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Interactiveonline.com: Testimonial – Is Interactiveonline.com good or bad?

As I get back in the swing of things with the May 2010 top 25 list of webhostingstuff.com I find interactiveonline.com in the number 9 position. This is another one of those sites when you try to do a research on the company name you get results unrelated to the hosting company. They do not appear to be registered with the Better Business Bureau, not like I would hold that against them. But it seems a bit of a desperate search for even positive reviews on this site. I found a few complaints in regards to getting a response from this company, which might have to be because there is no other contact then the support board. What reviews and for that matter affiliates sites are scattered by anything relevant to “interactive online”. So I am going to spend most of my time on their site. I am going to break this into two separate parts, the first part covering:

Terms of Service

Merchant Service

Affiliate Program

Meanwhile I have put a ticket in with them, to see just how fast they will respond to me. These days I can’t say I am too thrilled with a hosting company that does not offer chat support.

In the second part I will cover BeGreenNow.com and their relationship to Interactive Online.

Terms of Service for Interactiveonline.com

http://interactiveonline.com/about/policies

I am only skimming here, and I really am not focusing on the whole terms of service. But here is what sticks out as I skim for certain pieces such as uptime guarantee, refund, reasons to have your account shut down…….. Pardon my random approach at this.

The first thing that sticks out is “We reserve the right to remove any account without advanced notice for any reason Interactive Online sees fit. “.  That’s ….. friendly. Keep in mind this is a unlimited space hosting company.

Then there is the 90 day guarantee, exclusions apply:

Money back guarantee is only available on our Shared Hosting, cPanel Reseller, Hosted Spam Filter & Exchange Hosting accounts. Setup fees are non-refundable. The 90 day money back guarantee is waived on all Special Offers including the free membership to YouJoomla.

Please note the special offer of 25% off on their order page, and they charge a $25 setup fee if you sign up for less then 2 years. I am willing to bet they will charge you the setup fee should you cancel prior to 90 days.

Backups – While they do back ups, the restoration of those back ups are not free unless of hardware failure. Other wise the cost to restore a back up is $25. I see a lot of hosts that don’t charge for that.

Then there is their uptime Guarantee.

Interactive Online’s 99.9% Uptime Guarantee & Credits

In the event that there is network outage*, Interactive Online will credit the monthly service charge for the following month’s service as calculated below and as measured 24 hours a day in a calendar month, with the maximum credit not to exceed 25% of the monthly service charge for the affected month.

I would advise paying attention to the Service credit and Claim Review Process. In essence you have to put a ticket in to request the credit and you have to document the down time. It may take 10 days for them to accept or reject your claim.

FEES!!!

If your account with your old hosting provider does not use the cPanel control panel there will be additional fees.

Real-time Block List (RBL) Fees & Fines

If a customer’s site is hacked, spammed from or there is any other reason why the server gets listed on an RBL, the customer will be responsible for all fees and fines related to getting removed from the RBLs. Customer will be billed $100 for every RBL the server is listed on.

If the customer refuses to upgrade the scripts to the newest stable version we will upgrade the script for them and charge a $25 upgrade fee. Interactive Online is not responsible for any problems the upgrade may cause.

Interactiveonline.com’s Merchant services

My first thought of signing up with webhosting company for an affiliate program is not to. You might wonder why. Looking through the list I see PayPal.com, Interactiveonline.com gets a referral fee from PayPal if you sign up under their link. I would just go to PayPal.com directly and sign up for their system. As much as I hate to say it, PayPal is a must for business. Too many people trust them over handing out their credit cards to people.

The same is true for every merchant account they get set up, and they may very well get a cut of all your sales. I first learned about this from a company called Total Merchant when they tried to get me to refer my customers to their service. It was not til I started receiving checks that I learned I was not just getting a referral fee I was getting a portion of their sales, which I am not really all that fond of the idea. I soon realized that the company that refereed me was getting a cut of my transactions. I wish I would have learned this 5 years earlier.

