July 18, 2006

How one man sent one e-mail and took down my entire website. And he didn’t even know it.

[Note: In the following bit-too-long rant, some information has been changed to protect identities. But the name of my no-good, awful, deceitful former web host Doteasy has been left completely intact. Avoid them at all costs.]

On June 23, I spent the day flying back to New York from a business trip in Los Angeles. Adam Sandler’s movie Click opened that day, and lots of websites were linking to an article I wrote about the movie’s overused plot device. It was a higher than usual traffic day for Ironic Sans. When I boarded my plane, web traffic was high.

I arrived home after midnight. I was exhausted. I just wanted to follow up on a few e-mails, see where my traffic plateaued for the day, and go to bed. So you can imagine my state of mind when I checked my e-mail and found this from my web host:

Hello David,

We have received spam complaints regarding your website. Please note that the use of spam, sent from our email servers or to promote a website hosted on our service, is prohibited by our service policy and we strictly enforce a zero tolerance for spam.

Our Service Terms and Conditions document may be viewed at the following URL:

http://www.doteasy.com/Terms/index.cfm?T=TAC

Due to the proliferation of SPAM abuse, we have no choice but to suspend your account from the Doteasy service due to a violation of the terms and conditions of the service. If your domain is registered through Doteasy, you may login to the Member Zone control panel to change your web host once you have found a new service provider.

Regards,

Miguel
Doteasy Customer Service

[ Offending message ]
Return-Path:
From: “TD”
To: [x]
Subject: Latest must-have fashion statement
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2006 20:47:04 -0400
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;
charset=”us-ascii”
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Mailer: Microsoft Office Outlook, Build 11.0.5510

http://www.ironicsans.com/2006/03/
idea_prepixelated_clothes_for_1.html

I was shocked. I hate spam. I wouldn’t send spam. I find spammers to be among the lowest forms of life. I have never sent a single mass e-mail about anything related to this website or pretty much anything else for that matter. No chain letters, no jokes, no urban legends, nothing. This did not come from me. This was some sort of misunderstanding. Looking at the “Offending Message” I could clearly see that it was not an e-mail I ever sent to anyone. For one thing, the header information says it was sent with Outlook. I don’t use Outlook. I do sell t-shirts on my site, but that’s meant to be funny more than anything else. It’s not the purpose of my site. If it makes a few dollars, that’s great, but this site isn’t a money making enterprise. I don’t sell Viagra, or Rolex replicas, or have any Nigerian money to offer. Even a glance at my site should have made that obvious.

There was a misunderstanding here somewhere. But their e-mail suggests they’ve already shut me down! Was it too late to do something?

I immediately sent the following reply:

I just received notice from you guys saying that I was reported for sending spam, and that this will affect my hosting service. The message I received quoted an e-mail supposedly sent by me. It has the subject “Latest must-have fashion statement” and links to one of my pages where I do indeed sell a t-shirt.

I have NEVER sent that e-mail, nor authorized anybody to send it on my behalf, nor ever asked anyone to do any such thing. And I will swear to that in whatever court you want. This is the first time I’ve heard or seen it. I’m as interested in you are in finding out where it came from, and will cooperate in whatever way you want. Is there header information that indicates anything useful? I normally use Time Warner Cable in NYC as my outgoing email host, and I have a gmail account I use also.

How many complaints have you received? I hope this is an overzealous fan of my site who sent an e-mail to a few friends, and not a widespread problem.

I will immediately post a message on my blog asking people not to do this. What more can I do?

I request that you not terminate my account, as I have most definitely NOT violated any terms and conditions.

What more can I do? Please advise.

I know, I know. That’s exactly what a spammer would say. “It wasn’t my IP address! It wasn’t my e-mail account!” Whatever I could say, a spammer would say, too. I was being screwed by a zero-tolerance spam policy for something I had nothing to do with, and had no knowledge of.

I then posted a quick message on my blog that said something to the effect of, “PLEASE DO NOT SEND SPAM ON MY BEHALF!” and explained why. But it was already too late. I could still access my site via http, but couldn’t get through on the ftp server. And when I checked the rest of my e-mail, I noticed someone had written to me complaining that they couldn’t reach my site anymore. The shutdown was already underway. Propagation had begun.

Around now you’re wondering why I didn’t just pick up the phone and call my web host’s 24-hour customer service line to explain everything. Well, they don’t have one. And they take at least 24 hours to reply to e-mails. Why was I with them to begin with?

I already knew that Doteasy wasn’t the best web host around. But I started using them years and years ago to host my photography website when I thought they were a pretty good deal. They’re free for the most basic hosting package, which was all I needed at the time. So when I needed a better hosting package, I just stayed with them out of habit and comfort, upgrading instead of switching to a better web host. I didn’t think I needed the immediacy of phone support. Until now.

Exhausted, I spent the next hour making sure I had everything backed up in case I lost my site forever. Once I was sure it was all safe, I finally went to bed. I woke up the next morning, and the website was gone. No Ironic Sans. No nothing. Just a generic Doteasy placeholder page.

So I took their advice and found myself a new web host. A few other photographers I know are using Media Temple as their web host, and while I’m sure other people can offer other suggestions, the 24/7 phone support of Media Temple was a good enough selling point for me. I immediately signed up (very quick and easy) and spent the rest of the day reinstalling Movable Type and restoring everything as best as I could. And at one point when I hit a stumbling block, I picked up the phone and called Media Temple. In less than two minutes I was talking to a real live person who was very friendly and helpful.

