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Superbusnet.com update

Well, I got back a reply from Jeff of Dreamhost.

This is the entirety of the email I sent Jeff, in regards to my service.

Jeff, you emailed my (now dead) address yesterday regarding the disabling of Superbusnet.com due to piracy issues regarding one of the subdomains I had (pspgoodies.superbusnet.com).

Let me first state that I understand the action that was taken, and why; the list of items on that site - which I did not run, but am definately responsible for out of ignorance - is staggering. I do emphasise with you and your company in that regard.

My issue in this is that I think the action, considering my long term standing with your customer (three years as of tomorrow, and a member since 2004) was excessive. Though I understand that the TOS states that my account may be terminated without warning, three years is a long time to be with your company, and as I'm also one of the webmasters of another of your websites (velthomer.net), I find that taking away my website - and those websites that behaved under me - was a little much. Couldn't a warning/probation have sufficed?

This would not be troubling by itself. But the fact of the matter is that this happens less than a week after my payment to extend my service with your company goes through... that is troublesome. My service officially extends tomorrow, the 5th, and my payment went through right after making it, which was on the 28th of December. I must apologise if I find the timing of all of this... troublesome, to say the least. This also isn't the first time I've had a problem with your company blindsiding me, as I once had to put off a proposed forum move on the Velthomer domain back in November of 2005 due to your policy on CPU Limits.

I'm asking for this to be resolved in one of two ways: I'd like to either remain a customer of your company with my service intact and probationary, or if that is not possible/in your best interests, then I absolutely want my money back from my most recent payment, as my service has not extended yet. My preference would be the former, but I will not this issue rest until one of these two options has been fulfilled.

Thank you for your time, I understand you have a thankless job.

- Christopher Bowen

I got this response back. Note that the second to last real paragraph - the one where I mention the timing - is quoted at the top.

If you are implying that we felt the need to wait until after your
renewal to disable your account, that accusation is patently offensive
and (it goes without saying) completely false. We'd much rather have an
ongoing business relationship with a customer who is willing to abide by
our TOS into perpetuity, but that option was not given to us.

Just to underscore that fact, I've initiated a refund of your most recent
$240.00 credit card payment. It should arrive back on your card within a
few days. This is being done as a courtesy to you in recognition of your
long time hosting with us.

That said, it goes beyond the pale to attempt to shift blame on us when
an account under your control was found to be engaging in the illegal
distribution of hundreds - if not thousands - of dollars worth of
software from your hosting account. This is not a minor offense, and if
you had no direct involvement in the distribution it would be one thing
to contact us with an explanation and plead your case (we would have
listened), but you felt the need to go beyond that and instead lay blame
on _us_ for actually enforcing our policies.

In any case, you will have your refund, and your account will not be
re-enabled under any circumstances. From what you demanded, I believe
that this should resolve the matter to your satisfaction.


Well, I got one of my needed resolutions; I got my money back.

But I can't help but feel awful about it. Jeff was really pissed; one of the things I enjoy about Dreamhost is their personal interaction, FESS would not be where it is now if it wasn't for that, and the way they interacted with me on that stress test (and their forgiveness over the way I conducted it). Losing Dreamhost as my provider, despite what a few people - notable among them recession - have to say, sucks. I liked the site, I liked the 490GB of storage, I liked the 5+TB of bandwidth, and most of all, I liked customer service that actually calls me back, and deals with me. Dreamhost is a topnotch company.

But I feel I did no wrong here, except laying out what I saw, and of course, protecting my investment. Was I as wrong as Jeff made it out to be? Jeff truly does a thankless job; being the DMCA guy anywhere, you're going to deal with very pissed off people. Was this truly a lesson in my lack of any soft of diplomacy? This was really the best I am capable of. Should I, from now on, filter everything through my girlfriend to make sure I'm not stepping on toes?

I feel bad. I really do, despite the situation, I feel bad, not so much because I could have saved my site, but because I offended a guy with what I thought was a diplomatic approach.

As for the rest of it, I have some questions (like, getting the superbusnet.com name before some squatter does, and what this means for Velthomer), but I don't think this will affect Velthomer in anyway. My email address has been permanently moved to superbus AT velthomer .com, and I gave Aileen a Velthomer email address, as she was the only other one using Superbusnet as her email provider; anyone that has a problem with this can bite my dick, for I am the billpayer.