I soon realized it was a good idea to shop around for a merchant account every year, and even pit merchants against each other. Not to mention pit the merchant I was with to compete with them for a better offer. Sometimes the current merchant will give you a better deal if they see the other offers. Even still when they made an offer that claimed to be better then my previous offer I had to read the terms of service to make sure they were not compensating someway with a new fee.

These days it is easy to find a merchant (well easy if your in the United States), then when I first started 11 years ago. For that matter I got better at figuring out what a good service was and the last 5 merchant accounts I signed up had no set up fees. No middle man between me and the merchant service. Which is why I would advise avoiding Interactiveonline.com for merchant service if you decided to take them up on hosting I had a friend that was burned by Homestead and went from a $19 a month account to over $120 a month.

I recommend contacting your bank about merchant account, as opposed to your host. Especially looking at the some of the set-up fees here ranging from free to $949. Clearly you want to make every penny you get from your customers count, and there is no point in giving your webhost a cut of your credit card transactions.

Interactiveonline.com’s Affiliate Program

They pay $90 per referral on shared hosting

6% reoccurring fee on other services.

They have lots of wonderful “green” webhosting banners for you to use.

No secondary affiliate program that I can find at the moment.

  • Affiliate commissions will not be paid for accounts that are canceled within 90 days.
  • Affiliate commissions are only paid for new customers that are referred to us
  • Affiliate revenue will not be paid until referred customer has been an activated customer for at least 90 days.
  • Referred customers must be active, in good standing and all past due invoices paid in order for affiliate to collection commissions on the referred account.
  • Affiliates can withdrawal earned revenue once their affiliate revenue reaches $90 total
  • If an account the affiliate referred used a promo code, the affiliate commission will be discounted by the same percentage or fixed amount. If the offer is a savings percentage , then the affiliate commission will be discounted for the same percentage. If it is a fixed amount savings the commission will be discount for the fixed amount.

On that last point, it pretty much means they are not willing to pay an affiliate and discount the customer at the same time. Say for example they have a offer for 25% off:

Use promo code SAVE25 to save 25% on any billing cycle. Offer good for new accounts & first billing cycle only.

So instead of $90 the affiliate would get $67.50 that is $22.50 less.

Next stop the Interactiveonline.com ticket system

So far the only method I can find to contact this company is via this link

https://interactiveonline.com/support/submitticket.php

It took them 47 minutes to send me a response.  Timing wise its not too bad, but this is a sales question and other companies that provide chat and phone sales support are going to beat them to the sell.

One of the things I would give my techs grief for if they had done this ticket is not greeting the customer, and not closing with a signature.  I felt it was that you had to make the customer feel welcome.  Especially during the holiday season I would have everyone use something along the lines of wishing you the best in this holiday season.   I wanted my techs to look like human beings and not robots.   With this, I feel like I got a response from a robot.  No hello or anything here.  Or acknowledgement of my name.  For that matter my business partner would have sales staff give out information to entice people in, such as good reasons to sign up for service.  As you can tell from my writings I am not a sales person.

I am not sure I buy that they have been around for 13 years, or had any long periods of down time.  Perhaps they have been around that long.  I tend to doubt it as the only package I see are unlimited accounts.  I have to wonder if they were around for the last 13 years what were the packages they offered before.

My  thoughts on what I found

When I first saw the name of this company I thought I had a short review, considering search engine results are not the best for “interactive online”, the words can apply to a lot of things like games and virtual tours. But a little digging into the site and I find an overwhelming amount of detail.  Anyone that reads the terms of service would pause before ordering.   The cost of having to pay for repairs from a hacking attempt regardless if it was the customers fault or not would defiantly make me avoid the host.

In my next post I uncover claim to claim to be a green host is overboard. Details on their green program are limited at best as they have a certificate for 8 metric tons of carbon and something in their terms of service about buying one tree per customer. Looking at my email it cost them $112. There is no listing of how many trees have been planted.  Frankly based off what I found I find it hard to trust this company.

