get 3 months tacked on for free. The key is for Sixapart to have the time and resources to fix the scaling issues without losing a significant number of customers. A lot of “A list” bloggers are on Typepad, and if you mess up you do it in a very public way.