Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The story

As many Gerbils know, TSW went dark recently without an explanation. I didn’t catch it going down due to my normal real life schedule, but it was after normal business hours. I caught it at about 10pm CST. I called the hosting company and told the representative the domain name and he was quite cheerful when he was looking up the problem.

Then a pregnant pause and an ominous “oooh” then “oooo-kay you are going to have to call [name redacted] at extension [redacted] to work this out.” Of course, it was much too late to get in contact with this person. Meanwhile, the site is down with no explanation. Gerbils speculated that the latest threads were the cause; others blamed it on a person who shall not be named ever again. Some didn’t know about the “fallout shelter” and were left completely in the dark.

When this hosting company shuts you down, they do a very thorough job of it, email, ftp, www, even the control panel reacted like I was not an account holder. The site effectively no longer existed, my email didn’t work and still there was no explanation anywhere.

When I finally caught the person at the hosting company, I asked why it was pulled. She said that it was decided that the site was indeed set up to harass a person and as such violated the terms of service. Despite this rocky start, she was quite helpful. Some of the questions she asked were:

“Is the site primarily a site to harass someone?”

I said no, because we are so much more than SWSNBN.

“Are there nude pictures of [SWSNBN] on the site?”

MY EYES IT BURNS! Of course I said there were none, not even clothed… Good God… That image will be stuck in the esophagus of my mind forever.

“What about this picture of a gerbil cut in half…”

I never saw it, I can’t comment, but I didn’t post it.

I explained that 99.9% of the site was idle chatter about real life and friends getting together. Not having seen the site since the morning, I had no idea that I was going to have to defend some of the “wrongness” pictures that she found there. In the end she was convinced that TSW is not a harassment site and while there was some TOS violations, they were minor and not worthy of having the site pulled. She then restored the site after a lengthy back and forth about various TOS issues she was finding on the site.

So the site is up… for the time being.

I never did get an answer to the central question, “Why was my site pulled on getting a single phone call?” They sidestepped the question every chance they had and continuously tried to turn me to the defensive. I am the paying customer; I should be treated with respect if not presumed to be in the right. This is unacceptable behavior in any business.

Think about that for a minute. One Phone Call and they fold like a deck of cards, all jokers and suffer 52 affirmations of their hypocrisy.

The hosting company is going to be told “You’re Fired” as soon as I can get other hosting set up. I do not wish to do business with a hosting company that will pull a site on the say so of one insane PhD without even giving a chance to respond. If TSW were indeed a site that was designed to generate a profit (its not, despite what SWSNBN continuously says) there would be significant losses due to their incompetence.

Pulling the site on a single phone call is bad business, it sets a bad precedent, and to top it all off it exposes the hosting company to legal actions the next time they receive a complaint and refuse to pull the site. Not pulling the site is the proper response, but they really can’t do the right thing anymore since setting this precedent.

But the biggest reason to move the site is that the hosting company has the following in their new customer FAQ.
Problem:

One of your users is using your webhosting services to slander/libel me. Please take down their website.

Solution:

I’m sorry that you’re having trouble with one of our clients.

As you know, ours is a democratic country, where people can say what they like about one another. Certainly, if you’ve been libeled or slandered you may have some legal recourse for that having happened. This legal recourse would be between yourself and our client exclusively, and would be a matter for civil court to decide on.

We do not take down websites without an official court order to do so. It would be a violation of our clients’ rights, to demand anything less, prior to removing a site from our servers. If your attorney is able to obtain an injunction, or other form of court order, please share a notarized copy of that letter with us. If we’re able to verify the authenticity of the document, we’ll honor the request therein to remove the website from our servers.

*Bolding mine

There was/is no court order, yet the site was down for the better part of a day. I did my due diligence before signing up; this page reassured me that I could comment on SWSNBN without fear of being arbitrarily shut down. Little did I know that these flowery words were complete bullflop.

Hosting shoppers would certainly assume that they will be treated fairly and would be able to plunk down their cash with confidence after reading the above. Only after the hosting company has the cash in hand do you find out that they are hypocrites.

So, anyway, I will be shopping for hosting again. This means the cash I prepaid the hosting company is forfeit, but it is a small price to pay to get away for these spineless hypocrites.

Moral of the story is that if you fold like a Bishop’s miter filled with toasty, cheesy polenta in the face of a single strident complaint, your business will suffer.

34 comments:

BrendaK said...

That sounds good to me (getting a new provider).

Seriously, they had a problem with the kiwi gerbil? It was icky but not threatening, and in no referenced SWMNBN.

Why is the money forfeit???? That doesn't seem right.

dipsy said...

Sinner, shop away! And it sucks that the money's forfeited, but I'll for sure contribute to a new bandwidth fund today. Unbelievable that they'd fold so fast and in direct contradiction to their stated terms. What a bunch of wimps! And you are correct. It's not a company that should continue to have our business. Screw us once, and that should be all it takes. Teh web's a big place.

Sinner said...

The contract says that if they cancel me, then I get a prorated refund less $10 for the domain name.