Green Hosting, Earth friendly, or Just for Show

Today I went to Burger King. Probable not the place to be while I work on recovering a 6 pack stomach I lost from 10 years of long hours in a chair. But I wanted some French Fries, and it had been weeks since I last visited BK so I think I deserve a little slack. In front of me was a guy that ordered 2 Quad Stackers, 1 large fry, 1 large onion ring, and he asked for the a large diet Coke. The single drink did not clue me into the fact this was all his meal til I saw him sitting by himself. By the time I got a medium Coke and Large fry, the guy was sitting at a bench working on his second burger from his 3000 calorie meal.

This is pretty much is what I see of buying energy credits, planting a tree, or / and claims of buying more efficient servers. Its no better then buying the King sized diet Coke that is some how supposed to balance out all those calories from the meal. Never mind the diet Coke is not going to reduce calories. I suppose you could think of it as there being less calories then that of a non-diet drink. But there is still a huge amount of calories that will have to be worked off. Going green means a total change in habits.

You see a lot of webhosts out there stating they are going green. I am not one to have a problem with environmentally friendly practices. I freely admit to being a tree huger. I get a tree every year on Earth Day, in addition to something else. I try to go bigger then previous years. Last year for Earth Day I started a composter, and about to do a second one so I can cycle out ever year. Which means no more landscape plant trimmings and food being thrown away in addition I don’t have to buy fertilizer. Between the composter and the recycling bin my trash bin gets put to the curb once a month. This year for Earth Day I switched from florescent to led lighting. I tend to do my most major changes during Earth Day, yet I also do other changes through the year. Back in December I bought myself a Kindle right after I sold one of my Hosting companies, 85 books later I have to wonder how many trees did not have to die to provide me reading material. Then there are the cloth bags I got so I don’t have to use plastic, I eat organic food, I love to bike, I could go on and on , on how I try to live a green life style. Granted these chances were costly in the beginning but the changes end up saving me money over the long run. I spent over $1000 on LED LIGHT, but in the end they will save me money on energy costs two fold both in cost of lighting, and less heat generated for my air conditioner to compensate for, a great thing when you live in the Sonoran Desert. Not to mention they have a longer life span then my florescent lights. Then there is nothing like getting a new book for practically 1/3 the cost of its hard back counter part.

Most of the webhosts I looked at seem to focus on only one or two aspect(s) of going “green”. They either plant a tree per customer, or for that matter buy green energy credits, use more energy efficient servers. There is no company wide goal to truly be a green hosting company.

Why not?

Car pooling
LED lighting
recycling trash
recycling computers and servers
skylights
solar panels
installing vampire surge protectors

………… and lots of stuff I am sure I missed.

Hostgator.com is one of the sites that buys energy credits, for that matter they claim “All of our shared and reseller servers are now 130% wind powered!. Considering their servers are located with ThePlant I wondered how that is possible.

http://www.theplanet.com/

Network Whois record

Queried whois.arin.net with “74.54.219.180“…

OrgName:    ThePlanet.com Internet Services, Inc. 
OrgID:      TPCM
Address:    315 Capitol
Address:    Suite 205
City:       Houston
StateProv:  TX
PostalCode: 77002
Country:    US

ReferralServer: rwhois://rwhois.theplanet.com:4321

I am curious to know how they determine their power usage. Though I guess they could just off servers. But what about the equipment that gets the servers online?

Then there is the claim of servers running 35% more efficient. I don’t see anything on the blog or forms about a switch on equipment, or for that matter anything about Earth Day. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and interrupt this to mean that they started using these servers on all new accounts, perhaps even a slow migration to avoid interruption in customer service.

Though it is worth noting that the author of their blog post: http://blog.hostgator.com/2008/08/25/whats-lean-mean-and-now-green/

Has a website on a domain that will expire tomorrow (June 23, 2010):

iemarketservices.com

Buying green energy is a start, buying more efficient servers even better, but also only a start.

