Inconveniences

New York State Department Website Inexplicably Only Online During Business Hours [UPDATED]

And nope, not open on the weekends either.
screen shot 2012 08 19 at 9 31 17 am New York State Department Website Inexplicably Only Online During Business Hours [UPDATED]

(Photo: Freakonomics)

From searching crime records to mailing a package, you can do almost everything government-related online these days, which is a major bummer for people who love waiting to be helped by an aloof woman with amazing nails as she gabs on her cell phone. But the best part about the Internet (besides GIFs)? It’s open 24/7.

Well, most of the Internet is at least. Turns out that the New York Department of State Division of Corporations shuts down its website during non-business hours. Betabeat is actually writing this while on hold with the department, hoping to get the attention of a customer service rep whom we can ask why on earth they would unplug their entire website during times when their office is unreachable and New Yorkers probably need to use it most.

While we’ve never experienced the phenomenon of a business-hours-only website, Freakonomics commenters seem all too familiar. “I hate my local cadastre office,” complained one. “They shut down their servers every night and weekend.” One Reddit user claimed that the Social Security Office is offline for a considerable amount of time every day. Another said that B&H Photo Video shuts down for Shabbat, which at least makes some sense.

We imagine server costs for websites with this much data are pretty expensive, but the amount you’d save by shutting a website down every evening seems negligible compared to the massive hassle you’d heap on your customers.

Then again, have you ever been to the post office? Customer service isn’t exactly the government’s forte. We never did get the Division of Corporations on the phone.

UPDATE:

A representative from the Division of Corporations got back to us, saying that the majority of the website is available 24/7, but the part where you file forms (which Freakonomics screencapped) is the part that is only available Monday-Friday. Better file your forms before the weekend!

The New York Department of State’s Division of Corporation website is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The Division of Corporation does not shut down its website during non-business hours….As of May 2012,  most business corporations and limited liability companies required to file corporate periodic forms,  also known as Biennial Statements with the Department are able to do so over the internet Monday thru Friday from 6:00am to 7:30pm. So far, more than 30,000 entities have filed their statements using this new feature. Our next step to improve customer service is to make further upgrades to the system to eliminate technical limitations from the old back-end batch-processing system. Once in place, corporations and other business entities will be able to file these periodic statements 24/7.

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