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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Did you ever have a really BAD experience online... one that you wanted to tell TENS OF THOUSANDS OF BLOG READERS! Unfortunately, I just had one of those experiences. And thanks to the power of the Internet, I'd like to share it. If you don't want to be bored with all the details, just know that you should NEVER use for any hosing services - EVER!

I recently launched a new website that teaches individuals how to improve search engine rankings for their website(s). To do so, I bought a domain, found a host (DreamHost), and built a website to promote the product. Within a couple of weeks I received an email - I thought it was SPAM - from DreamHost. Out of curiosity, I emailed them back to get clarification on the issue. Turns out that someone made a SPAM complaint regarding my new website. Personally, I find this hard to believe because:
  • I never send out any emails regarding the new site.
  • I use a third party to manage my emails, providing an opportunity for individuals to opt-out with each message.
  • My personal email lists have been built using a "double opt-in policy"

The takeaway here is that if someone wants to make a SPAM complaint, they are barking up the wrong tree. As a marketing expert for more than 12 years, I know more about CAN-SPAM legislation than just about anyone. In fact, I'm one of the few people I've come across in the last ten years who has even read the actual legislation... and follows it to the letter.

Anyway, after providing all of my information to DreamHost, I received nothing but RUDE responses, terse replies, and empty accusations. After the third email exchange, I even gave them access to my personal email marketing account (I use and recommend I know I didn't have to do this, but wanted to prove the point that I have nothing to hide.

The customer service representative (who gives all CSRs a bad name) got back to me and said that he couldn't find the email that this individual who filed the complaint was referring to. YEAH idiot, the reason is because I never sent it! As a result of HIS inability to find a smoking gun, he was shutting off my website...without warning. Great way to treat a customer!

So, he shut off my hosting account and my website was down. What did I do? Only what any reasonable person who's been treated unfairly would do. I complained... I sent a letter to his boss - we'll see if that does anything, asked for an apology, and refund. Of course DreamHost isn't going to provide any reconcillation. And quite honestly, they can't ever make me whole for the disrespect and unpleasantness I experienced.

As a result, I'm doing the next best thing. I'm telling my more than 10,000 daily readers NEVER to use Dream Host and I've placed a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau. So I guess you could say that today's marketing lesson is this. You can have the best marketing in the world, but if you don't respect your customers, you'll never succeed! Thanks for listening.


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