Any Reason Why the Cathe Site Was Down This Morning?

gypsymom

Cathlete
I am pretty close to canceling my On Demand subscription as the Cathe site was down for several hours this morning. I have been using the On Demand workouts and know how it works. It wasn't user error and it wasn't my computer as I could get on to other sites perfectly fine.

This is the second time this week I have had to adjust my rotation, which I spend a lot of time figuring out and enjoy the challenge of completing, due to problems with On Demand. It was very aggravating wasting 15 minutes trying to get On Demand to work. I eventually just used a DVD and was unable to do the workout that I had planned. . . Again. . .
 

gypsymom

Cathlete
Thanks. An email would have been nice. I guess if there is one more issue on SNM's side over the next couple weeks, I'll just bag the whole On Demand thing. Right now, I am starting to feel like I purchased a slightly defective product.
 

SNM Videos

Administrator
Server Maintenance

Sorry for the inconvenience, but just about every site at some time or another will have to be down for a bit for repairs. It is very rare our site is down, but it is occasionally necessary to do. We always try to schedule maintenance as close to 1 am as possible. We still have to shut the server down one more time to replace a bad BBU and we're trying to get this scheduled by the web host company late tonight. These repairs are not related to or caused by our streaming service, but instead are just standard server issues.
 

gypsymom

Cathlete
I realize that websites need maintenance. However, if you are now charging for a service like On Demand, I believe there could be better communication with the people who are paying for that service such as email, a larger post on the website, posting on your Facebook page, etc. instead of buried somewhere on the site.

In addition, the posting indicates that it would be a few hours on or after 1 am (vague). Even accommodating for the vagueness, the website should have been up and running by 5 am and it was not.

There was one workout missing that I wanted to do and could not do earlier this week. I compare my On Demand subscription to a 24-hour gym. If I join that gym and, within a couple weeks, a class is canceled (aka missing) or the entire gym is shut down with minimal warning when I want to use it, I probably wouldn't stay with that gym much longer.
 

SNM Videos

Administrator
Server issues

When it comes to server maintenance it's not done by us, it's done by the data center and they only give windows of time on when they can work on something and they don't always do things when they are supposed to. So it's not possible to give you a precise time. Plus, it's not possible to know how long it's going to take to fix something that is often unkown.

The notice we gave yesterday was not buried on our site, it was posted in our largest forum - Open Discussion. We also scheduled the work at a time to impact the fewest people possible - around 1 AM.

Whether it be the cable company, Direct TV, Phone Company, Electric Company, or even a Gym, there will always be something that happens where service is interrupted or a class is missed. Until this week our up-time has been 100% for the last year. The data center is aware that our server has an issue right now and they're trying to fix it and still keep the server functioning during our busiest hours.

As for the missing video, you contacted us on Sunday about the missing Hardcore Extreme video and you had an answer back to you the same day apologizing for the error and within 24 hours the video was uploaded to our site. We apologize for this error, but things like this are common when you launch a new service as large as this is. We have 250 videos on our OnDemand channel and I think this was the only one we missed. It just takes a while to workout some of the kinks like this.

We're trying to get the hardware that is defective on the server fixed late tonight (USA), but communication with data centers is only slightly better than smoke signals. This may fix the issues we're having or it may only be part of the problem. In the meantime were doing everything we can just to keep Cathe.com up and running. Hopefully, the Data Center will get things fixed tonight or tomorrow and we can then relax and will not have to worry about interrupting anyone's workout. Events like this are rare, but they happen to everyone in the online business at some point.
 

gypsymom

Cathlete
I guess we can agree to disagree on whether or not the notice was buried. If you feel that that is the best you can do communicating with your customers, then that is the best you can do. Good to know.

As far as "same day apologizing for the error" - No, there was no apology.

I pay for a service and if it is not possible to receive that service at the times I need it, then I might not keep it. I took the "you can access them (workouts) whenever you like" literally. It sounds like there will be more disruptions and assurance that the problems will be fixed is merely "hopeful".

I didn't realize that there would be "kinks" when I signed up for On Demand. I might have waited a month or two, but there was pressure to sign up right away to receive it at $20/month with Cathe Live.
 

