"Some folks here have stated they consider the power out to b an outage with their ap becuase the custmer is unable to use it.
OK, what if the customers machine blows up (hard drive dies, power supply dies, motherboard issue). In the logic of the above this is an outage of the application. Now the person who just said they can go to a different machine keep in mind, power out at the house doesn't mean no power at the starbucks with WIFI down the road. The fact is they can use the application by just changing their position even if it means driving 50,100,200 miles out of an external issues affected area."
"Now another one. Suppose a user get's into a accident today after they leave work. When they next come in both arms had to be amputated. So now thru no issues of your own and evn thou the software is working as designed and actively running, with the same principal as the power outage thing te customer cannot use it. Thus in yor statemen this too is an outage???????"
These are amusing extremes, but I think ultimately the bulk of the "outage" burden still lies with the application provider, in that the ultimate test of a business is whether the customers are happy and accept the explanations. One can easily win the outage definition battle but still end up losing customers.
Regarding the first example: I think the issue is (1) what defines outage and (2) does the customer have the right to blame the company for the problem. If the customer's computer blows up (or if there is a regional blackout), most reasonable people will agree that this is an outage of some kind but that they won't blame the specific web site company for it. It is not an outage of the application, but it still makes the site unavailable for anywhere from one to large numbers of people.
However, I don't think most customers would suddenly say it is not an outage just because they are directed to a site 50 miles away to get service. I think they'd be almost as likely to get upset if they are told to go so far out of their way as they would be if they were simply told that the service was unavailable for the night. It depends on the customer and the situation of course, but to me that would not be the time to start parsing outage definitions to them.
As for blackouts, I still think those should count as outages from the company's point of view, but again, reasonable customers would not single out the company as blameworthy for customers not being able to reach their site. And I do concede that even from the company's point of view they could be put into a different category - "outage beyond company control" or something like that, covering large blackouts, storms, etc.
Regarding the second example, I think I covered that one with my statement "for any reason not due to their own inability or lack of training." Losing arms would count as inability - or rather, disability. Same with training. It's not an "outage" if the customer ignores or hasn't been taught the steps that have been given to them to use the application properly. But the training still needs to be addressed or else they can't really use the application.
My point was that one cannot ignore the customer when defining outage. Of course for company statistics outages will not include things like customers' computer exploding, but in terms of dealing with the customers, it is very risky to start saying, "Well, no, technically that wasn't an 'outage'..." That response is bound to tick off customers and doesn't serve any external purpose.