Server crashes, and a different view of what we do

9 replies
There was yet another thread posted here last evening about launches and server crashes. This one was in response to a post by Jeff Walker, on his blog. It was titled Fake Server Crashes and Marketing Morons.

The poster came close to outright accusing Jeff of a number of nasty deceptions, ranging from faking crashes (and teaching his students to do the same), lying about the customer service costs associated with handling them, and using this and other sneaky techniques to promote his new site.

The poster has gotten some time off to cool down and think about how he handles questions like this. I replied, left the comments there long enough for the involved parties to see them, and deleted the thread early this afternoon.

In the mean time, Jeff had typed the response I've copied below. I think this merits reading, and that he should be allowed the response. With that...

The comments from Jeff Walker:


I suggest that some of the folks here should
actually go read my blog post, as well as my
replies in the comments on that post. Most of the
questions raised here have already been answered.
Here is the link: ? creator of the Product Launch Formula®

The name of the blog post in question is "Server
Crashes and Marketing Morons"... and there's a
reason for that title.

It's because the people who think a server crash
is a marketing tactic really ARE marketing morons.

To put that in context... the people that have
watched my Warrior Forum posts over the last seven
years know that I'm not one to spend any time
slinging mud, name calling, or going into
histrionics. And I've got a thick skin... I know
that my position makes me a target. That's OK... I
can live with that. It comes with the territory.

I just don't like to see people that don't have a
clue misleading lots of people who aren't
experienced enough to know better. That's why I
wrote that blog post.

There are a group of people that perpetuate this
myth that server crashes are a marketing trick.
Those people don't have a clue how business works
(or hardware for that matter.)

Unfortunately, those "marketing morons" often have
loud voices and sometimes convince other people
with their mis-informed opinions.

So I'm going to answer a few specific points:

- I have NEVER taught that you should have a real
or fake server crash. Let me repeat - I have NEVER
taught that. Note that there are no PLF Owners
popping up in this thread saying... "yeah, Jeff
taught that you should crash your server."

The OP says he's never seen my stuff, but he's
guessing at what I teach? Right.

What I *have* taught is that most problems in
business can be turned around into a positive...
you can almost always turn lemons into lemonade.

- I have done dozens of product launches. I have
only had one server crash so far (that was for PLF
2.0). I also had the server crash for the blog
last week... but that really wasn't a product

Could I have been better prepared for both of
those? Absolutely. Do I wish I was? Absolutely.

Did I ever claim to be a server admin or hardware
expert? No.

Does being really good at business give me
superpowers in every area of computers and the
Internet? Sadly, no.

- With regards to my customer service costs...
those costs were NOT for dealing with the server
hardware. Any costs related to the actual server
crash were absorbed by my host (Rackspace).

Here's where my costs came from...

Before the server crashed, the site was up for
about 30-60 seconds... in that time a lot of
people were on the site trying to order (no doubt
using Roboform). The page loaded in their browser.
Some of them actually got their order through in
those first few seconds. The rest of them hit
"enter" and they got "site not found"...

Of course, when you try to place a $2,000.00 order
and get a "site not found" and then the site's not
available for 30 minutes, then what's the first
thing you do when the site comes back up? You put
in a support ticket.

Within the first hour of the server being back up,
we had HUNDREDS of support requests. Those are not
easy support requests to deal with... especially
since SOME orders actually did go through in that
first 60 seconds. Every single one takes research
to deal with.

In addition, we had database errors - very common
if your server crashes in the midst of a ton of
database activity. And when the server came back
up when had more database issues with both the
helpdesk and the membership site - neither was
running properly. All of a sudden we're running
support through a gmail account (ever try running
a customer service TEAM through a gmail account?)

And, of course, we had a lot of duplicate orders
to deal with. People didn't know if their order
went through, so they put two or three or even
FOUR orders through. (Membership site database
corrupted, they aren't landing on the right pages
or getting the right emails... so they put another
order in.) Think about it... someone has an extra
$2-6k on their credit card bill - is that an easy
support ticket to solve?

We sold approximately 500 copies in the first
hour, and more than 1,000 in the first 10 hours.
Because of all the database issues, MOST of those
people required handholding by our customer
service staff.

Bottom line, I had to triple my customer service
staff for three weeks. We also had to get software
help to deal with the database issues from the

Naturally, some of the extra customer service load
would have occurred whether or not we had the
crash - just because we sold so much stuff (which
is reason for the big range of my estimate of
$20-30k)... but it was the server crash that just
killed us.

