Orbitz.com is down – an extremely rare event for large ecommerce sites these days. I’m sure there will be articles in the coming days about the real cost of this outage for Orbitz. And at this point it’s still down with only their admission that "We are aware of the problem and are working to correct it." Chances are they will have it up very shortly. But when the site is finally back up, they will have significant credibility issues to deal with. Classic online crisis management.
But this outage could also be an opportunity for the site to reconnect with dormant or past customers. What if they sent a letter to all customers with an apology and incentive to return to the site? Apology emails have a way of travelling among customers … which could be a good thing if an incentive were part of the message. A built in setup for a viral message – where the good is sent with the bad.