Money by Tracy O at Flickr (CC)

Just Give Us Your Money

Money by Tracy O at Flickr (CC)
Photo credit: Tracy O at Flickr (CC)

I am certain that I don’t begin to understand the cost associated with running a web hosting company. And, since I am not really a web master per se, I really am basically clueless as to everything that is required to run such a business. I’ve just cobbled together enough skill to make this and a couple of other web sites work.

I do, however, understand being a consumer that feels like he pays a lot of money for telecommunications and gets virtually nothing for all of that money.

When considering how to design a backup strategy, I looked at Amazon S3 for an offsite backup service. Before I decided to sign up and start paying them money, I realized that I am only using 2% of the server disk space I am alloted on DreamHost, the web hosting service I’ve used for years here at timtyson.us. And, I actually use 0% of the bandwidth I am alloted per month!

So I thought, since I have over half a terabyte of unused server space and unused bandwidth is just gushing out of my pores, why not get a little bit of my money’s worth: store my iTunes library offsite in the server space I am paying to have but am not using. I still would have a couple hundred gigabytes of unused server space and unused bandwidth would still hemorrhage from my pores. My backup strategy requires a one time upload, and every three months or so, I would update the backup with the new files added to the library. Easy!

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent most of the last three days running the backup, compressing the files, and uploading them to the server. Within hours of my completing this task, I got an email from DreamHost nicely telling me that they suspected I was violating the Terms of Service by using their server to backup data. The Terms of Service specifically forbids this.

What?! Are you kidding me?

I was shocked and read on where they quote from the terms of service. There in black on a white screen it clearly stated it. I told them I was naïve enough to have believed that since I wasn’t going to do anything rude or illegal I would never violate any Terms of Service agreement; so, I never even read it. And like an idiot I just thought that since I was paying for the server space and bandwidth, which I have barely used at all for years, (read high profit margins) I could therefore use it as I saw fit.

Wrong! Totally wrong!

I have seven days to remove the files, pay them more money every month, or have my account disabled.

They offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse, one that I turned down because Amazon’s S3 service appears to be a much better value.

Doesn’t Stop There
I have spared my readers my recent disgust and tirade with Verizon, to whom this household pays over $5,000 per year–for what exactly, I’m unsure. Try calling their technical support when things don’t work. You might as well plan on making a day of it–literally! (After hours and hours, I did finally get one technician, unlike all of the others, who knew his work, and I was so shocked and thrilled I asked to speak with his supervisor to rave about their having someone on payroll who actually earned his salary!)

I have yet to post, but absolutely will, my outrage at the fees AT&T charges iPhone users… for what exactly?!

And then there’s Apple’s MobileMe service, which I am supposed to have had for free for the past few years but for which I pay top dollar. Oh, and did I mention that MobileMe has had so many issues lately they might as well shut it down. Email didn’t work today… again! Try contacting their customer support. They tell you what information to gather for the support agent. But then, one click later, you learn there is no support agent. Support literally doesn’t exist. Thank goodness for the guy at the Genius Bar at the Apple Store who really does know his technology, but plan on waiting a day or two to get to him.

When will a company deliver on what they promise to sell you? When will a company give people a good value? When will a company provide customers with excellent service and support? When will corporate America stop trying to rip off the average customer who is powerless to fight them? Is nothing more important than making more money, than ripping wider profit margins, than providing less and charging more? Current business practice in the USA is not sustainable.

I am really fighting becoming horribly cynical!