Internet Sites Knocked Out by Superstorm, Find Their Way Back Online
Sandy is wreaking damage on the New York media industry, and it's not just Broadway plays and film productions feeling the impact. The flooding of a major Internet Service Provider has pushed a number of sites, including Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and Gawker offline, and they're rushing to find workarounds.
Datagram, the ISP, whose servers host a number of New York media sites, was hit hard by the storm. The company posting on its site "we are continuing to battle flooding and fiber outages in downtown New York and Connecticut…. Generators are unable to pump fuel due to the flooding in the basements." This knocked HuffPo, BuzzFeed, Gawker, and others, offline, but all three have found work-arounds, to continue to get their stories out.
Gawker was down for hours, but recently started sending readers to a live blog, which automatically updates with new posts—all focused on updates about the storm.
Huffington Post is redirecting readers to a simple blogsmith site with a single stream of articles, all also about the storm. Arianna Huffington told me in an email that all the company's three data centers—including its primary Datagram center in New York City—and its backup in Newark - failed overnight due to Sandy. The company saying in a statement: "AOL networking teams have been working through the night to restore connectivity and we are monitoring the connections as the telco companies work to restore service."
UPDATE: The Huffington Post is now back on line.
When Buzzfeed could no longer publish to its site, it shifted its new articles to BuzzFeed's other social platforms: Tumblr, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. BuzzFeed's CEO Jonah Peretti telling me " BuzzFeed is so tightly integrated with social platforms that it was totally natural for them to adapt this way."
Despite the fact that fault for the outage lies with Datagram, Peretti isn't frustrated or placing blame, he explained what happened with its ISP. "Datagram is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis caused by massive flooding in the basement of their building and the electrical grid in downtown Manhattan. The pump that sense fuel to their generators is completely submerged so their backup infrastructure is unable to function. They are good people and are working very hard to deal with this once in a hundred years situation."
The New York Times was unable to distribute papers in Manhattan this morning because of the road, tunnel and bridge closures. But NewYorkTimes.com never went out, thanks to what the Times describes to me as "a lot of redundancy systems and backup servers." When the Times building went off the power grid last night it shifted over to its generator.
-By CNBC's Julia Boorstin
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