I see nothing in regards to recycling, or for that matter what happens to the servers once they are no longer fit to house clients.

FatCow States:

We’re Green!

And our prizes are too! All FatCow datacenters and offices are run by 100% wind energy. Well okay, we don’t have a wind turbine on top of our buildings, but we do purchase Renewable Energy Credits to offset 100% of our power use!

Keep in mind FatCow is part of The Endurance International Group, Inc. This includes servral other hosting companies such as ipage and ipower. http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/fatcow/fatcow-sucks-beware-read-this-fatcow-review-first-before-buying.html iPage.com mentions nothing about green power. However ipower does http://www.ipower.com/green/ . I am not sure why The Endurance International Group, Inc does not have all their 33 + companies listed as green companies.

Greenville Host Guarantees:

  • 200% green with certified wind energy credits
  • State of the art, energy efficient data center

Wind Energy Facts:

In 2009, wind energy supplied an estimated 73 billion kilowatt-hours or enough energy to power 7 million U.S. homes. Web hosting datacenters are responsible for 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Each megawatt of wind produced electricity translates into an economic impact of $1 million. Wind energy has the potential to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 1/3 in the near future.

A few points of interest on Greenville

Network Whois record

Queried whois.arin.net with “!NET-204-93-163-0-1“…

CustName:   Webhostingpad.com
Address:    5005 Newport Dr.
Address:    Suite 503
City:       Rolling Meadows
StateProv:  IL
PostalCode: 60008
Country:    US
RegDate:    2010-03-08
Updated:    2010-03-08

Webhostingpad.com (greenville’s data center) does not show case the “State of the art, energy efficient data center”

The interesting thing is the % on how much data centers changes a lot between hosts. With FatCow it was 1% with another company I looked at it was 15%, then its 8%. I would love to see the real percentage for this. Not to mention the energy credits cost more then actually energy. Something else that is going to cut into that fee that customers pay for their hosting. On the plus side it helps encourage environmentally friendly energy. On the negative that even more money that’s being diverted from customer service.

Who do I recommend?

I would like to thank Edd and TG who recently visited the contact page of my site for the idea for this post.

Ever since I posted my YouTube Video I have been getting the following question:

“Who do you recommend?”

In prior years I must admit I was tempted to say my own companies, but I felt that would ruin the effect of my video. Such a recommendation would be no better then those paid review sites. Not to mention I was not the only honest host that was effected by sites similar to webhostingstuff.com. After 2 years I see a lot of webhosts posting my video on their site. Even though they were competitors, we shared a common problem that would not be solved by ownership of a video that was better left to informing the general public. I owe many hosting companies in part for my search engine rankings and the multiple sites that housed my video. Frankly I owe every individual that posted my video to their site. But I don’t think a simple thanks is enough.

But now things are different and I am not in the hosting industry, and I am not about to recommend my former companies. After all there are non-disclosure agreements. But I am now in a better position to be unbiased. But I can’t recommend any hosts at this time. It may be months before I can say a host is worthy. I have only reviewed nine hosts out of thousands. I am still getting my feet wet so to speak in how to go about reviewing sites. As you can see from my iPage.com and justhost.com review there was a 7 day gap. Because I kept finding out info on Justhost.com. Because of this I had to set a limit on how much time was spent on researching a company. My limit is 2 hours per company / per post, while leaving myself the possibility to come back to that company at a later time for further review. At this point my main focus is on webhostingstuff.com’s top 25 list.  They started me on this so its only fair I give them first coverage.    I am eager to see one of two options happen to review sites as a result of reviewing the hosts that pay for their “top”  spots.

  • They reform and become a true unbiased hosting review site
  • They are put out of business

I would prefer the first. The second only if they refuse to find a conscience. I think every one deserves a chance. After I have finished the bulk of  my reviews for the companies that use webhostingstuff.com’s top 25 I plan to go after other review sites.