- Next, my guess at the lost sales of $100,000.
This is just my estimate. I have no way of knowing
for sure, and I stated that in my blog post. But
the launch did $1.1 million in the first hour and
$3.4 million total. I heard from a LOT of people
who were not happy about the server being down who
told me they were not going to buy because they
thought I was playing games. I think that $100k is
a conservative estimate... that's about 3% of sales for the launch.

I did NOT have a hard limit on the number I would
sell with PLF 2.0 - we could have sold more.

HOWEVER, after that PLF 2.0 launch I limited later
releases to 500 copies (because of all the
customer service headaches with the 2.0 release.)

- With regards to my email after the blog crashed
last week being "pre-written"... well, like I said in
my blog post - there are a lot of "marketing
morons" out there. I can write an email like that
in about five minutes... that's what I do for a

OK, that's enough ranting... I don't plan on
spending a lot of time responding to this thread.
You can read my responses on my blog. All I have
to say is this - there's a TON of cynicism and
skepticism among Internet Marketers.

I can completely understand that - because there's
a lot of BS and a lot of scams out there.

However, I think getting caught up in the cynicism
and bile and hating takes you down a short path
that ends in loserville. The people who are out
there getting stuff done and building businesses
are not the folks who are spending their time
hating on people in the forums.

It's like you have to make a choice - you can
spend your time being a hater in loserville, or
you can get out there and get to work and build

I know that it's a lot easier to go the loserville
route - there's no work involved. But the rewards
of actually building something are a lot greater.
And the people you get to hang out with are a lot

I love Internet Marketing. I love what it's done
for me and my family. I love what it's done for so
many of my friends. I love what it's done for so
many of my clients. I love all the wonderful
friends I've made in this community. I love how
I've gotten to meet so many incredible people
along the way.

And I really love how this little community (and
I'm talking both about the IM Community in
general, but also about this crazy WF community)
is literally changing the way business is being
done in the world. The impact we're making is

When I started out, I just wanted to make a few
bucks so my family wouldn't have to scramble to
pay the bills each month. Then when I started to
have a little bit of success... I just wanted my
wife to be able to quit her job so she could stay
home with the babies. Then when my business took
off, I just wanted to make enough to be
financially independent. But when I hit all those
goals a few years ago, it was time to look around
and think bigger. And this is what I think...

I personally think that entrepreneurs are the
agents of change in this world. We're the people
that are making things happen. And it's us... the
Internet Marketers that are leading that charge.
We're creating jobs, we're creating innovation...
we're making the world a better place.

I know sometimes it's easy to forget all that and
get caught up with all the idiots, morons, and
haters... but I just do my best to look past them.
Because (and I'm sorry if this sounds goofy or a
little hippy-groovy) what we're doing is way
beyond making a few bucks... we're changing the

OK, that's it from me. I'm probably not going to
be monitoring this thread or posting replies. Any
further comments will be in the comment thread on
my blog.

Peace out.

- Jeff
#crashes #server #view
  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    I am speechless.

    Didn't knew what happened and this post just made me realize all the troubles I had over here when launched my first product we're in fact a tinny drop of water compared to this.

    People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Thanks for posting that. I missed that whole thread fortunately, but I love Jeff's response.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      The thread itself was the usual. Just a re-run of the same old argument. It's legitimate for folks who don't understand the technology to have those questions. This one went beyond questioning the reality of the crashes and into a thinly veiled personal attack. That's why it got deleted.

      What I find disturbing about it is how faithfully that sort of thread represents a big chunk of the people in this market. They know nothing of the systems or people behind various activities, and yet they're ready to make wild assumptions of ill intent.

      No thought for the possibility they could be wrong, or the damage they do by flinging nasty accusations around without basis.

      They're not the majority, to be sure. But they're a very loud minority.

      Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        No thought for the possibility they could be wrong, or the damage they do by flinging nasty accusations around without basis.

        They're not the majority, to be sure. But they're a very loud minority.
        I hardly ever buy MMO online stuff. I've got a business model I'm happy with, so I am not seeking, but without ever hunting for it, I've heard a lot of good things about Jeff Walker and I can't say that about just any marketer.

        Never bought his stuff ... only connection I ever had with him is to email him to tell him the url of a site that was selling his stuff (how do I get involved in this stuff, I don't know) ... but if I were in the market for a course, I would probably check his out based on reputation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dietriffic
    Thanks for doing that, Paul.

    I didn't know Jeff had replied.

    I came in half way through that thread, and what struck me was that although some had tried to put the guy straight on how servers can actually crash, no one had called him out on slandering a well respected individual.

    I didn't mean to be harsh on him, but I felt I had to say what I said.

    It amazes me how brazen people are on the Internet, and how quickly seeds of slander can be sown.

    We're all real people, and many of us aren't hiding behind a pseudonym. We're trying to run an honest business with transparency.