Then I logged back in to Doteasy, where my domain was still registered, and switched the Domain Name Server information to my new web host, making a mental note to move my domain registration away from Doteasy as soon as possible. By the end of the day, Ironic Sans was back on-line. The new DNS information was beginning to propagate. All I could do now was wait.

In the meantime, I took another look at that “Offending message.” It didn’t make sense. Why would someone send spam on my behalf? What benefit would there be? I examined the e-mail header. The “To:” information had been blocked out, but the “From:” address was still there. Since Doteasy thought I sent it, there was no need to hide it from me. So I did a Google search on the e-mail address and found a name to go with it: Tom Dalton (not his real name). Even better, I found a phone number. I called it. I got his voicemail. It was his office number, and he would be away until Tuesday. I’d have to call him back. Is it possible that this was just one person who sent one e-mail to a friend, and that person thought it came from me? Could it really be that simple?

By now my Saturday was gone. It wasn’t how I wanted to spend my first day back in town, but Doteasy made it a necessity. Whatever. Screw them. I was done with Doteasy. Or so I thought.

On Monday, I received the following e-mail:

Hello David,

Thank you for your response.

As an internet service provide [sic], we have the obligation to respond and take action on such reports. If we do not respond to such reports, our mail server IP address can get Blacklisted. This will affect everyone on that server plus servers on the same IP Sub-Block.

It is clearly stated that we strictly enforces a zero-spam tolerance policy:
http://www.doteasy.com/Terms/index.cfm?
T=TAC&bodyClass=pageCenter#13

Normally the account will stay suspended but since we have received a positive reply that this will not happen again, we offer you the opportunity to re-activate your account. We have re-activated your account, please allow 24 hours for your account to be fully functional.

Once your account is fully functional, please do as you have said about posting a message in your forum.

Regards,

Miguel
Doteasy Customer Service

Too little, too late, Miguel. I replied:

Because of the extreme unhappiness I have with Doteasy’s handling of this situation, compounded by the fact that there is no phone support and therefore no way for my to even discuss this situation with Doteasy, I am leaving Doteasy as a customer, and have already transferred my web hosting to another company. So there is no need to reinstate my account… [T]his would amount to a total of four days of downtime for nothing I did, and with no way to reach you in a timely manner. That is completely unacceptable.

I would appreciate a cancellation of my web hosting at ironicsans.com and refund for the remainder of my prepaid year of hosting ironicsans.com with Doteasy. I am not at all at fault in this situation, so a refund is the only appropriate way to make it up to me.

Please advise when I can expect a refund for the remainder of my prepaid hosting. Thank you.

On Tuesday, I left town again on business, but had some time to make a phone call while I was at the airport. I dialed Tom Dalton’s phone number. The conversation went something like this:

“Tom Dalton?”

“Yes?”

“Hi. My name’s David. You don’t know me, and I’m sorry for bothering you at work, but I think you may be able to help me solve a mystery.”

“Um…”

“Did you visit a website called Ironic Sans in the last few weeks?”

“Yes.”

“That’s my site. Did you see the post about the pixelated t-shirts?”

“Yes.”

“Did you happen to e-mail anyone about them?”

“Well yes, actually. I did.”

“I thought you might have. You’ll never believe what happened.”

I told him the story. He confirmed that he sent the e-mail to 7 or 8 people. One of them must have thought it was spam and reported it to Doteasy, thinking they were doing the right thing. I fell victim to Doteasy’s zero tolerance policy because someone thought they were doing the right thing. Tom was friendly and apologetic. He couldn’t guess which person might have reported me. I asked him to inquire, as I’d be interested in talking to whoever it was. How could they not notice the “From” address? What’s it like to actually report spam and have a successful outcome (from their perspective anyway)? Are they in the habit of reporting spammers? I wasn’t angry as much as I was curious. I haven’t heard from Tom, or whichever of his friends reported the “spam,” since then.

Unfortunately, the story didn’t end there.

Days went by. I couldn’t give this any more attention because I was busy with work projects. As soon as I could, I transferred my other sites away from Doteasy. But I still had to switch Ironic Sans to a new registrar. I know a lot of people don’t like Network Solutions, but since my photography domain is already registered with them, I decided to move ironicsans.com over there, too. Maybe I’ll move it somewhere else eventually. But for now I just wanted to be away from Doteasy.

So I logged into my Network Solutions account and began the process of transferring ironicsans.com from Doteasy. I received this reply from Network Solutions:

**IMPORTANT: One or more of the domain name registration(s) is in lock-status with your current Registrar. Please contact your current Registrar to unlock the domain. Once this domain is off of “lock-status,” please follow the instructions in the authorization e-mail to ensure our ability to process this transfer request.

Lock status? Doteasy offers lock-status protection, but they charge extra money for that. I never paid for that, never wanted that, and I just want to get my damn domain away from them! Why is it in lock status? Did those bastards lock my domain so I can’t escape them? I logged into their Control Panel, where a person who pays for the service is able to lock or unlock the domain at will, but the only option available is to lock the domain. So how the hell do I unlock it?

Meanwhile, it’s been more than a week since I last wrote to Doteasy. Then this shows up:

Hello David,

Because this account was suspended due to a violation of our terms and conditions, a refund on the unused portion of our hosting services will not be issued.

