Mobile

Foursquare ousts Twitter as Mayor of Downtime

Update: Oct. 6 – 12:30 am (EST) Aaaand Foursquare is back! “And we’re back. Web, API, and apps are up and running.”

Update: 10:45 pm (EST) Foursquare’s new “Status” blog is now down for what the site calls “maintenance

Update: 10:28 pm (EST) Latest from Foursquare, “Running on pizza and Red Bull. Another long night :/”

Update: 9:00 pm (EST) Foursquare is currently experiencing downtime, again, and is claiming it is has to do with yesterday’s problems, according to the newly launched Foursquare Status blog.

Popular location-based mobile service Foursquare is reporting that its service was down for about 11 hours yesterday, according to a recent blog post.

While the post is a bit to technical for my tastes, the company is obviously taking this seriously and looking to not only explain exactly what happened, but better its communication with consumers when problems occur.

To keep it simple, Foursquare basically had an issue with storing check-ins to what they call shards, a technical term for a portion of a distributed database. One of the shards became overloaded. When Foursquare tried to add another to balance out the problem, the site crashed—for a long time. Looking back, the downtime appears to be the longest in the company’s history.

To better communicate, the company will launch a new status blog at status.foursquare.com as well as post hourly on the @4sqsupport Twitter account, retweeted by the main @foursquare Twitter account. A more informative “error” page will also be used from now on that will share status updates.

Foursqaure isn’t the only one experiencing downtime lately. Facebook recently had its worst downtime in 4 years when the service was unavailable for 2.5 hours. Also, Twitter had a bit of downtime, which happened to correspond with its announcement that COO Dick Costolo would be replacing Evan William as CEO, according to TechCrunch.


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile app analytics. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.