Stebby

Cathlete
If I were gypsymom, I would be pretty frustrated with this response. Gypsymom brought up some valid points and even suggested how she would have preferred to see this situation handled (i.e. an e-mail to all subscribing customers). She was not looking for an explanation (or what sounded to me more like a defense). SNM, making your customers feel valued and listening to their feedback goes a long way. Explanations are helpful but they need to be in the context of customer service. Maybe you could consider giving something back to your On Demand customers to make up for this and other glitches - perhaps an extension on the lower price, or extra subscription time, or something. Keeping existing customers happy, and showing potential customers how well you are treating existing customers, is just good business.

I am not an On Demand customer ... reading about situations like this makes me less likely to sign up.

Stebby
 

SNM Videos

Administrator
Our

Hi Stebby,

I think we show our commitment to all of our customers by providing free forums where we answer questions even on weekends and by providing at no charge products like the Workout Manager and having Road Trips even when it is not economical to do so. We show our commitment to the customer by publishing a free Newsletter and Blog every week which now has over 1300 articles in it. Many companies charge for these things, but we don't. Cathe shows her commitment to our customers by taking time to personally greet nearly everyone that comes to Glassboro to take her class live and has answered more online questions than anyone in our industry. Lastly, We show our commitment to our customers by spending more time than anyone in our business working each week to bring everyone the best workouts and new and innovative ways of enjoying them.

As for the problem last night we did give everyone advance notice that the server would be down for maintenance, but this was only for a short period of time. Unknown at the time was there was a hardware problem with the server and this has caused the server to act erratically at times and is the main reason a few people couldn't log in to our server. This will hopefully be addressed tonight.

Yes, we could have sent an email, but that doesn't make a lot of sense to us when the work was being done late at night and only a very few people should have been effected. Emails like this are only opened by a very few people anyway, less than 5% from past experience, and it just doesn't make sense to send an email to everyone on our list when only a few people would have had an issue. This is why we posted in the forums instead.

Unfortunately, there will be times when our site is down and customers will not be able to access our site or our videos. This will not happen a lot, but it will happen and should be expected to happen occasionally. This is also true of your internet provider, phone company, utility company and cable company. When something goes wrong we get right on it even on holidays and weekends.

You also have to remember we are a customer of the server company that maintains the Cathe.com server. Though we're not happy when the server goes down we also realize that these things happen and we don't expect compensation from them or even from Verizon when our phone and internet service go down and that happens a lot!. We just expect and hope they will fix the situation as soon as possible.

Since we're doing live broadcasts there are also going to be times when things go wrong and the broadcast has to be cancelled. All of these things will happen occasionally, but for the most part things will work 99% of the time. If a person expects 100% up-time it's just not going to happen. We will do our best to improve things like we always do, but there will always be some issues and misfires.
 

Stebby

Cathlete
You did it again. More explanations that sound like defensiveness. I get what happened, but I'm no closer to signing up for the service!

Stebby
 

Poffhager

Cathlete
My God, the service just started last what, Thursday? And it's supposed to be perfect? Maybe someone needs a little meditation to deal with their need for instant gratification.
 

gypsymom

Cathlete
If you're referring to my posts, then, no, the On Demand started a few weeks ago. Cathe Live started last Thursday. And, we were warned that there might be glitches with that, which I appreciated.

I am only saying that if I can't do the workouts that I plan to do, then I will probably cancel my On Demand subscription. Two times this week I wasn't able to access the workouts I wanted and substantial time was wasted trying to get get to them. Obviously, SNM doesn't mind inconveniencing a few people. That's their option. If it happens one or two more times, I will bag it. That's my option. It's not going to make or break them, I'm sure.
 

SNM Videos

Administrator
Server Issues

I understand your frustration, but it's not accurate to say that our company " doesn't mind inconveniencing a few people" - Nothing could be further from the truth.

Nobody works harder than we do to keep our site up to date and working. But things happen and break on any and every server. We've worked our tails off the last few days just trying to keep the Cathe.com server up and running while we isolated the problem with the server. Last night the bad BBU was replaced by the data center and hopefully this will resolve the issues we were having. We still have to do some testing to make sure of this.

