No matter how much you invest or how big your brand is, even companies like AOL and Google can experience service issues. It struck me as particularly noteworthy that both of these esteemed inbox providers suffered major system glitches, one right after another. AOL email was offline for the good part of day June 1 for both users and senders, and Gmail had a smaller but apparently no less impacting outage for some of its users a few weeks later.
The take-away for me is that service issues are an inherent part of the Internet. So it's critical to have contingency plans in place when the inevitable happens and your servers go hiccup. In particular, AOL impressed many of us in the ESP community with the way it handled communications and updates throughout its outage. Its actions allowed us to communicate the issues to our clients, and the result was a manageable problem that was already old news to nearly everyone involved.