Zoho down, Zoho up

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POSTED: September 24, 2018

Today The Register reported that Zoho’s entire system had gone offline for several hours because the registrar that they use had suspended their account.

“Our Zoho.com domain is blocked and Tierra our domain registrar is not responding,” the tweet read. “Can someone help us reach their senior executive team?” it asked with a picture listing Tierra’s senior executives.
An hour later, Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu was still scrambling: “We are working hard to identify why the domain was taken down by the registrar in the first place. Once we do that, we will take alternative steps so this never happens. We apologize sincerely but this issue is well beyond our control and our domain was taken down with no notice!”

Interestingly Vembu took personal charge of Zoho’s Twitter account and dealt with complaints and cries for help himself. He wrote a lengthy blog post in which he ends by saying

You have my assurance that nothing like this will ever happen again. We will not let our fate be determined by automated algorithms of others. We will be a domain registrar ourselves.
I thank you for your support and I will be here until you do not need me anymore.
Sridhar Vembu

However, the most interesting information in The Register’s article, for me at least, lay buried in a paragraph later in the article, which described Zoho as

a software-as-a-service company with 5,000 staff, roughly 40 million users globally, and an estimated $400m-plus in annual revenues.

They have succeeded in their mission then: to create a large and viable business without falling into the trap of assuming they have to defeat any of the incumbents to do it. I learned about this goal when I visited them in Chennai more than ten years ago.

They had a very unusual working environment, especially for an Indian company, and I left hoping that they would prosper.

Apparently they did!