Yesterday's prolonged Blackberry network outage has led to a surge of signups at DataOutages.com, which maintains an e-mail list alerting users to Blackberry network downtime.
"The list size doubled today and I believe by the end of the night, it will have almost tripled," a staffer at DataOutages said in a post at BlackberryForums. "The traffic to the site is great and we're always looking for new ways to add more features to make people more aware of any outages."
Many of the list's users are network administrators seeking the latest information on outages on the Blackberry e-mail network operated by Research in Motion. When corporate Blackberry users experience problems with their service, their first call is often to their in-house network staff. During yesterday's four-hour outage, many admins reported being besieged by calls from frustrated end users.
Blackberry devices are famously addictive, earning them the nickname "Crackberry." Use of the term CrackBerry became so wide spread that in November 2006 Webster's New World College Dictionary named "crackberry" the "New Word of the Year". Users' reliance upon their Blackberries has also prompted reports of "phantom vibrations" when they're not wearing the device. That level of devotion drives a quest for information when Blackberries aren't receiving mail.
The reliance on Blackberry and its underlying e-mail network extends to U.S. government agencies. In 2006 the US Department of Justice filed a brief in a patent case that threatened to shut down the RIM network, arguing that the court craft remedies to keep government agencies online.
Research in Motion said it was still investigating the cause of yesterday's outage, which it attributed to "an issue on the BlackBerry Infrastructure."
"The BlackBerry Support teams were engaged and implemented a series of corrective procedures to reduce the impact of the issue and restore service," the statement added. "This was completed at approximately 18:30; however, some subscribers may have continued to experience delays until the backlog of messages was processed."
A full root cause analysis had not been reported as of this morning.