Regards,

Miguel
Doteasy Customer Service

Miguel doesn’t get it. I never violated their terms and conditions. I hate Miguel.

I wrote back:

I have contacted the person whose e-mail address appeared on the supposed SPAM that you think I sent. He said he sent that e-mail to EIGHT of his friends recommending my website. One of them must have thought it was SPAM and reported it to you. I did NOTHING in violation of your terms and conditions. This overreaction on your part is very frustrating.

But whatever. At this point I want as little to do with Doteasy as possible, so I’d like to transfer my domain to another registrar. But I see you have made unauthorized changes to my registrant information, and put my domain in “Locked” mode…

I understand why you have a strict SPAM policy. I also understand that I am screwed because of it… I now want to take my business elsewhere.

Please stop holding my domain name hostage, and allow me to transfer to a new host.

Thank you.

To this date, I haven’t heard back from Miguel.

So I started over. I opened a new customer request ticket:

I’m trying to transfer my domain away from doteasy, but the registrar I want to move to tells me my domain is in “lock” status with you guys. I don’t want to be in lock status, and never signed up for domain locking. I don’t see a way to turn off lock status myself (just plenty of places telling me that I can turn lock status ON for a fee).

Please tell me why I am in lock status, and remove the feature so I can transfer my domain away from doteasy. Thank you.

Please don’t let Miguel get it. Let it go to anybody in Customer Service but Miguel. Please not Miguel.

Finally, I heard back from “Steve.”

Hello David,

I have submitted a request on your behalf to have your domain unlocked and it should be completed shortly. Please note that if you transfer your domain name registration away from Doteasy, you may no longer be eligible for our hosting services free of charge.

Due to changes in registry transfer rules, we use domain registrar-lock to prevent unauthorized transfers and domain hijacking from occurring. This is a safety precaution we have implemented as a domain registration service provider.

Please refrain from making any DNS changes or updating any contact information as doing so will cause your domain to relock.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Regards,

Steve
Doteasy Customer Service

That’s right. They automatically lock every domain. This is a feature that they advertise all over their site as available for purchase for almost $10 per year. But if you don’t buy it, they give it to you for free anyway. That’s deceitful. If you know anyone on Doteasy that’s paying for the feature, tell them to stop.

Now, after all is said and done, I finally have moved everything away from Doteasy. They are not my host, and they are not my registrar. They have my money, and they better not charge me any hosting-renewal fees for anything they think I may have opted into when I signed up (I can see that argument coming). But the lessons I’ve learned are clear:

1) Doteasy asks you to pay for things they give you for free.

2) Doteasy has terrible customer service

3) Anyone can have any website taken down just by sending an e-mail, if it’s hosted by Doteasy

4) If you have a website hosted at Doteasy, you should leave them as soon as possible

5) Spam sucks, but zero-tolerance policies can screw the innocent

6) If you write a really long blog entry, you shouldn’t be surprised if people don’t read all the way to the end. If you made it this far, thanks for reading my rant.

Update: Having gotten strong responses from readers recommending various recourses I could take, I thought I’d try asking Doteasy for a refund one last time before I complain to the credit card company or Better Business Bureau. I sent Doteasy one last e-mail, pointing them to this blog entry, and letting them know about the thousands of people who have read it so far. I didn’t have high hopes, but I didn’t expect this, either:

Hello David,

Thank you for your email.

As per the Terms and Conditions, we strictly enforce the Zero-Spam regulation. As the reply sent to you previously on July 04, we will not be able to refund the remainder paid hosting service. We have already offerred you the exception to re-activate your account without the Spam Re-activation fee of US$25.00.

Regards,

Annie
Doteasy Customer Service
“Join the hosting revolution!”

So now I’m lucky they didn’t charge me an extra $25 on top of everything else for their own screw-up? I hate these people more and more. Grr.

I’ll update again if anything further comes of this.

Comments

Don’t let them get away with this. I’d keep pressing for my money back if I were you. What they did, and are doing, is underhanded and deceitful. I’m glad you could get away.

Wow! I do understand a zero tolerance policy, but they screwed themselves by not giving you, their customer, a way to work things out over the phone. I agree with Jared. Don’t let them keep your money. Contact your credit card company and see if you can dispute charges for those unused months.

I Was searching for Nice T-shirts sites since long back Recently i had gone through one site with different kinds of t-shirts,Including ones we can purchase them online.
http://www.rhinestonetshirts.com

they absolutely owe you that money! you need to speak to as high-up a person as you can get hold of — as obviously miguel is a barely-funtioning retard.

Have you shared your experience with Consumerist yet?

Doteasy is the worst. Absolutely terrible.

Actually, not the worst. The company I used after Doteasy was worse. It was a small outfit which was later bought by a guy who turned out to be a serial scam artist. I had several sites disappear without warning one day. The guy had actually changed my registration to his name. I had to spend months talking to the registrar, fighting to get my domain back. Fortunately, he owed them money as well, so in the end they were pretty helpful.

My thoughts on the matter:

1) Contact your credit card company and dispute DotEasy’s charges. Explain that they cancelled your account with no prior warning for something that you did not do.

2) You may want to file a complaint with BBB. See http://www.bbb.org/

If you’re still looking for hosting, I can recommend the following places that I have done business with for several years:

Web Hosting: http://www.nearlyfreespeech.net/
DNS: http://www.everydns.net/
Domain registration: http://www.npsis.com/

If you have any questions about webhosting, feel free to follow up with me directly.