Though we think replacing the BBU fixed the problem we were having, it will not be the last time something goes wrong... but this also true of every site on the internet. But when things do go wrong we always do everything we can no matter what day of the week or time of day to get the issue resolved as quickly as we can and with as little impact on our customers as possible.
 

ReneePruitt

Cathlete
Okay I have always known that when a new program starts there will be glitches or problems that will need to be ironed out. I understand being upset but my goodness I feel as if I'm hearing a big cry baby!!
Get over it already!! As they said it was the server! It isn't there fault and what are they suppose to say? Of course they are explaining! What do you want? I understand customer service and customers always right blah blah but that is enough already! How old are you? If it was not something they can control they have to explain, listen to reason... Let's reason together. Common sense for the love of The Lord already!!
I don't see what you want them to do, give you back your money for the whole month because you missed one or two workouts?
I understood the complaints but to keep going in and on after they explained and then the other lady jump in and complain and still say see there you go again still explaining!! Well geez I'm list what else can they do? The other poster is right , instant gratification isn't always possible. Geez think about how you are acting.
 

gypsymom

Cathlete
I understand your frustration, but it's not accurate to say that our company " doesn't mind inconveniencing a few people" - Nothing could be further from the truth.

Nobody works harder than we do to keep our site up to date and working. But things happen and break on any and every server. We've worked our tails off the last few days just trying to keep the Cathe.com server up and running while we isolated the problem with the server. Last night the bad BBU was replaced by the data center and hopefully this will resolve the issues we were having. We still have to do some testing to make sure of this.

Though we think replacing the BBU fixed the problem we were having, it will not be the last time something goes wrong... but this also true of every site on the internet. But when things do go wrong we always do everything we can no matter what day of the week or time of day to get the issue resolved as quickly as we can and with as little impact on our customers as possible.
It's really not that big of a deal. I am just gathering information at this point. And, I am glad I have received so much input about everything. It has clarified quite a bit for me. . . and makes me a little nervous.

It appears that the maintenance will be done during a time when I need the workouts. I didn't really mean inconveniencing a few people and that was a little harsher than what I actually meant. If you have to inconvenience someone than it has to be done at weirdo times. Unfortunately, I workout at weirdo times, I enjoy making rotations and sticking to them, and REALLY enjoy the ease of working out at home.

Because it is off-point, I haven't mentioned all the other issues with my computer with streaming the videos - pop-ups, anti-virus programs suddenly starting, Microsoft deciding dead lifts are a great time to reconfigure (don't turn off your computer!!).

So, now, with those things, the lack of being alerted when the site will be shut down unless I check the website forum every day as well as the ever looming possibility of it being shut down, and a few other things that have come up, I am still debating on keeping On Demand, which I would love to do. But, just putting in a dvd is starting to sound more appealing, simpler, and less aggravating at this point.

I appreciate all the information. It really helps.
 

SNM Videos

Administrator
Why You should be Thinking of Streaming?

Hi gypsymom,

I think something for everyone to realize is that success with streaming is really dependent on two main things: 1. Your DSL or cable modem download speed and 2. Your computer. If either of these are lacking streaming can be frustrating at times. We certainly understand and get this.

The server problem we have had for the last week is really an unusual event. Our up-time for the last year has been 100% and that's a lot better than most sites and a heck of a lot better than healthcare.gov :p

But if you want to know real frustration try doing live broadcast like we do. The equipment we have had to purchase for our broadcast is very expensive, yet only about 25% of the equipment we purchase actually works. This means we waste countless hours ordering, installing, trying to figure out what is wrong, returning and then re-ordering different or replacement equipment that is not defective. It's frustrating, but we never gave up and over the months. We conquered these setbacks and developed a streaming studio that does't currently have an equal in our industry. Just as we didn't give up we hope customers having streaming problems don't give up either. I'm sure we will have issues with some of our future broadcasts, but we will solve those issues too.

