YouTube Outage - Consumerisation Risks Come Real

Those businesses who found a free/cheap consumer tool in YouTube on which to host their online video content will be feeling slightly less smug today in the wake of the outage attributed to Pakistan’s blocking of the site and the subsequent ISP related mess. Read more about this news from the BBC here.

The issue of consumerisation (i.e. the increased influence of consumer products such as file sharing, web mail, social networking etc) of the business environment is something I’ve talked about before on this blog . Most principally we are starting to rely on tools that offer few, if any guarantees of service and availability, and are likely to end up hosting content that’s likely to be considered offensive by some to the extent that the whole service may be put at risk – as has happened with YouTube.

Personally, I enjoy using YouTube at home. There’s some great content – especially if, like me, you’re a fan of old, cheesy, 1980’s rock music! But there’s also a lot of content that I wouldn’t want my children to see, or for me to associated with from a professional perspective.

If you are a business looking to host content, and that content has some value, and it’s worth doing well, then you need to be opening a wallet somewhere and spending money on a professional solution. If you can’t justify the budget then why are you doing it? Making use of free, consumer tools to run your business is all fair enough but don’t for a minute believe that you have any protection when the lights go out.

A BBC blogger, Rory Cellan-Jones, makes some good points here.

The internet is an open self-correcting mechanism which runs on trust – if someone announces a new route to YouTube, others will take it as read that they are acting in good faith.

The question is, was this a case of deliberate sabotage? I’m not going to speculate on that – plenty of others are doing so elsewhere. I will make the point that this isn’t the first major outage of the service (for instance read here) and I doubt that it will be the last.