Is this one really my fault? Or am I dealing with someone fairly jaded?

EDIT: Replied.

Jeff, my sincerest apologies for the misunderstanding. It was not my intent to shift blame to your company for my failure as a webmaster, and even noted that the warez on our domain was gross negligence on my part; that much, I can definately attest to, I should have made a sweep of my domain. The intention of noting the timing of the domain being pulled was not to "accuse", but just to note that the timing was nothing more than questionable. I love dealing with Dreamhost, and would not want to sacrifice that in any way, and I sincerely apologise for offending you, that was NOT the intention; my first priority was simply to protect my investment, and my domain, and I thank you for the pending refund.

The refund is bittersweet; my first priority would be to remain a customer at any reasonable price. But since that is not happening, I do have two more questions, if you don't mind:

1) I have another domain with your company that I have joint ownership of with another user (velthomer.net). Will this affect that domain?

2) With my account being disabled, I have no choice but to take the name to another host. What will be involved in that? Am I still registered with Dreamhost for another year, or does that expire tomorrow (and possibly fall into the hands of a squatter)?

Again, I can't apologise enough; the implication you got from my email was ABSOLUTELY not the intention, I can't stress that enough. Overall, your company has been excellent to deal with since I signed up in 2004, and I would do almost anything to keep that going; I flat-out don't trust any other company with my domain. My intention with this is not to sweet-talk my way into regaining service; I fear we're past that, unfortunately (though there's not much I'd stop at to keep superbusnet.com with Dreamhost). This is a personal apology, and necessary questions regarding my other domain (which I'll be keeping with Dreamhost, and guarding MUCH more carefully) as well as this one.

Thank you again for your time.

- Christopher Bowen

Doesn't get more sincere than that...


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 4th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC)
Maybe he figures that, since you own the space, you should at least be somewhat looking at what people are doing on your webspace. He IS right in stuff like that is a huge deal, but I've never been to your mom's site and don't know just how much she had on there. I think it's a case of bad timing (as in, them finding your mom's site just after you made a payment), and that you tried to be diplomatic and all, but it did come out sounding a little harsh and I kinda can't blame Jeff for reacting like that.

I think I had an email but never used it, so I'm not worried. XD
Jan. 4th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
I think he's less upset about the email, and more about the fact you had a warez site on your domain. I wouldn't be surprised if he caught some flak around the watercooler after he went through so much trouble over the years (especially the stress test last year) for someone that, in the end, was violating the TOS. The e-mail itself wasn't particuarly offensive at all, to be quite honest.

But that's just my opinion.
Jan. 4th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC)
I don't find your e-mail offensive at all. Maybe Jeff was going througha rough time like DMA said?
Jan. 4th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
He seems to have misunderstood something somewhere, I don't think you were trying to turn the blame on them for enforcing their policies, just pointing out that the timing was troublesome.

Considering they're issuing a refund, they've proved their point that it wasn't intentional. If you care at all about this Jeff person being offended, I figure a simple apology due to being stressed over the issue could help matters. Explain it wasn't your intention to turn the blame on them, but the timing as a whole ended up further stressing you out.

Although, it seems a bit unprofessional of him to be saying your domain won't be reactivated under any circumstances because you "offended them" by saying they'd waited. That isn't how a company should behave. The customer has every right to be angry - the company, however angry they may be, must behave impartially at all times.
Jan. 4th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
It's unprofessional.

But you know what? I like that.

Remember, if they were "professional", I would have had more issues with the CPU minute drama back in 2005. If they were "professional", I would have been disciplined when I had a contest to see who could crash my domain the best. If they were "professional", I might have switched companies when my domain was up for extension in January of 2006.

I'll take beautiful flaws over sterile imperfections anyday.
Jan. 4th, 2007 09:41 pm (UTC)
It's borderline childish. They do have the power to deny you services if they want, but they shouldn't have the power to address you like that under any circumstances.

It doesn't really matter whether you like it or not, I don't think. A company isn't a person, and you were being fairly impartial in your e-mail. One just expects the same kind of treatment.
Jan. 4th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
They're an independant company--They have the power, and right, to treat you like crap if they want. Although it's wise not to. ;)

And, legally speaking, a company *is* a person.
Jan. 4th, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
Legally speaking, yes, but although I don't know if the same terms apply in English (or the US), there's a difference between a physical person and a juridic (does that word even exist?) person.

