Sunday, January 25, 2009

GeoNames Web Service Crushed Under Load From Free iPhone App

The GeoNames blog posted today What to do against DDOS effects? They aren't suffering from a malicious DDOS attack, but a free iPhone game called iMob Online is using the GeoNames web service for data. The app has become so popular that the GeoNames free web service has been crushed under the load.

In my iTimeZone 1.1 Post-Mortem, I talked about the choice to use the GeoNames CSV files instead of the web service for city data because, in part, the web service took control of the user experience away from me and put it in the hands of a potential fickle network resource. I feel bad for the GeoNames and iMob teams, no one could really predict this on either side. It again highlights though the inherent risk of building a product around free web services with no recourse if something goes horribly wrong.