Cheers,

— Doug

The company was so incompetent they couldn’t even screw you on purpose. You foiled their evil plan with the superhuman feat of resending the request and getting a different customer service person. Lucky they have two.

Hold on…. If Tom was responsible for the emails, how did that spam report get traced back to you? Unless he sent it through your servers then the email should contain his IP and not yours.

But no doubt that its pretty deceptive to sell domain locking when they offer it for free.

Hi, s. The header information does indeed contain Tom’s IP and not mine (I stripped the IP information out when I cut-and-pasted the e-mail to protect Tom). I don’t think whoever reported it looked at the header information at all, or they would have noticed it came from someone they know. They looked only at the body of the e-mail, which contained just a link to a page on my website, and then looked up who hosted the website. -David

Ouch. I’ve got a site hosted by DotEasy as well, and I’ve had several problems recently — most notably, they removed ImageMagick (a fairly standard module on which key features of MovableType are dependent) and then when I asked them to reinstall it, they told me I should just switch to WordPress. Gah. Resolving that took 20 days of gritted teeth. Good luck with your new host!

If you paid for the service on a credit card, you may be able to dispute the charges on your statement and have them charge-back doteasy. sounds like you’ve got a legitimate case. no service = no fee.

they decided to quit you, get your money back.

There’s a column in PC World magazine about consumers getting screwed over by companies; people write in and PC World contacts the various companies on their behalf. You might try writing to them to try and get your money back.

www.pcworld.com

Thanks for the insightful rant about Doteasy; I’m sorry for the trouble they put you through, but hey, you’re getting the word out (and now Google’s going to work for you, and hopefully searches with Doteasy will reflect your account of their heinous business practices!).

Tank’s right. I’ll be interested to hear what happens with your “case” should you choose to pursue it.

Kel is right, I think Consumerist may find this interesting.

My Favourite girls name… SUE! Disgraceful conduct on their behalf. SUE!

Regards.

David,

I was touched by your long and powerful rant. I would recommend contacting your credit card company, if you complain and have a valid argument they usually award your case. They are usually for the consumer more then the businesses, when it comes to the fraud dept. that is.

On any half, depending on your hosting needs, I would like to give you free hosting that equals the months you paid to DotEasy that you never recieved. I won’t say my company name or url as I’m not tryin to advertise, just trying to help you out.

Email me if interested. Thank for your long powerful rant and I hope you get your money back.

-Daniel Crothers

I don’t quite belive you… i think you really are a spammer who invented a story :)

Have you thought about contacting the phone numbers found here: http://www.dnsstuff.com/tools/whois.ch?ip=doteasy.com

Besides going through your credit card company, you may also want to try the Better Business Bureau. You can file a complaint, which will often can get the company to resolve the dispute. Here is the URL for the BBB in Canada which is where DotEasy is located:
http://www.bbbvan.org/index.php

Great rant, and yes I read all the way to the end :) About a year ago, some spammer accessed my webhost’s outgoing mail server, and proceeded to send out a bazillion spam emails that looked like they came from me. Turned out it was a security hole in MovableType, of which I was running the older version 2. Let that be a lesson!

Yep, there’s a lot of shady webhosting services out there. A lot of people create these services because they think it’s a get rich quick scheme, don’t put all the planning necessary into it, and then it evolves into something like DotEasy. At least we all know better now. =)

Seems pretty obvious what you need to do. Send an email to 7 or 8 friends extolling the virtues of doteasty hosting services, including a link their web site. Then have one of the friends register a complaint that doteasy.com is spamming them.

It seems that you are too overreacted.
The first thing you should do is to ask Doteasy.com for more detail info on why they think you are a spammer. I believe that they have a Terms and Conditions on that and they have the right to suspend your account first.

Premacy, you think he OVERREACTED??? You’re nuts. And you clearly don’t live in NYC. David, is there a corporate office number for these people? Forget a customer service number, I’d call the company president and offer and earful.

Dude, keep going and get your money back. It’s an obnoxious and potentially illegal act on their part, and they’re just assuming no one will call them out on it. So report them, etc., and then just flip the switch on your inner psycho and make them regret doing any of this. Persist. At the very least it’ll be a kind of artistic project, something to obsess over. While you’re at it, avoid buying email services from Dotster - that’s my incidental advice viz other web hosts.

And good luck.

like you I am an old dot easy sucks customer and have several sites hosted there, at this moment, their server is down! its been 2 hours with no email and I was looking for a good hosting company to switch to when I googled “doteasy unreliable” and that lead me to your site.
I hope this keywords help even more people
and i hate spammers almost as much as I hate the spam cops, the same crap but self proclaimed legal.

Sorry to hear your story dude. It was pretty touching.

You probably have recouse in civil court if Doteasy refuses to refund your money. It would depend on the exact wording of the contract, of course. The problem is you probably aren’t willing to go to all that effort for $100 or however much it is. Their business practices are pretty despicable; I really can’t believe they were that dense.

Wow, I found this a very interesting blog message, and am extremely surprised I actually read the whole thing. As for the message, I agree with most other people in saying that you should keep trying to get your money back, and try to advertise that Doteasy is bad etc…

Lets Mailinator the hell out of them, just for the sweet dramatic irony. common, lets go get this guys money back!

