Online Surveys = Ongoing Insights

Data Center Upgrade Saturday 27 AUGUST 2011

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Data Center Upgrade Saturday 27 AUGUST 2011
Monkeys-At-Work

We’re upgrading our data center to create a better survey tool for you. This slight disruption in service will take place on Saturday 27 August 2011 at 2PM PT and will last for approximately 4-8 hours. During this time, the site and surveys will not be available. We’re sorry for this inconvenience, but rest assured, your data and surveys are safe and you’ll be able to access them on Sunday, 28 August 2011 with no problems.

If you are planning on deploying a survey this week, we recommend that you send it out BEFORE the end of day Wednesday 24 August 2011. Or, wait until Monday 29 August to deploy your survey.

With this data center and hardware upgrade, we’ll be able to provide you with:

  • Greater data processing capacity
  • Faster web page response
  • Expanded backup systems to keep data safe and ensure website availability
  • Overall performance improvement to our already great SurveyMonkey service

Pretty exciting stuff! Soon, our ingenious monkeys will have completed the data center upgrade and you’ll be able enjoy snappier website performance and enhanced stability. Survey taking and making sure is fun!

Again, we do apologize for the inconvenience. For customers that have deployed surveys, visitors to your survey will be getting the following message:

[NOTE Updated on 8/24:]
Your link is NOT BROKEN. You’ve come to the right place to take the survey.

However, we are in the process of upgrading our datacenter, so the survey isn’t available right now. Please come back in a few hours. You can use the same link that you just clicked on to answer the questions.

Do you want to know the instant the upgrade is complete and your survey is available? Follow us on Twitter. We’ll tweet out the moment we are done.

To get more information about the datacenter upgrade, click here (blog link). Thanks for your patience, and for participating in the survey!

[NOTE Added on 8/23: For customers on our PLATINUM planning using research.net, the messaging will not include SurveyMonkey branding.]

So you don’t have to worry about re-sending your survey, since respondents will know to come on back.

If you want to know the instant the upgrade is complete and your survey is available, follow us on Twitter. We’ll tweet out the moment our monkeys are done.

Remember, the data center move is on Saturday 27 AUGUST 2011. Plan to enjoy the day away from your computer. Perhaps a trip to the zoo? You could visit the primate habitat while your SurveyMonkey team is busy at work.

Thank you for being a great customer. If you have any further questions, please email support@surveymonkey.com.

[NOTE Added on 8/23: We’ve gotten a lot of questions on timing and why did we choose Saturday afternoon. Well, we looked at the data, and Saturday afternoon PT is the slowest point during the week. It’s the wee hours of the night in Europe, and Sunday in Asia. And, here in the U.S. we see a low response volume on Saturday. We’re trying to limit the impact as much as possible.]

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  • james gambrell

    why did you not give more than 5 days notices? This is right during the period that I had planned to commence. Surely you have known for weeks this was being planned? So now, I have to wait several days since you know people will be put off to seeing “Monkeys at Work” and my response rate will drop. Bad Monkeys!

    • James – We apologize for the trouble. A week notice will hopefully give you enough time to adjust your plans. No downtime is ideal, but this short term pain will allow for long term improvements.

  • Jill Davis

    Thanks for the warning, but our customers won’t be aware that the survey site is hosted by surveymonkey as we use our own URL to direct to it, so they might not appreciate the monkey talk. Can you make it a bit more corporate (sorry, I do love the monkeys really), or will branding make it clear exactly why you’re talking about monkeys?!

    Good luck with the upgrade!

    • Jill – FYI if you are using your own research.net url (SurveyMonkey Platinum), you will see the following straight forward message:

      We’re currently upgrading our web site.
      Your link is NOT BROKEN. You’ve come to the right place to take the survey. However, we are in the process of upgrading our datacenter, so the survey isn’t available right now. Please come back in a few hours. You can use the same link that you just clicked on to answer the questions.
      Thanks for your patience, and for participating in the survey!

      For all the other accounts, where SurveyMonkey branding is standard, the SurveyMonkey website header (like the top of our home page) will be appearing.

      Thanks for the well wishes! We’re confident things will go smoothly.

