More on the PhotoPoint situation!|
(Monday, December 17, 2001 - 13:28 EST)
Site still down for a fourth day as reader emails continue to flood in...
We told you yesterday about a major outage ongoing at online photofinisher PhotoPoint.com, and whilst we've yet to elicit any comment from our contacts at the company, some reader emails do shed more light on the situation. One such email came from Andrew Murphy, who provided info and photos from the offices of Pantellic Software Inc. (the company behind the PhotoPoint service) last July when the site was down for a similarly long period. Andrew tells us:
"At 11:28 I spoke to a lady "in the financial department" of Pantellic, who "was not at liberty to tell me" whether the downtime was organisational or technical, or when service was to be restored. She then backtracked from "not at liberty" to "I have no idea what's wrong, I just found out this morning that we are down." She suggested that "someone" would be in this afternoon who might have some idea what was up. Another reader, Al Mark, pointed out that the Pantellic-hosted Epson PhotoCenter website is still online and operational. The 'About Us' page on PhotoCenter notes that the site "was co-developed by Epson ... and PhotoPoint ... [this] means the site uses PhotoPoint's technology and content, and is hosted at PhotoPoint's technical center." If this information is up-to-date (which, since it refers to PhotoPoint Corp., it may well not be) it does seem somewhat unlikely that some kind of catastrophic equipment failure has taken the PhotoPoint site offline yet left another site hosted in the same complex untouched. (It is certainly still possible for an equipment failure to affect one site and not the other, though.) It seems that perhaps this is a similar case to last July, where legal wrangling over the fate of the site whilst PhotoPoint Corp. went bankrupt essentially required the plug to be pulled, and also meant that until negotiations were over neither company could publically comment even to let customers know the reason for the outage. Whatever is up at PhotoPoint, we'd guess that the staff are working their hardest to restore the service, whether that's by fixing technical problems, or through some kind of legal process.
The place was even more unpopulated-looking than the last time - she was the only person in evidence."
Whilst it might be small comfort to Ebay users in particular, who use the site to host photos for their auction businesses, it does seem that reading back over our reports for the history of July's outage might be enlightening. Although the site was down for an extended period, it did come back up - and without the loss of anyone's photos. Paying customers were given two months' free extensions of their accounts as a remuneration for the period of the outage, and it did become clear that Pantellic had little choice in whether or not to tell customers what was happening in 'real time' due to the legal process they were negotiating.
As with last time, we'll endeavour to get the full story to you as it unfolds. Watch this space!
Andrew Murphy and Al Mark
for this item!