Yammer goes down, companies all over go silent

Back in the heady, sunlit uplands of Summer 2007 we used to complain when Twitter went down, so useful had it become. Even Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis once decided Twitter was so crucial to his business that he would pay $100 a year for a premium account. Well, as we all now know, a few people cottoned on to that idea, and so Yammer was born to bring the usefulness of Twitter to internal company communications. It even won the TechCrunch 50 top prize. But today Yammer (at least as of this moment) is down, and even TechCrunch staff, who use it internally, have now gone silent. But the rot has not just set in at this humble blog. The UK’s BBC, which employs 25,000 people, has been trying out Yammer too.Update: As of 6.30 a.m. PDT / 2.30 p.m. GMT, it was still down in Europe, but appeared to be back up in the US).

James Cridland, Head of Future Media & Technology for BBC Audio & Music Interactive at the BBC, posted on his personal blog back in September in a post titled “Yammer = quite good really” that:

“Today, someone at the BBC registered themselves on it, and started inviting others. There are already 79 people in the list. And it’s really rather good. Now, I can talk about stuff we’re doing without worrying whether I’m irritating anyone outside the BBC with my talk of HWH, W12, BC5 D2 M1, etc etc. It’s rather fine.”

Although there is no suggestion the whole of the BBC is now in disarray, the fact that a senior figure noted how Yammer had gained currency inside the Beeb shows that Yammer is probably being used by well over 100 people there now, probably closer to 200.

Today Yammer has two main competitors Status, and Present.ly. And then there is the open source project called Laconi.ca.

So if Twitter was annoying when it went down, imagine how annoying it is to have your whole company’s internal communications taken out?

Update: As Cridland now confirms, Erik Huggers, the BBC’s director of its future media and technology division, uses Yammer and “recommended it to staff recently as a way of getting feedback.” This would mean several hundred staff are probably now using Yammer.

Update 2: As of 6.30 a.m. PDT it was still down in Europe, but appeared to be back up in the US.

Update 3: Yammer CEO David Sacks emails:

Yammer did not suffer an outage this morning. Rather a small percentage of users experienced a bug causing them to see an error page for several hours. Admittedly this is just as bad for those affected; however, it’s much less likely to be repeated than a scalability problem. (In other words, it is not an indication that we will have trouble scaling.)