I can’t even remember the number of problems I’ve had with knee-jerk web hosts and domains I’ve setup for people. Your doing the right thing, but ultimately their T&C’s, that you accepted, are the perfect defense and they will always argue that you sent out spam. Headers can be faked, as can too and from address, and its just your word against a piece of spam.

It’s not right, but you will ultimately always lose this situation unless the webhost is very understanding. Or you can take it to court, that will suck 6 months and a lot of cash out of your life.

For those who may have problems with them in the future I turned up this in the doteasy.com registration page at tucows
Doteasy Technology Inc.
Suite 210 - 3602 Gilmore Way
Burnaby, BC V5G 4W9
CA
Phone: 604-434-4307
Fax: 604-608-6832

But atleast now you can “Join the hosting revolution!”

So that’s what a webhosting revolution is?

What A Mess Man.
Sounds Like Doteasy Blows Pretty Hard.

Even if you call the Doteasy phone number listed in WHOIS, all you get is a message that says that they don’t provide phone support. DOTEASY has an automated business model that makes money by providing -NO- live customer support, and by deceptive practices such as selling odmain locking and then locking all domains by default anyway.


Everything that was said in the oriuginal post also happened to me!

If you do some googling, you will find the phone number to their machine room, where they really don’t liek to get calls.

Aargh, I have 5 sites with Doteasy, and have recommended them to friends b/c they’re free. Now I’m very hesitant to continue doing business with them. And the automatic lock is just straight out scary. Bastards.

I’m late to this party, but this is the best advice I’ve seen:

                  Seems pretty obvious what you need to do. Send an email to 7 or 8 friends extolling the virtues of doteasty hosting services, including a link their web site. Then have one of the friends register a complaint that doteasy.com is spamming them.

Very good reading. Peace until next time.
WaltDe

I just registered www.doteasysucks.com as well as www.dotsleazy.com - They’ve been screwing me only for a couple weeks now, but I am determined to help get the word out.

I strongly suggest you go to http://reports.internic.net/cgi/registrars/problem-report.cgi to report them.

Maybe this should be placed on future websites :)

http://www.spicypixel.net/doteasy.png

I am having the same problem as this guy and am at my wits end and don’t know what to do, they keep sending my responses to my questions to an outdated e-mail, which I have updated as soon as I switched it. I am trying to switch to another server company, and they are purposefully not letting me go, don’t know what to do, but please never sign up with these guys, they are ruining my business.

Thats down right scary. I’m glad i personally know my hosting company. Anything happens I IM the guy in charge and voila.. its all sorted :-)

I’ve seen it referred to already but you cannot let these guys get away with this because they’ll just do it to the next guy and the next guy. A letter from your lawyer might be all that is required but I would definitely get my lawyer to send that letter.

These guys BLOW! I have over 100 sites with them and they have NO support. They offers $4.95 domain registration for 1 week until Aug 31. (Instead of $25) I registered several for clients. Sept 1 we received an email that one that was paid and confirmed…was unavailable. So I wanted to cahanged it. They said it would be $25. I had to register the site and paid but asked for $20 credit towards a future domain because of their mistake. (If I had been properly informed that it was unavailable…I would have changed it BEFORE Aug 31) They are offering me $20 credit towards extra services (like domain locking) on that 1 account. I have explained it to them 3 times and each time they replied like it was my first email. It was then escalated to Annie who also treated another 3 emails with the same “Previously, you signed up for … using promotional pricing. However, the domain was not available when we attempted to register it and thus, we were not able to register it for you. We offered you in-store credits of US$20.00 to the new account if you sign up a new domain successfully from us.” THEY DON”T GET IT! They don’t care. I sent emails to every email on their contact page asking for an executive in the company with no replies. I Like 0$ host with $25 domian but …there is no service. Forgive my rant.

They also stiff you on the referral fees. They offer $5. But when I noticed a problem…there was Annie. “Your case has been escalated to me. Please keep in mind that after you have successfully clicked through your banner and signed up one account, close your web browser, and open a new one then click through your affiliate banner again and proceed to register your next account. Repeat this for the number of referrals you will be making. If you do not, you will not receive credit for these referrals.” Please keep in mind?? NOWHERE is that written! I don’t have time to waste entering my life story everytime on everysite. When you do 3 or 4 you enter the info once. I can’t call them! They don’t have phones in Canada? I have more sites to register and I HATE these guys! Any suggestions?

theres a gov. emal adress that can blacklist any email adress so send there support email adress in there and there support will be blacklisted wich will lose them busness (he he he)

but i lost the adress in a tragic windows falure and i had to reformat and get the backup that is (stupidly) put in a partion and i lost it

What’s interesting (to me at least) is how the ISP business is a very low-margin, cuthroat industry in many ways. From time to time, there are rumours that ISPs turn a blind eye to spammers on their networks in return for, shall we say, some consideration.

This ISP’s apparenty idiotic behaviour in reaction to your case makes me think that they doth protest rather too much…

So - what do we think people? How about a little pokey-wokey with their network to see what’s going orn around there… hmmm?

When I get this kind of treatment from any merchant my last effort is to make life uncomfortable for them by making sure all the government bodies who regulate them are informed and all my friends know. This includes blogging the incident. Since you went through the channels and tried to get them to recognize and correct the problem without good response, they deserve to be blacklisted. I’ve run companies before and would never put up with this sort of treatment in my business toward a client. I sincerely hope they reap the karma of their actions. Good luck to you and may your future internet adventures be delightful and fulfilling..