Again, the law in my country could be different, but as far as I'm concerned, no one, company or otherwise, has the legal right to treat anyone else like crap.
Jan. 4th, 2007 10:07 pm (UTC)
The only difference is that a company must be represented by physical people (unless of course it's a sole proprietorship, in which the person *is* the business). And I don't see how Jeff's reply constitutes treating anyone like crap. Superbus himself deals with trouble-makers on FESS more strickly than anything Jeff said.
Jan. 4th, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)
I didn't say he was, you're the one who said they had the power and the right to treat people like crap if they wanted.
Jan. 4th, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)
And they do. When the government steps in and becomes the politeness police only trouble can follow.
Jan. 4th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
And I quote myself,

Again, the law in my country could be different, but as far as I'm concerned, no one, company or otherwise, has the legal right to treat anyone else like crap.
Jan. 4th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
In which case we get an infinate loop reply:

When the government steps in and becomes the politeness police only trouble can follow.
Jan. 4th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
Which is a valid statement, but doesn't deny the fact it's no one's right to treat others badly.
Jan. 4th, 2007 10:16 pm (UTC)
Why not? Why shouldn't I have the right to tell someone what's on my mind? Explain in three hundred words or less.

ARR! The LJ Pirate DMA shall highjack this post yet.
Jan. 4th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
The only thing possibly offensive would be this:

This also isn't the first time I've had a problem with your company blindsiding me,

Saying that they "blindsided" you isn't totally diplomatic. Of course, that's minor and Jeff should have at least said "You can have the site back if you be good".

I think DMA is right; the amount of illegal material on your domain must have been staggering.

Of course, I am just Arf and my opinion hardly matters, but that's what I think. ^_^;;

Good luck.
Jan. 4th, 2007 10:07 pm (UTC)
Well, at least you get the refund. The worst possible scenario didn't happen, although it wasn't the best one, either. Anyway... what now?

No comments on the diplomacy there, since... well, I'm not diplomatic myself and can't judge this kind of stuff.
Jan. 4th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you managed to get the refund. That'll help the bill that will soon be sitting on your desk... and even though the loss of Dreamhost does suck (although understandably, they have to cut you - even if the timing was crap - because jesus, all that warez... Yeah. Thinking of what scenario might be if this were another company makes me shudder.)

In your original email, I definitely would have reworked the last two paragraphs, or at least the second-to-last one; you do poke the company - politely, true, but you shift the blame onto them. You want to reconcile, not attack! "This also isn't the first time I've had a problem with your company blindsiding me" puts Jeff (?) on the defensive, since "blindsiding" in this context has more of an "En garde, assholes!" definition.

Mind you, I'm not saying to completely neglect your refund; after all, you paid for time that hadn't even started yet, and if they cut you off before the renewal period, they can't honestly keep that money, can they? And the timing was shit, too, and since this is an interpersonal company, they should know that; but you shouldn't begin to intimate that they're scheming to yank all the Busdollars they can filch, that puts them also on the defensive. No one likes being on the defense, not if you want to get them to reinstate your domain after the Superbusnet collection of people uploaded tons and tons of stuff.

Overall, I think your first email could've used a softer touch near the end. Your second email is very good though, pretty much gold; carries the apologetic, non-defensive tone that I wish was a bit stronger in your first email.

With that said... I really hope this works out.
Jan. 5th, 2007 04:01 am (UTC)
I mean, don't get me wrong bro. [I read the other post too, but seeing as I'm going backwards in time here, I'm just replying here] We didn't have any issues with Dreamhost until they blindsided us with the bandwidth thing. At that point we were using their highest plan, and we were still hitting our bandwidth caps. When we asked for them to just deny service once we hit our limit, they said they would -- yet the next month, there was another skyrocketing bill. So we ended up switching to our current provider, which we've never had issues with [save for being hacked twice, but that hasn't happened in almost a year].

In the end though, I'm glad that they returned your website and you managed to work everything out. That's really the most important thing.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


Mr. Met
Superbus the BRAVE!!!

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