Telecom’s launch of the Yahoo!Xtra Bubble service got the public’s attention for all the wrong reasons after last weekend's outages which saw thousands of customers cut off from email service, flooded with spam and unable to get through to Xtra’s helpline.
The problem turned out to stem from the registration process, which went down when the company upgraded from the Xtra to the Yahoo system, says Kevin Kenrick, Telecom’s consumer chief operating officer, at a launch function today. Once it was established what the problem was, an expert had to be flown in from Australia to fix it on Tuesday. The expert fixed the problem in a couple of hours.
“Our focus now is getting customers registered,” says Kenrick. “We can do 12 registrations per second at best. But we still have a backlog to go through.”
Telecom apologised for the issues yesterday. Affected customers will be compensated, says Kenrick, once the company has worked out what would be a fair and reasonable way to do so.
Kenrick says it is “frustrating” to have started the service this way.
The new service offers customers a personalised, Web 2.0-influenced webpage. The page features drag and drop functionality, customisable background images and personalised news and RSS feeds. Customers can bring their Yahoo and Xtra mail, or other email, such as Gmail, onto the page. All email is displayed on one page, and when users mouse over an email a little blurb of the content pops up.
“I used to be a web surfer. Now I am a web sitter,” said Darryl Gatward, technical training specialist at Telecom. “All the information I want finds me.”
The Bubble service is integrated with Flickr Pro for photo sharing. In addition, every customer gets a gigabyte of online storage.