Doteasy is not free. They lock your domain and you have to renew it with them. The renewal is nearly triple than other registrars ask, so you pay for your “free” hosting more than with other providers.
If you try to transfer your domain they will not release the authorisation code and will not reply to your support requests. You can be official owner of the domain (and you have also some responsibilities) but the real owner of your domain is Doteasy. Call it “free hosting” … :-/

Agreed: DotEasy is a horrible host. I moved away from them years ago but today when I tried to change my nameservers — lo, and behold — I can only do so through their horrid back end. That even though the registrar is Tucows. I wouldn’t want to even begin enumurating the kinds of problems I experienced through Doteasy.com. Avoid at all costs.

It’s 2:00am on a Monday morning. My wife has a bad cold and is sleeping soundly on the couch behind me, so as not to wake the baby down the hall with her coughing.

I have a million and one things to do in the morning, and the baby will be up in about 4 hrs, yet I’m still up because of an amazing service known as “Doteasy technical support”.

I have just finished with a four page complaint that I was about to send to them, and realized. Why do I bother. You put all the effort into explaining youself, and/or attempting to rectify situations promptly, only to have them kindly copy and paste license agreements, terms and conditions, regulations etc into a mail form, and send it off to you.

I could write an essay on the reasons to not use doteasy, but maybe I’ll save that for the guy that says he registered www.doteasysucks.com.
That’s how I found this place. I was trying to register that domain myself…from Doteasy :)

A few comments:

In reply to a post: yes we have phones in Canada!

I thought the “domain name hostage” comment was hilarious…just so you know.

Things to consider about “doteasy (Join the hosting revolution)”

I will include a snippit from my email to doteasy….should I send this attention Miguel?
(actually I always get “jonathan”…sounds a lot like miguel…maybe it is Miguel..operating too embarrassed after the above story to use his real name?)

An any rate, here’s the snip!

I have already decided that I will no longer be using Doteasy’s services to register, or renew domain names. I have sent email in the past to “support”, and

have been extremely unhappy with the responses. The responses have been properly formatted and professional, without contest. However, herein lay the

problems.

Problems:

1. I registered a name with a 0$ hosting account because I wanted the name registered before it was taken by someone else, but also before discussing hosting

packages with my client. Now, part of the reason we decided to use Doteasy was the referral credit system. I talked my customer into an Ultra hosting

package, as it would generate $50USD for me. Not the case. $5 for the $0 registration, upgrades not included! Fine. There would be no ultra hosting for

this customer, and no $120 for Doteasy.

2. That being said, I had to ask before the referral monies were dispursed, but we won’t get into details about that.

3. Support: Email response time 24hrs or more. Unacceptable. I can’t operate with issues that take a week to resolve. My customers are businesses and

individuals that live down the street. I pass them in line at the grocery store. They have issues, I get a call that minute, and they want an answer by

5pm…ya know?

Live chat…excellent idea…sales only, and only during business hours???
hrmm..

4. Pricing: In your FAQ section:

Q: How can Doteasy charge so much less than the competitors and be able to stay in business? Are there hidden fees?

Let me tell you.

Doteasy(basic $0) Competition(basic plan)

bandwidth: 1GB/mo. 250GB/mo.
email: 10 accts 500 accts
storage: 100MB 5GB
php no yes
mysql no yes(10)
frontpage no yes
asp no yes
multiple domains per account no yes
sub-domains no yes(25)

Hosting Cost $25 $47
Domaing only N/A ($25)

To sum this up. Doteasy charges minimum of $25 USD per domain registered. For $22 more, the competition offers a hosting package that will provide enough

storage, and traffic quotas to accommodate 50 domains by the Doteasy $0 hosting package standards of traffic and storage. What does this mean to the

consumer: $1 per domain (roughly)

I’m generally a pretty loyal guy. I’ll go to the ends of the earth for my employers, do anything for my family, and I stuck it out with Doteasy until this

whole domain expirey process kicked in, and I realized that I’m being billed $1.39 exchange rate on CAD currency. With a credit-card only payment option.

And week-long turnarounds on email support. The realization really kicked in though when I realized that I actually have a folder on my computer called

“doteasy rants”.

That ain’t right.

At any rate, I am going to bookmark this site, and keep with the Doteasy bashing revolution…perhaps a link to http://www.doteasysucks.com will appear when the site is online, and we can all provide input to keep it going?

Sorry for the length of this post,
Until next time.
Mike

I am in the middle of moving my domain reg from Doteasy to domain.com and now I need a transfer authorization code. I requested it 48 Hours ago and still nothing… This is just the latest of several issiues I have had whith them and cant wait to rid my-self of them.

I have been trying to get Doteasy to release my domain to my new registrar since the 22nd February when I entered the correct authorization code (it is now the 11th March). I would advise anyone who is with them to allow at least two months to avoid any transfer problems. My business website and e-mails are now down and I have had to contact them numerous times. I have not been able to activate the DNS transfer either.They are now stating it may be another five days. I transferred another domain name at the same time from another provider and the process took four days and was completely painless. I cannot urge people strongly enough to keep away from Doteasy. I have also noticed that KingKoopa is very active on noticeboards trying to dispel the negative comments by actual users of Doteasy. He or she seems to work either for Doteasy or its PR company, both need all the help they can get. STAY AWAY otherwise you’ll end up like me Googling every web review/ discussion group to make sure no-one else makes the same mistake and goes through what I’m going through now.

