Imagine one morning, you go to your computer, fire up Google and it’s down? Taken down by a notorious underground hacker! What would you do? Follow me as we take a trip into the twilight zone!
It was a cold January morning, my alarm invaded my dream as if it was a part of it, until I realised that it wasn’t going to stop. I slowly opened my eyes and slapped the buzzing demon off the bed side table “Whack!!” … in an attempt to silence the clock faced ticking machine who just stole my dream. “Julian!”shouted the missus, “Keep it down I’m trying to sleep for goodness sake”.
I looked at her thinking how come she doesn’t have to wake up, forgetting school wasnt open yet and she didnt have to go into work…“Teachers..” I thought, far too many holidays..
The bedroom was still dark as sunrise was an hour away. My office is adjoining and I slowly walked in and switched on my silver Ikea desk lamp…my eyes sooo weren’t ready for daylight yet. Sat down as my peep holes began to adjust to the light and slapped my Toshiba laptop 1keyboard a few times to bring it out of standby.
Ive done it so many times, still half asleep, entered my password and hit enter. Firefox was the first thing I saw welcoming me back to the Matrix. With 15 tabs across the top of the browser I sat and pondered for a minute why I wasn’t yet rich and retired, remembered I was 32 and probably had another 20 more years of this and snapped out of it.
Google was my homepage, but Firefox gave me an error message – “Cannot blah blah blah Connect blah blah blah”. Checked the rest of the webpages I had loaded in the other tabs – they all worked just fine. “Blinking Mozilla” I thought, “..Thats what happens when you allow the world to write plug-ins for you!…”. I then called up trusty Internet Explorer to conjure up my favourite search engine and homepage“Click Click”. Then with more question marks than the Riddlers costume, sat back as Internet Explorer proceeded to tell me “.. blah blah .. Youre page could not be displayed.blah blah?”
What in the world?!
Was Google DOWN?? Did their million dollar server farm crash? Did they forget to pay the electric bill? Did someone in the Google-plex trip over the power cord??!!
So I hit dial on my Binatone desk phone, heard the tone and pressed speed dial 4 and called up my business partner, well, I woke him up. “John, err can you go to Google for a second mate I need you to check something?” Expecting him to say “Ok its up, now what” He said he couldnt connect.I told him Id call him back.
Forgetting what it was like not to have Google, I remembered Yahoo! – “Ah yes!” Connected straight away entered the letters G-o-o-g-l-e carefully into their Web 2.0-ish search box and hit enter.
The Yahoo! News search result came up at the top with the headline – “GOOGLE HACKED! – Notorious underground hacker Neo takes down the worlds biggest search engine..blah blah blah”
I couldnt believe what I was reading, clicked onto the link and continued to read (much to the delight of Yahoo! no doubt) that Google, yes Google, had been brought to its knees by a computer hacker!!! Google was hit hard; the article claimed “A spokesperson for Google announced that the site would be down indefinitely and their disaster recovery fail over was also badly hit by the hack”
Indefinitely I read, surely not, I mean, no, this is Google, not one of my clients sites?.CRUMBS! My clients!“RINNGGG!! RINNNGGG!!” – looked over at the caller ID on my mobile. Great! It was Mike a long time client whose no.1 ranking in Google and resulting traffic / customers currently pays his bills.
Mike: “Julian! Its Mike”
Me: “Hi Mike, what can I do for you” hoping he hadnt noticed
Mike: “I cant find my site mate”
Me: “What you mean www”
Mike: “No! I cant find it on Google! I mean I cant get onto Google! I mean, oh fiddle sticks!
Me: “Mike, calm down mate?”
I proceeded to explain to Mike what had happened and he went silent on the phone. After an uncomfortable 10 seconds of us both thinking about the consequences and me trying to think of a solution he asked “What do I do now?” “Mike, let me call you back mate is that ok?”.
You see, we have a number of clients on Googles front page, and they’ve been enjoying the customers, sales, enquiries, leads and business that comes along with the visibility. Little did we know THIS was going to happen?
I clicked on Outlook, went to my contacts and pulled up my clients folder. My missus walked passed the office door “Morning hun”, “Yeah morning” I replied as my mind raced, thinking about what to tell my clients.
So I started dialling.
The first three reacted as Mike did understandably, and I promised to call them back later on with some advice. The fourth client Larry and Joanne, had a site which they loved, I mean it was their passion; they spent day and night for the last 6 months or so tinkering with a bit of this and a bit of that. I thought to myself, this is gonna be hard.
Me: “Hi Larry”
Larry: “Hi Jules whats cooking”
Me: “Oh you know me, keeping busy” I said nervously “I wanted to let you know that theres a problem with Google, its errm, well its been hacked so youre probably going to be see a big drop in visitors to your site, sorry mate..”
Larry: “?? We had two orders this morning; Joanne is on the phone with a customer now.”
Me: “Oh” I said in a confusing tone
Larry: “I heard about Google, it just came on the news”
Me: “Ah ok, you dont seem to be panicking?”
Larry: “Well remember when we first met, you joked about what would you do if Google wasnt around and that we should sideline a non-Google strategy which your colleague put together for us”
Me: “Yes, I remember now, John did mention it to me I had completely forgotten he prepared that for you”
Larry: “Yeah, he put together a 20 point programme which included things like RSS, Blogs, Niche Forums, Technorati, Community sites, Articles, Social book marking, EBay and a good few other ideas targeted to what were doing which we went away and worked on.”
Me: “Right” I said with relief “So youve been driving traffic outside of the search engines and so havent been affected?”
Larry: “Exactly” he said with a thank God tone; I heard Joanne taking down a delivery address in the background.
Larry: “John told us that he and your other partner Lawrence had been putting proposals together to some of your other clients but they werent interested! I bet theyre interested now eh?!”
Me: “Yeah I bet they are”
As I sat back and rolled into my chair the words monopoly rely on and Google came to mind then the two words bad idea.
With most things in business, risk management, diversification and contingency need to be a real part of what we all do, be it, property, stocks or websites.
“Babe!” my missus shouted from the living room
“Yes hun” I replied
“Googles on the news..” she said
“I know hun, I know.”