Well, they say it happens to everyone, but it doesn’t feel very good when you’re the one it’s happening to. Just the other day we got slammed with over 1,000 visitors to one of our websites in under an hour! Sounds great, right?
Well-not really. Our website was one of the three pilots we were doing to pick a vendor to replace our current web infrastructure, none of them released yet to the public.
The next eight hours were hellacious.
We signed up for the private trial account on Squarespace. We loved their product and their support was insanely good. We recreated a sample site built on Squarespace template, same look and feel. We even used their graphics as placeholders as we played around with all the nifty things that their tool can do. All while our site was under another domain and hidden from the public – or so we thought.
Then the impossible happened
It just happens that Squarespace has had a rash of companies copying their website as of late. So, a Squarespace designer saw our trial account, didn’t realize we were her customer and assumed we were up to no good. So she tweeted out the link to over 1,000 web designers scattered across the world. The tweet wasn’t very complimentary as you can imagine.
Within minutes the traffic and anger came rolling in and our Google Alerts were firing off like the 4th of July. People were calling us thieves, and worse. I mean some of these people were even as far away as Russia, Ukraine and Australia!
We were stunned.
We couldn’t believe a vendor of ours would negatively slam their own customer. The Squarespace CEO, Dane Atkinson, was awesome. He returned our phone call within minutes and offered to help repair the damage. I mean here’s a CEO of a large company taking the time to do the right thing and help repair the damage one of his employees did. You just don’t see that very often.
So our marketing, sales and creative group (a group that spans multiple vendor teams) moved up project deadlines, stayed late into many evenings and launched a full four weeks early. Our site was far from completed. For those of you that visited the site during that time frame, you would have noticed a different looking site almost daily as project team members layered in marketing text, videos, icons and Aurora screenshots. A little weird, yes, and far from our preferred way of launching, but it all worked out in the end.
The crisis was averted and even though emotions were high on this end, the way the situation was handled was a testament to great teamwork.
So even though things may not go as planned, great vendors, great teams and a great attitude can make everything work out in the end.