I can tell you what to do and to look out for as it seems most of the webhosts (at least out of the first 9 I reviewed) have the same flaws.

  1. The first thing I would do is to see how much their affiliate payouts are paying. I consider anything above 20% of fees too much, and a good indicator that companies are more interested in new customers then retention of old customers.
  2. Read the terms of service. Yes they are long. I usually look for certain key words on the terms of service such as “refund”, “responsible”, “usage” and “shut”. I usually find enough in relation to those four words to determine that I do not like a host. If you still like the host after that perhaps you need to read the whole terms of service. A good thing to look out for is when they state that they are not responsible for anything, even problems that they might have caused themselves. “Unlimited space” companies have plenty of wiggle room to get out of having to give service.
  3. Call them, chat with them, email them. This will give you a sample of how fast they are, and not to mention their grammar. Honestly I would never sign up with a webhost til I reached someone.
  4. Avoid any company that has a “unlimited” space package. There is a limit, sometimes outlined in their terms of service. My suggestion is to look for a hosting company with a hosting package with the amount of resources you need, and will allow you to upgrade according to your needs.
  5. Look for complaints, examples of which is “host company name” with sucks, fraud, refund, downtime… via Google. However keep in mind complaints or praise are not always valid. After all someone that just signed up with a company is not going to be the best person to tell that a company is a good company to be with, where as someone thats been there 3 months or longer is a much stronger candidate for a glowing endorsement. Where as complaints about company sucking, and no details on to why the company sucks is not a valid complaint. Problems can be seen when they document their complaints by sharing emails and chat sessions. They document their complaints. Then there is where you start seeing customer complaining about the same thing like with mochahost.com multiple people complained about the company being rude and poor support. It only got worse when a representative of Mochahost.com decided to go after one of their customers religion and other rude taunts with other people that complained.
  6. Awards? There are a lot of websites that have awards. But the problem is most of these awards are from sites, whose best interests are in referring people to the host. Like webhostingstuff.com, hostaz.com, any site that says top 10, and the list goes on. Most of them will have a coupon code, I have yet to find a valid review site that does not have a coupon code to “save”. I am not saying there are not valid review sites out there. Hostgator.com is a great example of awards that are all paid for either by ranking or by affiliate commissions.

I don’t think most people spend more then 10 minutes trying to find a host. Rarely when I was in the business would people ask questions about the terms of service. There were always questions about “do you allow porn sites?”, clearly the terms of service would have a solid no on that. Its easy to get drawn into a site that promises you tons of free stuff, cute cartoon characters, pretty women, and flashy graphics. Somehow $500 or more in free stuff for a $72 a year account. The allure of getting more then your dollar is worth is not something even I can resist. But as my Grandmother would always say, “You get what you pay for”. Seldom in life have I gotten something worth more then what I paid for it.

When you find out how much these freebies cost for the hosting company to get the stuff to begin with, its clear that its not really costing much of your account.. Advertising credits are free, Google actually allows you to take a test, and pay a minimal fee to give out free adsense credits to your customers. It actually works in Google’s interests for hosting companies to give these credits out as this gives Google more customers to use adsene. Free WordPress? Not really, WordPress is also free. Perhaps if they had some customer for that host only themes it might justify WordPress. Free domain? Chances are they are not paying much at all for that, and its their way of keeping you from going to another host. I know a lot of customers that think you have to have your domain name and host at the same company. I am here to tell you that is not true.

My advice on free domains, you are better off getting the domain from a third party in case things do not go well. I would not get a free domain or transfer my domain to a webhost. Your simply better off with a second party that is not involved with the webhost. Many companies will charge you more then you could have got the domain from other companies. Claiming that this is how much it costs them to buy the domain. I can tell you now they are paying less then $10.