We've dealt with consumers for years with our downloads and we realize from our experience that some people are wiz kids and others barely understand how to use a computer. Some people have the latest computer and operating system while others have 12 year old computers still running Windows 98 and IE6. If everyone just had a 100 mbs DSL and a new Mac things would be so easy for us. :D

I know many people are reluctant to switch to streaming. We heard the same arguments and complaints back when we started switching from VHS to DVDs years ago. For years after we first started making DVDs consumers purchased both VHS and DVDs because many preferred VHS over DVDs. We expect this will now happen with switching to streaming too.

Just as people have issues with streaming today, customers used to have many more problems with the new DVD technology. Over time the problems with DVD became less and consumers started to enjoy the advantages of their DVDs like "Premixes" and the ability to instantly go to a chapter point. VHS then slowly faded away and DVDs became the new standard.

Now DVDs are starting to fade away as streaming starts to take over as the new delivery system. You have to understand DVDs are an industry that is in decline and is collapsing rapidly. Blockbuster is gone and Collage Video closed and was then sold. I can tell from the stress in our duplicators reps voice that they know their business will soon end too. Though I think fitness DVDs will be the last to go because they offer certain advantages, they too will end in a few years or less.

My point with all of this is you need to realize that everything is going to streaming and you're going to need to make a switch at some point. There will eventually be no choice. We're still making DVDs, but just like when we starting switching from VHS you need to start preparing for streaming. For people that don't have a fairly new computer or have a lousy DSL this may be frustrating at first, but you can find a solution if you put an effort into it and don't give up.

On our end things will also improve. Soon we will release Cathe Cloud#2 with an adaptive player that can also handle Chapters and Premixes. By the end of this year features on our streaming will surpass those offered on our DVDs. Streaming delivery will improve too. In our office we have FIOS with a download speed of 312 mbs. In a few years this will be considered slow. Those of you that have really slow DSL's will fairly soon see your speed increase too. Even rural areas will eventually get high speed internet thanks to new technology.

We're not trying to make people jump to streaming from DVDs yet, but you should at least start thinking about switching and start making plans. Just as we conquered lose DVDs in their cases, fluctuating audio, FF an RW issues and other problems with DVDs, we will eventually do the same with streaming. You just have to be patient and not give up when you encounter an issue.
 
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gypsymom

Cathlete
All good points and definitely sways me to stick with it (although a good chunk of that was gobbledygook for me :confused:, :D).
 

112toGuru

Cathlete
I think you should give them a chance, I don't have the service yet, mainly because i don't exercise where I can have access.

Even without visiting here that often I saw the notice.

I really admire Cathe & Co. for continuing to be an industry leader, providing quality content, far exceeding what you would expect.

I really like the idea of Cathe On Demand & the Live classes, and someday I might have the peripherals to take advantage of those offerings.

BTW - I watched the Live trailer, and it was really good.
 

CeciFifi

Cathlete
Gypsymom, when my workouts have glitches at 5 am I have a bit of a meltdown. I put a lot of time and effort into planning my fitness time and cherish it so, when things don't work out as planned and time is ticking away trying to figure things out, I feel so frustrated. I also losei motivation to workout. My dh gets the brunt of it cos he has to fix things when he would rather be sleeping. Maybe just keep in the back of your mind possible DVD alternatives when glitches occur. That way you will be more prepared and feel less frustrated. I've had a glitch or two myself. Learned its my computer and not cathe. We all love cathe. Try to give it more time. Her upcoming live class sounds ah-mazing!
 

gypsymom

Cathlete
Yay! Someone gets me! :D I did actually do that when I heard about the 2nd site shut down for yesterday/today. Part of the problem is I don't know the newer ones that I am trying like I know MIS. (I'm not whining - a brand new, shiny workout is a good thing!) I can recite MIS for you. So, I know I am suppose to be doing STS disc 4, but what the heck is on STS disc 4? And, I can't look it up on the site. I ended up doing an all upper body workout, which really threw off a lot of the future stuff that I had ever so carefully planned.

Overall, I ended up doing twice the workout this morning just to get back on track. See? Cathe gets ya in the end, anyway!
 

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