More than one week after the Webkinz servers started to melt down, Ganz has finally responded. A terse message on the front page of the Webkinz home page ("Important Message from Ganz. Read This.") directs people to this page, which describes the underlying technical problems. I've taken the liberty of adding a few of my own comments, in square brackets:
Recent Technical IssuesI am glad that they finally posted a message about this, but it's one week too late. The company handled this major service outage like amateurs, and that reflects very poorly on their prospects for actually solving the fundamental infrastructure and management problems. In other words, I am skeptical that they will be able to get the Webkinz service back to normal within a few days.
Over the past week, technical difficulties have reduced the level of service of Webkinz.com below acceptable levels [understatement of the year]. We would like to take this opportunity to apologize for these issues [one week after we should have apologized] and tell you what we will be doing for all of our great members [all six million +] who were inconvenienced [that wasn't one of the words coming out of my five year old's mouth after the third day] over the holidays.
Our main problem [you mean, the problem that caused the other problems, because to users the main problem was not being able to get online or to their rooms] was a technical issue that impacted the Adoption Centre leaving some of our newest members stuck in the adoption process [didn't know about that, but that must have been a terrible experience for a lot of new users]. If this problem has affected you, please know that we are currently in the process of fixing all stuck accounts [I would certainly hope so!]. This process is running day and night, and we expect all of the affected accounts to be fixed over the next few days [I'm glad to see a timeline, but am pessimistic that it will be achieved, considering the complete failure of the Ganz Corporation to even tell people what was going on for a full week]. When your account is fixed you will be able to complete your adoption and begin enjoying everything Webkinz World has to offer. If you have contacted Customer Service about a new account, you will receive an email when your account is ready (note: some of these emails were sent blank [wow. how low can you go?]). If you received a blank email, check your account, it has been fixed [so you say, but you told people things would be fixed before and they weren't]).
Additionally, further technical issues led to interruptions of service for many of our users [no kidding!]. We are confident that the fixes we have implemented have dealt with our key problems and that service will now be back at a level where everyone can fully enjoy our great site [if "now" means right now, this instant, I am afraid you are mistaken -- I just got a "500 - Internal Server Error" when I hit the Log In link on your home page].
As a token of our appreciation for your patience, we will be awarding an extra 500 KinzCash and a 1 month account extension to all accounts that were affected by these issues [unfortunately, some of your older and new customers won't be able to enjoy them. They've already given up. Also, what about health levels, and wasted virtual medicine used to keep our kids' pets health up while we couldn't get into their rooms?]. This award will be done automatically at some point in January [I hope you mean January 2008] when we are certain that all affected accounts have been properly fixed and the issues successfully dealt with. You do not need to request the reward in any way [that's right, we wouldn't want to inconvenience the few actual human beings on your staff who ever check the customer service email].
Thanks again for your patience and we hope you enjoy your stay in Webkinz World.
Happy New Year,
Ganz [doesn't anyone at Ganz HQ -- such as the CEO -- have the guts to sign his or her name?].
Feel free to weigh in below, and check back for updates ...