If, however, I cancel them there is no refund and the domain name reverts to their ownership.

joeschmo1of3 said...

If, however, I cancel them there is no refund and the domain name reverts to their ownership.

Soooo, what can we do to get them to cancel us? That's 10 whole dollars lost versus all of the crazy blog money!

Grand Admiral Bilgeman said...

Joe1/3:

"Soooo, what can we do to get them to cancel us? That's 10 whole dollars lost versus all of the crazy blog money!"

Put DFC on my shoulder with a safety pin to stick in my ear if I get TOO far, and turn me the fuck loose on "404".

I should be able to get the site clonged in about an hour.

BUT..."404" will claim it as a "victory"...tit 4 tat and all that.

Howzabout using up the existing fundage to put useless bells and whistles aboard...a freh coat of paint before we abandon it as a derelict?

Grand Admiral Bilgeman said...

"Extra's after signup
=========================

Domain names - $10.00 ea. per year
Dedicated ip - $30.00 per year ($2.50 per month) Pro-Rated.
SSL Certificates - $45.00 per year
Extra Bandwidth - $10.00 per 20 GBs of bandwidth."

And...there ya go.

Be te first blog on yer block with an SSL certificate...hell, get two of 'em and a sid of bandwidth.

Northwesterner said...

That sounds like a great idea. I hate to throw money away. Let's build up to a big, grand going away party & part forever, citing the fact that 404 is not posting any more!

Northwesterner said...

She would be vain enough to belive it -- Vanity! Another deadly sin! "Oh, without 404 what's the use any more? Goodbye, cruel world." (biotch!) She never believed that we weren't all about her.

Fatwa said...

Kirk suggested (at teh forum) contacting the UT Attorney General's office.

While the idea of a blow-out "fuck you" at/to our current hosting site is very appealing, it might be even better if we can force those craven scumballs to refund Sinner's dough.

While I was once but a lowly paralegal at the (formerly) largest lawf irm in S.F., it does seem that a good argument could be made for pretty blatant fraud.

And it'd be even nicer to hit them in their wallet, even if it's for relatively few bucks.

If Host Monster wants to establish a precedent of caving-in to one friggin' phone call from a deranged pee aitch dee, fine.

I say we establish a precedent of forcing Host Monster into refunding a customer's money when they pretty clearly engaged in fraud.

We pwned Deb (which granted, was akin to shooting a very large, stupid fish in a small barrel).

If we can pwn HM and publicize the fact, it would displease those moral cowards greatly.

And, if true, not be "actionable".

Grand Admiral Bilgeman said...

She's deeply embarrased, enraged and desperate to get her voice back.

Without a stage to dmonstrate their power over her, she is of little use to her demons.

Watch the personally self-destructive behavior accelerate if she is deprived of her audience.

tim said...

Joe:
Soooo, what can we do to get them to cancel us?

Joe just asked the RIGHT people a very 'WRONG' question...

Teh Right Kinda Wrong", to be precise.

;)

...w/apologies to LeAnn.
:)

Trouble(Debra3401) said...

Lurker mode Off..
This happened to me, in a Delphi forum, forced me to cancel my paid account and walk away for a couple of months.
I started blogging, and fell in love with it. But, I know how it feels to pay for something and have some jerk watching everything that is posted, while they take your money.

I think I was Ditto on your blog way back when I said dont said Deb to Michigan. (because I am a dittohead and my forums and blogs are all political.)

I would just like to say, I love, absolutely LOVE, all of you and your sense of humor and the fun I have had reading all of your silliness and wit. Please keep it up. Move the site, its too bad you couldnt do what I did to Delphi. Instead of paying them for the forum, I opened it back up as a starter forum that is free. I dont have all the bells and whistles, but now if they shut me down, I dont lose a thing.

Thank you for all the laughs, some good pics that I snagged, and a wonderful community that is so much fun!

Oh and dont get mad that I have the same name as Hagatha..

SBH said...

Sinner, it was almost all worth it to read: "fold like a Bishop’s miter filled with toasty, cheesy polenta"

What a gem!

Sinner said...

SBH, glad you liked that one, it is my favorite too!

sikk said...

HostMonster does suck. Just today they suspended my site for embedding videos from youtube that they referred to as porn. YouTube doesn't allow porn so how can I have porn videos from YouTube?

Wil said...

I also have been having a horrible time with Host Monster / Bluehost They are a god awful company that eradicates sites leaving webmasters completely in the dark. They have no problem hanging up on you when you ask why your site was taken down and I would not recommend their "service" to anyone. I have had several down times where my server could not be reached and when putting a ticket in the only response ever is "All parts of our service are operating as they should be" or "I just checked it and its great over here." I am paying out of my pocket for my site and they are constantly harrasing me and my site. My site is simply a fansite to the Twilight series (an official fan-site), my photography (all under creative commons), and my Java Library (Lesser GPL). Apparently I am harboring copyrighted material, and pornography. Huge Shocker!

In summery Never Ever Use HostMonster.

Wil Cecil
Owner AliceForever.com, Saslib.com

Al said...

