Nearly 12 years ago, Toys “R” Us launched a national media campaign to promote their new website. The campaign worked and their traffic increased 100-fold almost overnight. Unfortunately for them, their IT staff hadn’t considered the possibility of such a large increase in traffic and the servers collapsed under the traffic load, rendering their new website practically inaccessible for more than three days. By the end of the year, TRU had signed with Amazon in a long-term contract to redirect their traffic to Despite beaking that contract and relaunching, Amazon still dominates online toy sales.

ModelMayhem, whose website has been riddled with 504 errors, “OMGWTFBBQ” page loads and an unreliable (at best) messaging system for a long time, should have remembered that lesson when they finally rolled out its long-promised database transition from MySQL to postgreSQL, yesterday. At 10am. Until 9pm.  For most of the day, the site displayed only a tongue-in-cheek message and a flash-based rip-off of Shufflepuck Cafe.

When the site returned, vast amounts of  recent data, photos and messages were missing. 504 errors and OMGWTFBBQ messages were significantly more common and when users complained, the administrators tried to tell them that left is right, red is blue and the sky is yellow. Despite more than a month of public beta testing of their database transition tools, issues abound with truncated casting notices, missing images and lost communications (made even worse by their refusal to include the text of the messages in email notifications).

ModelMayhem cultivated a large following by being free to join and relatively responsive to the needs of its users. Though it remains free, commitment to the needs of its users been in decline for a long, long time. I’ll maintain a legacy ModelMayhem membership, but I’m going to actively attempt to move my primary modeling profile to ModelInsider, which seems much more user-oriented (which makes sense, as it was started in response to ModelMayhem’s policy of ignoring user issues).

Photo: Schilling by Mando Gomez via flickr &

One thought on “Curveball

  1. Well put article…. MM just recently closed my account over a comment I posted almost 5 years ago similar to the 504 issues of yesterday on the site….I am one who is happy to call Modelinsider my new home…the site is well done and thought makes my portfolio standout to those who view it.

    MM went on a witch hunt to close my account….they will always be plagued with 504 issues and unprofessional conduct of their screeners and moderators…

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