    The last thing we need is to be misrepresented.

    To our success,

    — Melanie (RD)

    Weight loss/fitness marketers earn 75% per sale with... The Fat Reversal Formula
    Join me: Twitter and Facebook

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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Thanks Paul.

    I never saw the launch or the thread about the crash so this is all news to me, but I thank you for sharing Jeffs response as he does appear to be a good guy doing a great job of showing the rest of us what to aspire to.

    It's really cool of you to repost his response so that people can see that side of this discussion which does come up here from time to time.


    nothing to see here.

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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      It amazes me how brazen people are on the Internet, and how quickly seeds of slander can be sown.
      The problem goes way beyond that. This sort of unthinking disregard for the damage one does to others is at the root of most of the problems in this market. It's why marketers are viewed so badly by so many people.

      "Got a form? We'll abuse it. Just go ahead and try to secure it, and watch us find a way to beat you.

      "Got a way for people to contact you? We'll use it to flood your inbox with crap you don't want.

      "You built a system to let people communicate with each other? We'll interrupt every conversation they try to have, and we'll claim we're doing them a favor in the process.

      "Got content? We'll copy it, and we'll use your own creation to compete with you and steal what you've earned.

      "Annoy us at your peril. And we're easily annoyed. We have overactive imaginations, too much time, and too little self-restraint. And don't bother telling us to act like grown-ups. That's censorship, and we'll throw a techno-fit."

      Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

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      • Profile picture of the author santosm
        Thanks Paul.

        I missed the "Circus Clown Act"....(probably a good thing) but can only imagine the effect this has on the raw newbie or the damage this can cause on the "accused".

        To have an opinion based on facts and truth is commendable, but to be opinionated with the lack of experience and knowledge....geez.."How's it feel to shoot yourself in the foot?"

        I have a fairly strong opinion on stuff likes this, so I'm going to say it, it's mostly directed at the newbie, as I'm sure many regulars would already know this.

        There's a hidden meaning to this thread. This is a community in which you would think we all share a common goal. Business like-minded people, all coming together to brainstorm, contribute and succeed.

        Sure we are all individuals and everyone is entitled to their opinion. But "Netiquette" goes a long way in how people see you. Remember everything you say and do on here leaves prints. These prints determine whether others will want to deal with you in the future.

        Here's an example. Whenever I come here, I do a quick scan of the threads. Anything that catches my interest or anything that is directly related to where I'm at with my own business.

        But...another thing I do is scan for marketers who have gained my respect from "past posts". Marketers whose posts are worth reading. Today is a perfect example. I logged in, scanned and saw a thread by Paul Myers. The fact that the title is unrelated to what I'm currently working on didn't matter. Instantly i thought..."Cool what's Paul got to say?" *Click*. Its a no brainer. Why? Because Paul has left prints. Prints that have left opinions in many marketers minds of the type of person Paul is. Prints of Wisdom, Honesty, Professionalism etc. So why wouldn't you want to read it.

        On the flip side, by mouthing off about something that you really know nothing about is guaranteeing your existence in here will be short lived. Let alone building a long term business.

        Here's the lesson for the Newbie...

        If you see a thread like the one Paul deleted and you have nothing constructive to say...move on. You have more important things to do and learn.

        rant continues.....

        I recently read a breakdown in figures of the growth of different industries, e.g Health, Fitness etc. Under the e-commerce/internet marketing industry, the growth was "immeasurable". A figure could not be put on it. This reflects the amount of people like you and I who are trying to make a better life.

        As a marketer, we know all too well what non-marketers think of our industry already. Scammers, Liers, B.S Artists. For the hard-working honest marketer....this is a pain the a**.

        So if you are a true marketer or aim to be...why would you add to this "negativity" or scare away those who are trying to learn.

        Restrain yourself, think before you act and don't leave dirty little footprints in this industry for the rest of us to clean up.

        End of a very long raaaaant.....

        Ps. Thanks Jeff. You hit the nail on the head. Straight to the point and great words of wisdom...
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  • Profile picture of the author rts2271
    My staff is actually working on a product for this problem involving low cost cluster solutions. I've seen first hand guys like Matt Bacak go through issues like this himself. It's not a bad server, not bad software, it's simply a fact of the game. If you have never had a crash during a launch you have either done too few or no volume.
    It also says alot about overloaded web hosting solutions that promise unlimited everything and are really nothing more then oversold, underpowered hobbyist hosting accounts. I've had this same discussion with a number of Gurus and most agree, why skimp on the cash extractor if its making you 10 to 1 in return.
    I really doubt Jeff intentionally did this as who in their right mind would shut down the cash flow. Sounds like the bad timing and luck.
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