I know that many would like me to give a simple answer as to a actually company name, and perhaps in the future I might actually start endorsing companies. But they have to have the same ethics I have when I ran my hosting company. I felt the customer came first, not short cuts to getting my company to the top. In a lot of ways I considered my customers friends. Granted it became harder to remember who was who the more my company grew. It was easier to remember the people that came in 10 years ago versus the ones that came in towards the end of my time in the industry. But I have to wonder does your webhosting company know who you are?

Are you considering inmotionhosting.com? Caution READ my review before buying!!!

Are my eyes deceiving me? Because the number 6 of 25 webhostingstuff.com webhost In Motion Hosting appears to be on Hurricane Electric servers (he.net). One of the companies I started got its first cPanel start with one of their users called Powersurge.com, some how later I would be tossed off to fastservers.net. It was never clear as to why I mysteriously became a fastservers customer. But I had to deal with a rather un-delightful sales agent named Aaron, who was always happy to talk about new service. But when it came to problems such as faulty servers, he was slow to take action, but quick to blame me or my staff. In addition to their hardware problems (we had a 70% failure rate, and 40% reoccurring rate of failure), there were a lot of network problems with Hurricane Electric. Especially denial of service attacks. The problem was I had 9 servers with them, I can’t remember the amount of clients. But to solve my network issues Fastservers wanted me to buy new servers at their new location. Instead I went with ev1 (who merged with theplanet), as they were offering first month if I gave them a competitors invoice. Fastservers would soon become http://www.layeredtech.com/ right before the last of my servers were moved, Layered Tech was less interested in keeping my business then fast servers. There is a post about Layered Tech coming soon.

During one of the worst Hurricane Electric outages one of fast servers staff broke down and made claims on their forum that he did not know if the connection would ever be restored. It was eventually restored after a long and sleepless night, but I would love to find that link, I am pretty sure like most negative things about fast servers Aaron had a hand in cleaning it up. I don’t have the highest expectations that Hurricane Electric has gotten better since I left. So I can’t imagine in motion hosting customers have a lot of thrilling tales about up time and network speed. Maybe their location had better uptime then my location, I have doubts.

Inmotionhosting.com is another company that uses the same level of high payouts that other companies that use webhosting review websites.

  • 1 – 2 Sales Per Month: $50 Per Sale
  • 3+ Sales Per Month: $100 Per Sale

Also:

  • Please Note: InMotion Hosting has a strict policy against ‘Self-Sign Ups’ or attempts to earn commissions on your own hosting accounts.

Its hard to find bad things about in motion hosting. Probable due to the fact that there are so many variations to type inmotion, that it might cause confusion when posting or finding places to post. My recommendation if you ever want to make a bad post about this company is to stick with inmotionhosting.com, of for that matter a good review. Though it does not appear the affiliates and top host review sites are having the same problem. So for now I am going to focus on the order form and the terms of service.

http://www.inmotionhosting.com/policies.html

I figure due to the fact that their cheapest plan is only purchasable in 2 years terms, it might be a good idea to look at the refund policy. I understand why they might want to charge per year and 2 years, those $.22 – .35 fee per attempted transaction on credit cards really eat into a $3 fee over 24 months of monthly billing.

  • Notifications of cancellation must be made 30 days prior to successive rebill period. InMotion Hosting reserves the right to deny, forfeit, or refuse refunds at any time if necessary.

I think that is enough to address my concerns. Clear as day, they can refuse to give you a refund. Also if you cancel your account on the 3rd day of the 23rd month of your hosting account, you will be charged for another 2 years.

I have also noticed that they do not have PayPal as an option on their checkout. I am by no stretch of the imagination a fan of PayPal. But I consider them a necessary evil, especially when up to 20 % of my clients paid that way. Plus I was more likely to win a dispute through PayPal then my merchant. Otherwise they are not the easiest people to get a hold of, plus it takes almost nothing to kill a subscription, regardless if I or my client wanted it canceled.

