I used to be a very angry person. Like, permanently, horribly angry. Unpleasant, know-it-all, blowhard kind of angry. An asshole, as the kids say.
I didn’t know why at the time, and honestly, I didn’t care. I’ve since figured out the (obvious) reason, and I’ve left most of my anger behind. I feel a thousand times better, and now you may actually be able to have a conversation with me without wanting to strangle me just to make the pain stop.
That anger fueled some caustic and off-the-wall writing. I recently came across an old blog that was related to an email and web hosting service I used to run, and its irrational venom and nastiness are awe-inspiring.
The tone of the service was antagonistic though, so a lot of the posts made sense, and could be marginally amusing. (Like the post I published saying you were an idiot if you trusted your site to a shared hosting platform while I was selling hosting on a shared hosting platform.)
But reading them now I barely recognize the writer. And what I do recognize, I don’t really care for.
But I’ve always put it all out there on the internet and in “real life,” so I kind of have to show you a sample. I can’t help myself. Even though it makes me look bad. All I can say in my defense is…well, come to think of it, I have no defense.
(And for what it’s worth, I still have a deep black hatred in my heart for one of the companies mentioned in this article, EIG. Or should I say, Newfold Digital. May they all rot in the worst hell they can imagine. Thank you, good night!)
A Clown Ate My Credit Rating! (Or, Support Your Local Simpleton)
January 16th, 2008
Funny, I know the good folks at DreamHost have their heads up their asses, that fact is on display quite often, but this week’s triple billing of all customers (to the tune of seven and a half million dollars) really elevates these guys to the big leagues of idiocy and incompetence.
Not to mention giving the world a good idea of their annual cash intake.
In October their lease ran out, but their new office wasn’t ready until the end of the year. They played it off on their embarrassing, cringe-inducing blog as an “eviction.” So your DreamHost account was managed out of a bunch of apartments and homes scattered across Los Angeles for a couple of months, but hey, that’s just more DreamHost style hilarity! Aren’t those guys a hoot! Kind of like The Beverly Hillbillies.
I have a theory about online businesses and hosting in particular; once your brand is established and you have enough name recognition, customers, referrals, etc., an unstoppable snowball-effect kicks in, and the business is virtually bulletproof.
DreamHost is a great example of this. No matter how inept they are and how many times they fuck shit up real bad and laugh it off, they continue to grow.
I worked for PowWeb for a few years, and the same thing happened there when we hit 40 or 50 thousand customers. Those new orders just continued to come in every day, no matter what.
Getting DDOSed every day and your server clusters slowing to a crawl? No problem! 100 new accounts just came in to offset the 50 who left in disgust!
Billing database stolen by hackers who have set up housekeeping in your network? Hey now, hush your mouth! No need to mention that, just keep the front door open so the new suckers can come in.
And the ultimate proof of my theory was demonstrated when Endurance International Group bought PowWeb and took its users on a year long excursion of misery and pain they cheerily referred to as migration.
You should have heard them talk about their flawless and perfect migration waterwheel (don’t ask me what the hell that means). “We’ve done this before, we know what we’re doing. We have business degrees. Step aside, you dirty web hosts, the professionals are taking over.” Oh yeah, they knew what they were doing all right.
Here’s the primary method they used in the PowWeb migration: first they shipped a NetApp (a large file server) from Massachusetts to Los Angeles. Then they copied all the customer data from the PowWeb NetApps, crated the traveling machine back up, and put it on a truck aimed toward the east coast.
See any problem with that?
By the time the data was moved and actually live on their servers, it was all several months old. And your database driven site? Ha ha ha. Yeah. Welcome to Endurance, motherfucker!
They should name their migration after a form of torture–maybe waterboard rather than waterwheel.
The bumpy road for the victims of the “new” PowWeb continued well after migration, as EIG had no clue how to provide MySQL for a large customer base, and apparently, no idea how to provide email service either. As thousands of complaints littered their forum they appeared to be ignoring the problems in the hope that they would somehow just go away.
Yet, through all of that, PowWeb’s customer base continued to grow.
If obvious and open ineptitude and indifference doesn’t kill your hosting business, nothing will. I think that any medium to large sized host could rip all of their servers out of the racks and throw them into a dumpster and 75% of their customers would continue to pay them for the next five years.
Snowball, baby! Try and stop it.
But speaking of that DreamHost cash intake – do those numbers make sense to you? One of my spies tells me that DreamHost has around 150,000 hosting customers. You would think that the yearly billing should have been more than twice the 7.5 million dollars they are reporting. And if a good percentage of users were double and triple billed, even more.
So you have to wonder when you see that 7.5 million figure. Then again, everything that comes out of DreamHost makes me wonder.