KEEP hammering them for a refund, this make for great reading.

I know this happened over a year ago, but I work for Doteasy and after hearing your story I just wanted to go over your concerns. (I’m not being paid to write this or anything, I just hope I can give you an “insiders view” on some of these issues).

A. General concerns

1. Phone Support?
- We now offer phone support 7 days a week 8-5 PM PST. 604-434-4307. This was not the case back in 2006, and overwhelmingly people love that we are now providing phone support.

2. Domain Locking?
- Doteasy’s “domain lock” feature is definitely not charging the customer for something they are already getting. This feature adds functionality to our online control panel, enabling customers to lock/unlock their own domain names.

I hope you can see that, as in David’s case, the functionality to lock/unlock his own domain name in the online control panel was not provided because he was not subscribed to the “domain locking” feature. As a result, he simply contacted us to unlock the domain name for him and that did not cost him a penny.

The “domain locking” feature used to be quite popular a few years ago, but that is no longer the case. Unless you feel you absolutely need 24/7 control over your domain locked/unlocked status this feature may or may not be right for you. Keep in mind that you only really need to unlock a domain when you need to transfer it from one registrar to another, and domain names are registered for 1+ years a time so you won’t be transferring registrars often.

The lack of this information on the sign up page is in my opinion a form of lying by omission (not to mention misleading). The best (ie. most honest) thing for Doteasy to do would be to modify the sign up page to be more clear, or simply to enable this feature for everyone for free.

3. Refunds

Nowhere does Doteasy say that they offer refunds, or has a 30 day money back guarantee, or a satisfaction guarantee, or anything of that nature. In fact, quite the opposite is true - all of Doteasy’s services are offered on a pre-paid basis and are non-refundable. Any/all refunds that are offered are offered entirely on a case-by-case basis as a special exception, and only if the issue is brought to our attention within a certain time period from the invoice date.

In other words, even if David did not encounter any problems and loved his service, never did anything bad with his services, etc… and he just out of the blue one day decided he wanted to cancel his hosting a few months early, he would not be eligible for a full or partial refund. We could however have downgraded his hosting to the $0 plan and issued him in-store credits which he could have used to renew his domain name for additional years before transferring it away.

As much as the consumer might balk at this situation, you must admit it is a company’s right to be able to set forth a “no-refunds” policy if that company wishes. (Even if that means the company is shooting itself in the foot by losing potential customers in the process).

Here’s another way of looking at it - would you call up a long distance communications company and try to get a refund for the unused portion of a pre-paid long distance calling card? Probably not, right? So what makes pre-paid web hosting so different that people behave differently? The only thing I can think of is price. The price is higher so it matters to you more if you don’t get a refund.

Most consumers nowadays are bad consumers. They never read the fine print. As a result, they end up assuming all kinds of things. And due to a hyper-competitive market, if something.. anything… goes wrong with the service, they will immediately complain, demand a full refund, immediately transfer their services away, etc. Why does everyone complain to the credit card company/bbb if they don’t get a refund/instant gratification? I mean, assuming you are an honest person and knew full well that you were signing up for a pre-paid non-refundable service that you remember purchasing yourself… seriously, why even bother bringing this to their attention? There’s no way that if you started the conversation with them like that, listing all those things that they would have any sympathy whatsoever for you because they would see that you were just complaining to try and abuse the credit card system to your advantage.

Most people can understand the concept of pre-paid services and are comfortable with paying for them, as long as they have some assurance that the service they are paying for will be provided to them in full and will work reliably.

4. Spam & Zero-Tolerance Policies

As of 2007 Doteasy does have a more sophisticated approach to spammers. We have the ability to flag accounts with different markers, such as “first time spammer”. In other words, our first action is never to immediately shut off all service to your account!

For a first-time spammer for example who is only sending out a small number of spam emails, we would only react with the minimum response required (ex. sending them a polite reminder email regarding the complaint and asking them to remember not to break our terms of service).

For repeat offenders or big time spammers, we are required to intervene immediately, but we still react only with as much force as is absolutely necessary - for example disabling their mail service only but leaving their hosting service alone, and notifying them of the situation.

Of course, there is some room for discretion. If we see the spam is also breaking many other terms of service (copyright infringement, etc) it is likely that we would come down more firmly.

B. Concerns from other people

1. ImageMagick?
- ImageMagick is supported by Doteasy on only one of our servers. Ask us and we can enable this for you. I have been told we restrict this because of a security issue with ImageMagick (it apparently needs shell access to work).

2. 1.39 exchange rate
- Pay using a Visa or Mastercard and select US dollars as your preferred currency and this won’t apply to your purchases. Instead the bank for your credit card will use the daily going exchange rate.

3. Authorization Codes For Domain Names
- With few exceptions you can now email this to yourself from within our online control panel, the member zone.

other stuff:
- there’s probably three sides to this story and I’m not at work right now so I can’t look up your account to try and see what really happened =(
- your site design is well done!
- if david is reading this, I can’t speak for the people who were working with us in 2006 and are no longer with our team, but I apologize for the poor customer service experience and you have every right to vent about it. I’m glad that you had a good run with us up until that point and I wish you continued success for this website with your new host.

does anyone have recommendations on the best hosting service for a Miva site? we are having some problems with our current host, but it seems like good service in hosting is getting hard to find.