If you get your URL from the same outfit that hosts your site, you're at their mercy. We host our URLs at a separate facility (MyDiscountDomains.com), but since their rates are going up, we might migrate to GoDaddy as each URL come up for renewal.

Sure, you give up the often free URL included in your hosting plan, but an extra $10 +- a year isn't much to pay for the ability to jump ship whenever your host disappoints you.

Glenna said...

Hostmonster.com review: they suspended my account because they said there were "performance" problems. This was bs and that is why I am writing this hostmonster.com review. They took my money, never wrote or called, but suspended the account - I suspect because I got too much traffic. Recommend you find a different host than hostmonster.com. If you have a problem with hostmonster.com I suggest you write a hostmonster.com review so others will know they are not a good company if you have a successful traffic website.

Tuba said...

THEY SUCK

www.antihostmonster.com

dorla said...

Very informative article, thank you for your suggestions and tips.
Web Designer Web development

Vinas said...

Hostmonster SUCKS STAY AWAY THEY PAY PEOPLE TO GIVE POSITIVE REVIES..

Consider yourself warned. In three years they shut my account down (which hosts 12 sites) no less than 5 times. The last time was on christmas day!!! Customer suppoert says they are open 24/7 but NOT ON CHRISTMAS instead of enjoying an evening with my familiy I get calls about the website being down AGAIN!!!

Also, the last time I complained about them taking my sites down during the middle of the say they replied that they have critical server maintenance!!! What a load of crap!

Info Master said...

Guys Please don't use Hostmoster services for emailing purpose as most of the email server IP address of Hostmonster are blacklested by SPAMCANNIBAL and because of it popular fee mail services like gmail ,yahoo,hotmail mark your genuine mail as SPAM..

We are already loosing lot of business because of it and feel humiliated in front of our new customers.

And when we contacted HM customer care here what they have to say about it :

"Unfortunately, we have no connection to Spam Cannibal. We have several methods to prevent our customers from being blacklisted. Its possible someone in the same general range of IP addresses has been accused of spamming, and we work very hard to stop any emails that could be considered spam from leaving our servers."

To avoid any further inconvenience, we suggest you to go for Dedicated Ip. The cost of Dedicated IP is $2.50/month, prorated to the end of your term. You may purchase Dedicated IP through your cPanel. Once you are logged in simply click on the Dedicated IP tab at the top of the screen and follow the steps.

For more information on Dedicated IP, please contact Support or visit our Knowledge Base: http://helpdesk.hostmonster.com/index.php/kb/article/000541


I think its HM problem and they have to solve it why should i need to pay some extra dollars so that gmail and other don't count my mail as spam?


I think its a scared tactics of Hostmoster as they got under table deal with SPAMCANNIBAL and forcing its customer to buy Dedicated Ip.

HM Sucks...

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ankita patel said...

Hi there.. Well i heard a lot on hostmonster sucks part but if you guys have to recommend the web hosting company which would you recommend?? i see that all of the reviews on webhosting companies are somehow bought for positive feedback and its hard to hear the truth. Also googling any company + sucks returns horrible feedback so which company would you guys suggest as best overall web hosting company??

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Fred Becht said...

Just got scammed by HostMonster.
For several years I have been happy with their service.
Now they are getting SCAMmy!
I just renewed a domain, but inadvertently renewed a TWO YEAR privacy policy - that I DID NOT WANT!
Be VERY CAREFUL!!! Read the FINE PRINT!! HostMonster is setting a lot of traps to screw you out of money!!

Calling to customer service (right!!) just got me one year knocked off a two year charge I did not want.
Again - BE VERY CAREFUL - READ EVERY BIT!! Their services are now set up to trick you and there is no going back!!

Scammers operate between the lines - be sure that is where you read!

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超易鋼琴課程 www.pianohk.com said...

If you want your hosting service suddenly terminated (forever), your domain unrecoverable and your prepaid money gone, go try it. God bless you.

'Unlimited' is scam. They want to lure you to prepay for 3 years and forfeit your money claiming that you violated THEIR terms.

What a greedy and dishonest pig!!!

Steve Patco said...

First I would like you to change the template. Black is totally unreadable.

Second, thanks for the info. I am definetly not signing up with HM.

Third, I have webhostinghub and just like everybodies nightmares, the honeymoon was over after on short year.

Steve Patco said...

First, please change your template color to white.

Second, this website has given me enough info to not signup with HM.

Third, I currently have Webhostinghub . Just like everyone elses nightmare, the honeymoon only lasted 12 months.

Steve Patco said...

First I would like you to change the template. Black is totally unreadable.

Second, thanks for the info. I am definetly not signing up with HM.

Third, I have webhostinghub and just like everybodies nightmares, the honeymoon was over after on short year.

Steve Patco said...

Well WebhostingHub shut me down today after a few on line negative posts. I knew it was coming. They are very vindictive dis-organization. More info will be posted at a later date.

Joseph Cagle said...

Hostmonster just told my client that she did not have FTP, even though their packages say that hosting customers do have FTP.

I recommend Site5 myself. It might be more than Hostmonster, but definitely worth it!

http://joeycagle.com