Hello, and welcome back (to some of you, at least) from quarantine. Although things may look as though they’ve reached a new normal, our present equilibrium still includes a number of glitches. In May, in addition to the usual outages due to overloaded servers, we also have outages due to failures of partner monitoring, plus – an Anodot first – a pizza arbitrage issue. Is it true that you can make money by selling pizzas to yourself? Read on and find out in this month’s glitch report.
Swisscom Suffers Service Outage
May 26, 2020 | Switzerland
Although many countries began easing up on lockdown this month, the amount of people who continue to work from home has destabilized many ISPs, and Swisscom is first on our list. After suffering an initial outage in March due to individuals suddenly working from home, the nationwide telecom and internet provider has suffered repeated glitches. This latest problem shut off calls for mobile phones and landlines for at least three hours.
Sky Glitch is Latest in a Series of UK Outages
May 25, 2020 | UK
Like Switzerland, the UK internet has had a rough go over the last few months. Sky, a major UK ISP, went down on May 25th, leaving thousands of UK customers unable to use the internet. Again, this is only the latest in a series of UK outages that began a massive uptick in the middle of March.
Unplanned Downtime Stymies UK Banking Customers
May 25, 2020 | UK
Perhaps the worst time for a banking failure – of any length – is during the middle of an economic crisis. First Direct Bank, a fintech company based out of the UK, went down for over two hours in an escalating series of outages in which customers were unable to log in or make transactions. Because the bank only operates via phone and the internet, there were no physical branches where customers could visit for help.
Multiple Outages Across Every Microsoft Platform
May 22, 2020 | Global
For the fourth time in as many weeks, Microsoft’s Xbox Live service experienced unplanned downtime. As a bonus, whatever went wrong with Xbox Live shared an application dependency with Microsoft 365 – the issues affected both platforms. Although it’s clearly convenient for Microsoft to run all of its platforms on the same infrastructure, this seems to have resulted in creating a single point of failure.
Pizza Arbitrage – Making Money by Selling Pizza to Yourself
May 17, 2020 | United States
Let’s say that you’re an eat-in pizza restaurant and you don’t offer delivery service. One day, you start getting complaints about your non-existent pizza delivery. Looking into this, you discover that DoorDash, a food delivery service, has added a delivery option to your Google Listing. What’s more, you discover that DoorDash is selling your pizza for less than it’s listed on your menu (probably as a loss-leader to drum up interest in delivery). Can you now make a profit by ordering pizzas and delivering them to yourself?
You absolutely can.
DoorDash and many other startups of this era are built on a “lose money to make money” proposition. In other words, they raise billions of dollars in funding rounds, then spend massively to raise top-line revenues. There’s no system built to catch mistakes like this because it’s basically a rounding error in their “spend, spend, spend” mentality.
An Economic Rebound is a Bad Time for a Robinhood Outage
May 18, 2020 | Global
You may have noticed that despite record unemployment, the US stock market continues to rebound from its February lows. Traders hoping to take advantage of a recovering Dow were thwarted on May 18th as Robinhood, a personal investment app, experienced an outage. This has been a recurring theme with the application, as users reported a similar money-losing outage in March.
Bad Luck for Gamers Hoping to Commit Grand Theft Auto
May 18, 2020 | Global
Grand Theft Auto V has been around since 2013 but has continued to make record amounts of money for its publisher, Rockstar Games, due to the continuing popularity of its online component – GTA Online – where players can spend real-world cash on digital items. Because GTA Online makes so much money from add-ons, Rockstar recently decided to release the base game for free. Predictably, so many people began downloading and purchasing the game that all of its servers became unreachable.
Facebook Issue Causes Ripple Effects in iOS Apps – Including Spotify and TikTok
May 6, 2020 | Global
Your kids’ favorite applications became unreachable on May 6th due to a truly interesting glitch. All of the applications above (and more) have an option to use a Facebook account as a login. When the Facebook SDK powering this login option glitched due to a server configuration change, all of the dependent applications glitched as well. Although the change was quickly rolled back, it took a while for the changes to fully propagate through the application ecosystem.
May was the month when we all adjusted to a new (sort of) normal. As with any such adjustment, there were major bumps on the road – i.e. glitches everywhere.