Case Study: Business accidentally takes down their own website

Last week a client (let’s call them David and Bryan, from Acme) made a potentially very costly mistake by attempting what should have been a simple task.

Acme uses a service called Intercom to handle all their client support. Intercom handles their client info, relationships, and support from one platform.

By default, all emails that Intercom sends on the Acme’s behalf go out with an email address like “”. All they wanted to do was change this so that emails were delivered from their own domain, and from a specific user. Like “”.

Intercom provides some instructions on how to do this, but it involves messing with some technical settings with the companies domain. In nerdspeak, this is called DNS. DNS settings are the same ones that direct internet users to your website when they type in your address. They also direct emails to you inbox when someone sends an email to your address.

You can already see how catastrophic it would be when DNS settings are broken.

David and Bryan followed the setup instructions to the best of their ability, but unknowingly changed the incorrect settings. Next thing they knew, Acme’s website was completely inaccessible from the web.

Not the best situation for a web-based business.

website down
You Don’t Want This

Together David and Bryan spent over 2 hours trying to set everything up, and stressing about what had gone wrong.

They dropped us a quick message, and we were able to correct this mistake within 5 minutes. Unfortunately DNS settings can take between a few minutes and 24 hours for the changes to happen all across the world. The potential downtime for such an innocent mistake can have huge implications.

An email I received from David after everything was resolved read:

Funnily enough the crucial part was we had a big client say they were going to sign up today. Then when the site went down we freaked that they were going to try and sign up while it was down.

In the end, they kept the big client. But they had wasted a few precious hours of their day wrestling with a technical task that could have been made in 5 minutes. Add to that the unnecessary stress of taking their whole business offline.

Needless to say, Acme are now have their own On Demand Web Guy (that’s us) who they can rely on to get things done. If they valued their time at $100 an hour, this ordeal cost them about $300. That’s enough to pay for up to 5 months of service!

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