I to am a Doteasy victim. I have not experienced a Spam violation but I have experienced numberous customer service, hosting and transfer issues. I have had the same experience in transering my domains as you have listed. The only difference is that you need to read the help manual carefully because it states that if you transfer your domain you could be charged a $35 hosting fee and that it does not automaticly cancel with the domain. I recently transfered three domains and only one of them has hosted email. They canceled the hosting and my email is currently down… and assured me that in 7-10 business days my domain will complete its transfer to my new registar. NO EMAIL for 7-10 days?!?! There is NO reason for this! When I asked my they didn’t leave the domain open until the transfer was completed they stated that they appoligise for the problem but it would take longer to reistablish the account and to wait for the transfer to take place. The account was prepaid to 2011. There was NO reason for that!

LET’S ALL SEE THIS:

“I know this happened over a year ago, but I work for Doteasy and after hearing your story I just wanted to go over your concerns.”
THIS GUY IS THE ACTUAL OWNER?

“Authorization Codes For Domain Names
- With few exceptions you can now email…”
BLAH BLAH

“other stuff:
- there’s probably three sides to this story and I’m not at work right now so I can’t look up your account to try and see what really happened =(”
SEEMS LIKE THIS FLIP IS AT WORK

“There’s no way that if you started the conversation with them like that,…”
‘THEM’ WHO? YOU ARE THE OWNER

…”listing all those things that they would have any sympathy whatsoever for you because they would see…”
SEE WHAT, YOUR BACK-OFFICE THEFT?

…”that you were just complaining to try and abuse the credit card system to your advantage.” MORE DECIET FROM THE BACK-OFFICE.

“Of course, there is some room for discretion.”
AND YOU’VE SHOWN US NONE… MAGELL/DAVID/STEVE/ANNIE

The “domain locking” feature used to be quite popular a few years ago, but that is no longer the case.
CAN YOU READ “LIAR”?

“Doteasy’s “domain lock” feature is definitely not charging the customer for something they are already getting.
WOULD “ALREADY GETTING” MEAN GETTING CANNUCKED?

“This feature adds functionality to our online control panel, enabling customers to lock/unlock their own domain names.” AGAIN LYING SPINNED, LIED TO, TILTED AND CANNUCKED

LET’S ALL HAVE ANOTHER RATION OF YOUR DIATRIBE

This is awesome, because this guy is so full of shit. I’ve been busted by them for spam on different sites (since switched providers), and can confirm that they have a 3-strike policy when it comes to spam.

Buddy, this wasn’t ONE email that got forwarded to a few people - You must have been a chronic offender.

LOL. I realize that this is an old post, but I got so caught up in the hilariously entertaining story, and I only stumbled upon it because the name you used (not his real name you said) IS the real name of someone I was googling (“T.D.”). Because the real one thinks I sent not just spam, but evil photo “spam” (pictures of he and I—and no, not dirty ones, just ones where we weren’t supposed to be in the same place at the same time) to his, um, wife! So every now and then I google myself (like a paranoid lunatic) and him (like a stalker who really doesn’t want to know anything about him) to try to make sure no new bad things associated with my name regarding him are appearing anywhere. Just trying to stay one step ahead of a REALLY EVIL SPAMMER (one guess on who: the angry, spoiled, rich-enough-to-hire-a-hacker, adult daughter who did stalk me online) to see if I can find out what “I’ve” done [now] before I get accused of it so I can be prepared (or catch the bugger at it maybe!). Anyhow. I laughed my butt off at the “YOU ARE THE OWNER!” response to the doteasy message. I tried using them for one of my business sites once, but had a whole slough of problems and frustrations with them, and after three months of wanting to pull all my hair out and other things, I also moved on to a different host. I hope your new host is not making your life difficult and you’re not “sending” any spam, just like I also hope I’m not “sending” any emails to people that could somehow incriminate —well— someone (because apparently, I did it twice!!!).

Re: “I Was searching for Nice T-shirts…”

Did anyone else notice that this post, all about t-shirt spam, has a spam comment about where you can purchase t-shirts? The irony, it is thick with this one. Thick.

There’s something wrong with the mind of Doteasy. I have also hosted many sites with them over the past years, for the good and easy deal. Recently I transferred a domain, or I tried I should say, to XXX (not worth mentioning, another error), but the request was processed with a delay, came in 2 days after the expiration date and thus could not be processed. Two days late!! Even though I could prove the error was with XXX, the transferring company, Doteasy didn’t bend.

Now here’s the surprise: they claim to reserve my domain name in some registry for 2 months or so after the expiration date, for a small fee, so they could give the name back to me. And I proposed to pay that small fee. But no: I would have to pay the FULL annual fee of $25 (for domain registration, which is $10 or $15 with other registrars, plus “FREE” hosting!!) in order to get access to the name and transfer it to the other registrar. It’s another amazing example of Doteasy’s dead black-and-white thinking. There was no talking with them, so I am moving my 10 plus domains with them, well before they expire.

I am upset right now, therefore my rant, because Doteasy billing just sent me a notice that I need to update my credit card for the expired domain. It expired May 22, more than 3 months ago. Why on earth should I??

Anyway, thanks for that elaborate post, Ironic Sans. I’ll post about Doteasy in my blog.

Doteasy refuses to release & transfer my domain unless I pay their “domain release fee.” I initiated a transfer well in advance of expiration, but they locked the domain & didn’t respond to my request for it to be unlocked until after it expired. Tech support has been useless so far. This company should be avoided at all costs.