  • Pam Douglas

    Why not update your site in the middle of the night? It may be inconvenient for your company; however, I selected SurveyMonkey because I thought that it operated on “not real time”. I am working on my doctoral dissertation and part of my methodology is to send out a reminder messagge one week after the initial survey went out…that day happens to be Saturday. I will now have to change my methodology, which is based on empirical data.

    • Sorry for the inconvenience, Pam. This is truly an anomaly. We usually don’t have site outages or downtime. However, we want to upgrade the datacenter to improve performance and add new features in the future. Hopefully, your dissertation won’t be disrupted too much.

  • Well thanks for the notice , great communication.

    • thanks Simon. Enjoy the day away from your computer this weekend!

  • CK Kendell

    We have surveys underway before this maintenance announcement. .

    Don’t try to be cutesy. It only makes the situation look amateurish, which is not the message we want for our clients.

    We prefer a more professional, succinct message for survey respondents

    • Please note that for our Platinum accounts, which are the accounts that allow for control over branding, you will see the following message:

      We’re currently upgrading our web site.
      Your link is NOT BROKEN. You’ve come to the right place to take the survey. However, we are in the process of upgrading our datacenter, so the survey isn’t available right now. Please come back in a few hours. You can use the same link that you just clicked on to answer the questions.
      Thanks for your patience, and for participating in the survey!

  • Jerry Gioglio

    thanks for the heads up….consider giving us a way to easily email these alerts to our colleagues.
    GRG

  • karen

    The survey will not be available to responders if we already launched it on Saturday? What time? I need to let my client know.

    • Hi Karen – if you’ve already launched your survey, your survey is fine. It will continue to collect responses until 5PM Eastern Time/2PM Pacific Time Saturday 27 August. At that time, the survey will not be available to you or respondents for what could be less than 20 minutes. To be safe, we recommend you plan for a 4-8hr window (just to make sure everything is up and running. And, that gives us some time to address any of your specific needs). Contact support (support@surveymonkey.com) on Sunday morning if you’re seeing something strange with your survey after the move. We’ll quickly get back to you. We plan on having extra staff available to help address any concerns.

  • karen

    Clarification….I already launched the survey…it is midway through completion.

  • Program Manager

    Unfortunately, this is really bad timing for us for multiple reasons. Please provide SurveyMonkey clients with a click through count so we’ll know how many people tried to respond and were unable to do so. Smart monkeys love caffeine! Couldn’t the upgrade be done in the wee hours? Thank you for the notice and for the opportunity to comment.

    • We just updated the post to explain the timing. It will be Saturday, 5PM ET when the datacenter is moved. We see very low traffic at that time. While it’s not the wee hours, it does give the team breathing room to get ready for the following Monday. And, thanks for the comment about the click count. Unfortunately, we can’t provide you with a count. It’s a good idea and we’ll keep it in mind for the future.

  • “…you’ll be able to access them on Sunday, 27 August 2011 with no problems.” That should be 28.

    • Thanks Kevin! We updated the date. Appreciate it.

  • Matt

    Thanks for the heads up. I appreciate you guys putting in a message about the outage and that the respondents need not to worry. May I say to some of the other comments, that this isn’t that bad and just be glad you got a heads up and I’m sure everyone can spare 4-8 hours, pretty confident the world won’t explode.

  • Willl

    I hope that future planned outages will get more than 5 days warning – both as a service to your customers and as an indication that you plan internally for these events on a longer timescale. (We have a survey running, that started before your notice and is closing after the maintenance).

    Second, if you are confident of an 8 hour maximum, it would be better have the notice on your site while down that reflects this, rather than ‘please come back in a few hours’ which opens up the possibility of someone trying and failing to get on the site more than once.

    (Our respondents are not all net natives or Twitter users either)

  • Tiago Claus

    Bennett, will the message (Your link is NOT BROKEN) be available at other languages?

    In my case, portuguese.

    Thanks.

    • Yes. Thanks for asking Tiago! The messaging will be available in Portuguese day-of. In addition to English, the message will appear in the following languages:
      1. Spanish
      2. German
      3. French
      4. Portuguese
      5. Japanese
      6. Italian
      7. Chinese
      8. Korean

    • I every time emailed this website post page to all my friends, because
      if like to read it after that my friends will too.

      • Kayte K

        Thanks so much, glad to hear! You can also sign up with our RSS feed (upper right hand top of page) if you’d like to get email notifications of new posts we publish. Have a great weekend.

