The last few weeks have been a bit of a nightmare for Aweber and Get Response customers. In addition, other sites like Bit.ly and Cloudflare customers were experiencing outages as well.
Aweber’s CEO put out this letter to their members.
From our CEO: About the Recent DDoS Attack
Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014
To our valued and loyal customers,
On behalf of the entire AWeber team, I want to deeply apologize for the service interruptions that you’ve experienced over the last 48 hours. We understand how much you rely on our service to help run and grow your business and the frustration this has likely caused. I want to explain what happened and what we’re doing to lessen the likelihood that it will happen again.
Beginning Monday, we experienced a repetitive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack which left our service unavailable. For those unfamiliar with the term, a DDoS attack is when an attacker floods a site with so much traffic it is unable to respond to legitimate requests. While we already had systems in place to deal with these types of attacks, the nature and severity of this attack was on a massive scale. It is important to know that absolutely no customer data or information was compromised.
In the last 48 hours, we have devoted all available resources and worked around the clock to get our network back online and put new and stronger mitigation systems in place. At this time, 95+ percent of our customers have full access to our service. Our remaining customers may have partial or unavailable service as ISPs update their DNS systems. To be clear, our website is 100 percent back online, but some customers may have trouble accessing it over the next several hours.
Moving forward, we remain fully committed to providing you with the highest level of service possible. While attacks like this could happen to any website, no one ever wants it to happen to them. We’ve already learned from this incident and will continue to learn, so that we can make our service even stronger.
Thank you for your continued support.
The attack was so extensive that many sites were down for several days, costing businesses cumulative millions in lost advertising dollars as opt-in forms on sites were not working.
What is a DDos Attack?
A DDos attack is a “denial of service attack”. It occurs when hackers send so much junk traffic to a website that legitimate requests can not be addressed and handled. The immense surge in traffic causes massive problems with servers.
Wikipedia defines it as:
n computing, a denial-of-service (DoS) or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users. Although the means to carry out, motives for, and targets of a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of efforts to temporarily or indefinitely interrupt or suspend services of a host connected to the Internet. As clarification, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are sent by two or more persons, or bots. (See botnet) DoS (Denial of Service) attacks are sent by one person or system.
Perpetrators of DoS attacks typically target sites or services hosted on high-profile web servers such as banks, credit card payment gateways, and even root nameservers. This technique has now seen extensive use in certain games, used by server owners, or disgruntled competitors on games, such as server owners’ popular Minecraft servers. Increasingly, DoS attacks have also been used as a form of resistance. Richard Stallman has stated that DoS is a form of ‘Internet Street Protests’. The term is generally used relating to computer networks, but is not limited to this field; for example, it is also used in reference to CPU resource management.
One common method of attack involves saturating the target machine with external communications requests, so much so that it cannot respond to legitimate traffic, or responds so slowly as to be rendered essentially unavailable. Such attacks usually lead to a server overload. In general terms, DoS attacks are implemented by either forcing the targeted computer(s) to reset, or consuming its resources so that it can no longer provide its intended service or obstructing the communication media between the intended users and the victim so that they can no longer communicate adequately.
While there are many protocols that a company can put into place to prevent and handle DDoS attacks, it appears this one was so severe that the standard preventation tactics just couldn’t handle the DDoS attack.
Our handling of this recent DDoS attack.
For a few months now, we’ve been debating whether or not to leave Aweber. There are a few factors involved in this decision, including the dwindling deliver-ability of our e-mails through Aweber.
It use to be that we had a 30% open-rate on our e-mails sent through Aweber. Now, it’s sometimes as low as 3%. When we’ve ripped the list from Aweber and used other services, our deliverability has gone up…way up.
After much research, we’ve decided to move to SendReach, developed by Chuck Mullaney, a well-respected online marketer. SendReachReview.net listed the benefits the best:
Advanced Demographical Autoresponder
The design engine behind this pulls in Facebook demographics enabling users to have focused marketing, targeting age, location, gender and pretty much whatever else is in their profile at the time. The benefit of this is three fold:
- You don’t get throw away junk emails on your list
- You don’t loose your 22yr old females clients when you’re trying to sell a product to 50 year old males or vice-versa.
- You can build trust and relationship by targeting demographic groups with content appropriate material
Social Media Optin Methods
Besides the traditional optin forms the program allows for opting in by the click of a button to your social media account. Currently Facebook and Google with more to come. The benefit of this is that it gets past the, “Giving my email address” barrier for a quick and easy optin.
QR code optin option
What could be simpler than scanning a QR code with your mobile phone? The benefit of this is that all the psychological barriers to old style methods are removed for those who like to stay up with the play.
The open API enables you to integrate your own systems or have custom built applications to integrate with it. The benefit of this is the potential for additional revenue streams.
For those who understand the value of testing and tracking, SendReach provides excellent reporting on your email marketing effectiveness. The statistics include who, when and which emails were opened as well as which links were clicked on. The benefit of this is that you can optimize your sales and marketing funnel right through to every detail of every follow up email.
If you already have a list with another autoresponder service you can apply to have them import your list for you into SendReach. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to deal with anything too technical and most importantly you don’t loose your current list!
Investigative Policy For MarketersLegitimate marketers can expect support when wrongfully accused of being a spammer or scammer. This is because the team behind SendReach has a marketing background themselves and investigate with the aim of keeping legitimate businesses going and shutting down real spammers and scammers. The benefit of this is you get to keep your list and your business if you are legit and falsely accused. If however you are a spammer or scammer you will be found out and sent packing. They strive for a high level of integrity and transparency in their business and the mail marketing field as a whole.
Easy List Segmentation
If your prospect becomes a buyer, you can easily have them transferred to a buyers list. The benefit of this is that you don’t irritate your new customer with inappropriate marketing material and you can send them quality information to build your relationship with them.
Demographics of Old Lists
When you import your list from another autoresponder service, it will automatically have social media profiles added to it for each person on the list if there is any available. The benefit of this is that it enables the demographic features for targeted marketing.
Easy To Use With Training Videos
Every aspect and feature of SendReach is covered with a training video on its respective page. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to go hunting for help on another page which enables you to learn as you go.
It’s easy to see why we’ve made the jump over to SendReach. The recent DDoS attack on Aweber just made it easier for us to make the decision. Noone likes to make a major change, like moving a list of 30,000 subscribers, but when it’s worth it, it’s worth it. And SendReach is definitely worth the move.
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