Cruising the Information Superhighway

If Goes Offline and Hundreds of Thousands of People Can’t Hook Up, Does It Make a Sound?

PlanetOut’s spent untold sums of cash revamping its infrastructure in the past few months, which was most visibly seen with the relaunch of its chat program — easily the most used feature on the site.

Except ever since the gay hub debuted the new version of its site at the beginning of the month, has been plagued by downtime. By our rough science, it’s been offline more than it’s been online. Quite embarrassing for a company that’s already had its fiscal misadventures widely reported (Queerty included), but we imagine few of you care how this affects the accounting books than it does your online cruising.

So, you tell us: How has going offline hit you? Fewer hookups? Are you just signing up for instead? Or are you suddenly abstinent? Hitting the bars more? Or banking on monogamy?

Queerty will have more on the problems festering at — but first, we want to know if it’s really affecting you, or if Facebook already supplanted the site.

(And yes, we’re prepared for any number of you saying how irrelevant is, because it’s just a place to hunt for sex, and why should you care. But that’s idiot logic, because plenty of fags use the site quite often. Sometimes daily.)

And below,’s open apology letter to members.

Since the launch of the new, the site‘s performance has been up and down. For those of you who have experienced the site during an outage or when it is slow, we want to apologize. We know that you expect more from us. Many of you have let us know that directly, and you are right. We are listening.

Not only are we listening, but we are literally working around the clock to give you the experience you expect from Site speed and performance are rapidly improving each day. Still, we are not yet where we need to be.

So what can you expect in the days ahead in terms of on-going improvements and our communication to you about them?

We are adjusting our hardware configurations and software code to further speed processes. Despite extensive pre-launch testing, a site of the scale and complexity of is virtually impossible to emulate in a test lab. Additionally, we have seen new usage patterns from the site that we could not model and are adjusting our hardware and code to streamline and improve performance. With the addition of more servers earlier in the week, we have seen positive results in overall site speed. We continue to monitor site performance and may add additional capacity as necessary.
We continue to identify and fix the bugs that have resulted in unplanned system outages.
We are committed to customer service and getting everyone on the site. We have received a tremendous number of phone calls and emails with your questions and suggestions. We are working to meet your needs as fast as we can. We also know that many people still cannot get into chat for technical reasons. Should you need help immediately, we keep an up-to-date Known Issues link on our blog at
We promise to be as open as possible in our communication to you. We know these changes (both the relaunch itself and the follow-on outages) can be confusing and frustrating. We will do our best to let you know what is happening, and when and how it may affect you as a user of the site. Given the changes that we need to make, we know that we will need to have a few more planned outages. We will do everything possible to give everyone adequate advance warning of these outages. Whenever possible, planned outages will be conducted in off-peak hours.
Many of you have called upon us to revert back to the “old” site. While the launch of the new site has had its own early challenges, we strongly believe that the new site will be more stable, more flexible and more capable of rapidly meeting your needs, especially when we have worked these last kinks out.

To that end, the feedback we are getting about our new features is valued and appreciated. Yes, there are things that we still need to do (i.e., restoring the ignore and /me features in group chat), but we also have received a lot of positive feedback on many of the changes. Please keep it coming. We really are listening.

We hope this letter helps you better understand what has been happening since the launch. Our first priority throughout this time has been to get all of you on the site and having a great time. We know that we have work to do to get there.

We appreciate your continued patience and support and will do our best to promise you are not disappointed.

The management team of PlanetOut

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