When you run a web-based business and your site is down for maintenance, you might consider not doing what Linkedin did last week. Here’s the screen:
Let’s leave aside the question of the wisdom of doing this maintenance or upgrade or whatever on a weekday evening and concentrate on the elephant in the room – there’s a big fat cartoon wizard up there. What’s up with that? Pointy hat, curly shoes, baseball on top of his staff? He’s not the Linkedin mascot, at least I don’t think I’ve seen him before, although the has a big “in” on his chest. I guess he sort of reflects Linkedin’s brand colors, but Linkedin is not in the magic business. And I’m pretty sure that people into LARPs are more likely to use facebook.
Site maintenance is no excuse to deep six your brand. In fact, it’s just about the worst possible time to monkey with your brand, since while your site is down, that page is all there is in the world to represent you.
Take a look at Linkedin’s post-maintenance main page:
OK, I’m not wild about the flaming lunchbox either. But why couldn’t this basic information about the purpose and benefit of Linkedin have been included on their “back soon” page? Even if the core engine of Linkedin’s functionality is down, can’t they make some useful static pages available? Maybe take email addresses and send a message when the site is back up? There seems little excuse for a lame page for planned maintenance. Everybody knows that downtime is deadly to an online business; why add more injury to this injury by putting up a lousy temporary page?