May 22, 2009

"Paypal Sucks"

by Randy Cassingham's version of the 'Paypal Certified' shieldSome people really hate Paypal. I have a love-hate relationship with them: I love that it's easy and secure to move money around online without having to type in credit card numbers on a site with dubious security. I hate that Paypal tries to dodge federal regulation by insisting it's not a bank, when it probably really is. Indeed, their customer service is very bank like -- it sucks!

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October 16, 2008

VistaPrint: Bait and Switch?

by Randy Cassingham                                                        Update: VistaPrint Responds

This isn't the usual, uninformed whine about VistaPrint -- that (sob!) they charge shipping and handling on their "free" stuff. No, they have to stay in business, I understand the game, and that's fine (and still a pretty good deal) -- it's how they stay in business.

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February 9, 2007

Punished by eNom for a Registration Placeholder

by Randy Cassingham                                                                                 Updated! See the End

I'm posting this minutes after my sites came back online. As I was writing this, most of my web sites were offline, thanks to proactive (that is, on purpose) action by enom, the huge domain registrar which provides registration for the "domain names" for more than 8 million web sites. The registrar, of course, I (used to?) use. And here's the unbelivably scary thing I learned while struggling to get them back up: any web site, including yours, can be knocked off the 'net without warning and without notice, and for the most mundane of reasons, by the people you pay for your most basic online service: your domain registration. Even if it's not enom.

Your site is your sole source of income? Too bad. Your site is depended upon by thousands of people for critical information? Tough. You're expecting an urgent e-mail? Shrug. The weekend is coming up? They may or may not be able to help you until Monday -- check back later. We'll see -- the only guy who can help has a long lunch planned.

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March 20, 2006

The Yahoos at Yahoo

by Randy Cassingham

The Cranky Customer web site has (at least, at the time of this posting*), ads on it from Yahoo. They're a hybrid between trying to match the content of the pages and an attempt to match the more general interests of the reader. I got into a big argument over the latter part with Yahoo not too long ago, regarding the ads on the crank on this site against "Hello Direct": all the ads were for -- you guessed it -- Hello Direct!

This has significant implications for any ad-supported web site, and the entire "pay per click" ad industry.

I told the Yahoo customer support people that it was entirely inappropriate for there to be Hello Direct ads on a rant about how much Hello Direct sucks! Why would anyone want to immediately do business with them after reading such a horrible cautionary tale? No, any clicks on such ads would be much more likely to be an attempt by the readers to punish the company for being so lousy, and how does that serve their customers, who were (in this case) Hello Direct and its affiliates? It doesn't; inappropriate clicks just hurts the pay-per-click industry, which in the long run hurts the web sites that depend on it for revenue to keep the sites going.

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February 27, 2006

Expedia: Not All That Expedient

by Leo Notenboom

Expedia just lost me as a customer. And it really hurts me to walk away. Unlike most customers, who'd probably have walked away long ago, I have an emotional attachment. I was one of the engineers who helped create Expedia.

When it first went live, I was the guy who installed the "final bits" in the MSN datacenter where it was housed at the time. My account is one of the first on Expedia. Somewhere within the bowels of Expedia, it's quite possible that some of my code remains.

And yet, no matter how hard I try, Expedia refuses to take my money.

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January 8, 2006

Dell? Hell!

by Randy Cassingham

Special Update Below, by Special Request: Michael Dell's Address!

This is a condensed version of my original "Dell Hell" story, which is still at its original location on the This is True Dell Hell page (opens in a new window). The version here has the basics, but if you "need" more info, including the all important "lessons learned" (and some reader horror stories), you should read the longer version there.

- - -

I've recommended Dell computers for many years, but my confidence in them was shaken when I got a new laptop in Fall 2004. I run my computers pretty hard since I work 10-14 hours/day, seven days a week to publish on my many web sites, so I get a new one every three years or so. This time I decided to switch to a full-time laptop; I gave my desktop to my new assistant and ordered up a new Dell Inspiron laptop.

After finally getting it all set up the way I wanted, all was well for a few days until I came into the office, pushed the power button to get started ...and nothing happened. It was the Tuesday before I was to leave the country -- early the next Monday. "No problem," I thought: the one time I needed service Dell was there for me, and I did pay extra to upgrade my service contract on the laptop.

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