    • My brother recommended I might like this web site.
      He was entirely right. This post actually made my
      day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  • beth

    Can it not say “really smart monkeys” for those taking the survey who don’t get the injoke? Thanks.

  • Marcella

    I suggest you make the announcement a little more eye-catching so that it is more noticeable. I almost missed it! Thx

    • That’s about as good as we can do. Because we usually never make the site unavailable, we don’t have an easy way to broadcast the message – or even make the box a different color. The team looked into it. Sorry for the inconvenience. And, I’m glad you saw the announcement.

  • DESP

    Avec cette mise à jour, le collecteur va t il pouvoir contenir plus de 10 000 individus ?

    Merci

    • Avec cette mise à jour, le collecteur aura toujours un maximum de 10 000 destinataires afin de limiter le spam. Nous envisagerons d’augmenter ce seuil dans le courant de l’année.

  • Pat w

    Thanks Monkey Survey. You sight is great and always available. I have never doubted data will lost or my survey getting messy. Keep up the good work.

  • Darlene C

    I would really like the announcement to not reference “the monkies”. I have several ongoing surveys and I doubt anyone will get the inside joke. In fact, without understanding the context, some may be offended.

    I understand wanting to brand the message, but if you just reference that the surveys are powered by Survey Monkey along with your message…that will suffice.

    Please give serious consideration to this request, as I cannot suspend my surveys during this time.

    • Please note that for our Platinum accounts, which are the accounts that allow for control over branding, you will see the following standard message:

      We’re currently upgrading our web site.
      Your link is NOT BROKEN. You’ve come to the right place to take the survey. However, we are in the process of upgrading our datacenter, so the survey isn’t available right now. Please come back in a few hours. You can use the same link that you just clicked on to answer the questions.
      Thanks for your patience, and for participating in the survey!

  • CArl

    we don’t have an easy way to broadcast the message ……

    Yes you do, it’s called EMAIL to your CUSTOMERS.

  • Natasha A

    Perhaps sending registered users a short email notifying them of the downtime might help get the message across. I nearly missed the notification too.

    • Looking into that now. Thanks Natasha!

  • Dennis

    I agree with the above comment about the size of the announcement. A few other items that might help;

    1) Send out a membership email with more notice time?
    2) Take the system off line on a late Sunday evening, when people are less likley to be online.
    3) Offer a temporary upgrade for this disruption in service as businesses depend on this service. We’re paying customers?!

    Better yet, maybe we should just go to another site similar to Survey Monkey?

    • Dennis – Sorry for the inconvenience. You are a paying customer and we truly appreciate the investment you’ve made in us. To provide a better service, we are investing in this new datacenter. A week notice, for what could be less than a 20 minute downtime, is pretty standard. It will be Saturday, 5PM ET when the datacenter is moved. We looked at the traffic patterns and see very low traffic at that time. While it’s not Sunday evening in the US, it is the late hours for the rest of the world. And, it does give the team breathing room to get ready for the following Monday, which is the day that we really need to be ready for. Please bear with us and thanks for the suggestions.

  • Darlene C

    I now feel like this is an attempt to encourage/force an upgrade to Platinum. I hope I am mistaken. As a paying Gold Member who has had an account for many years, I am not averse to branding the response. That’s comes with the plan that I have – which is all I need; particularly for “just 20 MINUTES”. However, the cutesy reference to “smart monkies” is silly and again – borders on insulting – when out of context. Please consider a slight tweak; something like:

    “Your link is NOT BROKEN. You’ve come to the right place to take the survey.

    However, our suvey, which is powered by the folks at Survey Monkey who are in the process of upgrading their datacenter…so the survey isn’t available right now. Please come back in a few hours. You can use the same link that you just clicked on to answer the questions.

    Do you want to know the instant the upgrade is complete and your survey is available? Follow us on Twitter. We’ll tweet out the moment the smart monkeys at Survey Monkey are done.

    To get more information about the data center upgrade, click here. Thanks for your patience, and for participating in the survey!”

    Considering you are a company that creates a platform for your customers to hear their customers…I am getting the impression you are not listening to yours.

  • LG

    For those on the older plans (specifically, the unlimited plan), will the messaging include Survey Monkey branding?

  • Betty

    Wow…..really people…why so hostile??? I am surprised at the amount of people so worked up over this outage. Companies do upgrades all of the time. Do you all really exprect that Survey Monkey can accomadate all of our schedules and requests and work around them? Sounds like they have researched the times that they system is most likely to have the least amount of traffic and trying to have the least amount of disruption for the people all across the world that they support. Thanks Survey Monkey for a great site and I look forward to the upgrade!!!

  • chapman H.

    I agree with Darlene C.. We use the service in a fairly conservative business environment and love what we can do with it. However, I’ve heard a few comments from managers that ‘Survey Monkey’ wasn’t the best choice (based on branding), and references to “really smart monkeys” wouldn’t help your case internally.

    That being said, I have defended your service as easy to use, straight to the point and cost effective. We use, and do appreciate, the ‘surveymk.com’ option.

    While I personally enjoy the silliness, I agree that for those users who employ the tool in a business environment, the playful text will be seen as ‘off-putting’.

  • Laurie

    Please, please, remove the reference to Smart Monkeys and replace with something more professional. It might be offensive to some of our clients.

    • Hi Laurie – We hear you and have decided to use a tweaked version of the Platinum messaging. It will be as follows:

      Your link is NOT BROKEN. You’ve come to the right place to take the survey.

      However, we are in the process of upgrading our datacenter, so the survey isn’t available right now. Please come back in a few hours. You can use the same link that you just clicked on to answer the questions.

      Do you want to know the instant the upgrade is complete and your survey is available? Follow us on Twitter. We’ll tweet out the moment we are done.

      To get more information about the datacenter upgrade, click here (blog link). Thanks for your patience, and for participating in the survey!

  • Bill

    Is the 8 hour period a guaranteed maximum?

    We have a survey running through the outage period which started before the maintenance notice. We are planning to email a follow-up which will also to let our respondents know what to expect.

    I’d like to tell them a definite time that prevents them trying again ‘in a few hours’ and perhaps finding the survey is not yet available.

    I appreciate you want a window that gives you a safety margin, but as you suggest above that it could be less than 20 min, I’m hoping that you can confirm a maximum outage time.

    We want to give them clarity even if it means telling them the maximum time.

    .

    I suggested that the message to survey users who attempt to respond to a survey be more precises than ‘come back in a few hours’ as that could have our users

  • Darlene C

    Thank you!

  • Sandy

    wow, I can’t believe the comments! I am sure that we all understand that all systems need the occasional upgrade!! I have been with surveymonkey for years with no disruptions and no issues…
    I would much prefer a planned upgrade than a crash!!
    thanks

  • Mike

    Thank you for modifying the message so it does not reference “monkeys”!

  • i´m sorry but the message is not according to the tone of voice of waytostay.
    I think it is ridiculous that you cannot manage an upgrade without disturbing day to day operations.

    please do something about this,

    Next time i would also like to be advised by email with the proper notice and not find out about it after i send the survey, yesterday evening….

    about the people that think we are being to strict,
    “all progress comes from the unreasonable….” and a complaint is a gift

  • Brendan

    Will this message go out in the appropriate languages? My survey is in Japanese and for Japanese speakers. Many will not understand this error message if they read it in English. Will it detect where they are coming from and respond in the appropriate language? Thanks.

    Btw, it is not feasible for me to write to everyone and tell them to not go to the site during the hours it is down, otherwise I would do so.

    Thanks again.

    • Hi Brendan – The messaging will be available in English and the following languages:
      1. Spanish
      2. German
      3. French
      4. Portuguese
      5. Japanese
      6. Italian
      7. Chinese
      8. Korean

  • Brendan

    I am a bit confused by conflicting statements here: first, that the outage will start at 5pm in the blog post by P Bennett, whereas the announcement says 2pm. Second, that the outage will be 20 mins, when the announcement says 4 to 8 hours approximately. I can understand the need for brief maintenance now and again, but care to clarify which of these statements are correct? thanks!

    • The datacenter move will start @ 2PM PT/5PM ET – hope that explains the time. To be completely transparent, we wanted to let ppl on the blog know that the move could take less than 20min. But, we can’t predict how long it will take exactly. To err on the side of caution, we are recommending that you plan a 4-8 hour timeframe. This is to make sure everything goes smoothly and to give the team time to tackle any challenges that might arise.

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