I am a little surprised while looking at the order form to see that they include frontpage extensions, considering I have not seen a request for that in years. I am currently looking at the starter which most people will sign up on. It offers 100 gigs of space, 1000 gigs of bandwitdh. Further review of this package tells me that its no better then a unlimited package, maybe worse then a unlimited package. There are a lot of limitations that would make it impossible to use the full amount of space that they offer.

I also see no option for WordPress or other blogger applications on the starter. The reason for that probable is because there are no mysql data bases on the starter package. I am not sure how anyone is going to use a 100 gigs of space when their account has no mysql databases. Its a little unclear but it looks like I can only get one domain on the starter package.

I thought I would look at their Pro the only package under Business Class that has monthly terms, the first thing that sticks out when I go to the Shopping cart is:

  • 1 Month – $19.95/mo + $40 Setup

That is a pretty high step-up fee, which I am sure is non-refundable. But that’s not all that sticks out:

  • Supports: 16 Separate Web SitesUnlimited domains with email (see terms) and 200 MySQL Databases

Support 16 websites, yet unlimited domains? See terms?

http://www.inmotionhosting.com/policies.html

Unlimited Disk Space & Bandwidth

  • While IMH does not meter disk space & bandwidth, the purpose of an IMH hosting account is to host web sites. Using a hosting account primarily for online file storage or archiving electronic files is prohibited.
  • IMH Personal & Business Class hosting are shared hosting environments, so to ensure fast & reliable service to all of our clients, accounts that adversely affect server or network performance must correct these issues or will be asked to upgrade to a virtual or dedicated server.

Still not clear on what is meant by 16 sites, with unlimited domains. But lets take a look at the bottom of the terms of service.

  • IMH does not make implied or written warranties for any of our services.
  • IMH denies any warranty or merchantability for a specific purpose. This includes loss of data resulting from delays, non-deliveries, wrong delivery, and any and all service interruptions caused by IMH.

Still not clear, and I find there are no guarantees that their service will work. Not to mention no warranty should they be the cause of my service interruption.  Sounds like a great webhost.

Awards? Yes inmotionhosting.com has afflialates….. I mean Awards!!!

http://www.inmotionhosting.com/about.html

Webhostingstuff.com, Hostaz.com and more phoney baloney review for pay websites.

I could go into each of the awards, but I would be repeating myself on many of these sites as to why they are affiliates, and not true review sites.

The Inmotionhosting.com chat session.

After reviewing their terms of service, package, and order form I had questions. I was particularly disturbed with what I had found.

My chat session started with 8 people ahead of me, but I was soon forwarded to a chat operator.

You are now speaking with Brian C. of Sales.

Brian C.: (8:9): Hello Benjamin.

Benjamin: (8:10): Hello Brian

Brian C.: (8:10): How may I help you today?

Benjamin: (8:10): I have questions, first let me ask can I pay by PayPal, I don’t see the option on your orderform

Brian C.: (8:11): If we place the order for you via chat or email we can accept Pay Pal on 6 mnth or longer billing.

Benjamin: (8:11): ok, why is it not on the order form?

Brian C.: (8:12): Due to how Pay Pal is processed we have to place the order so we can do a request for payment via Pay Pal.

Benjamin: (8:12): strange, you should consider whmcs

Brian C.: (8:12): What type of hosting plan were you looking to get setup on?

Benjamin: (8:13): well I am still looking at the moment

Brian C.: (8:13): Also we do prefer to take all orders via phone or chat to ensure everything is setup properly the first time and to avoid mistakes.

Benjamin: (8:13): Am I correct on that I can not install wordpress on the starter and it only has one domain?

Brian C.: (8:13): The starter under Value class hosting?

Benjamin: (8:13): yes

Brian C.: (8:14): Or were you referring to the Launch plan?

Benjamin: (8:14): the $3 per month plan

Brian C.: (8:15): No as Word Press requires a MYSQL database. If using WordPress you would want a minimum of the Launch plan. Also we do not accept Pay Pal on Value class hosting.

Benjamin: (8:15): If I place a order via your ordersystem with out contacting you on chat or phone how long will it take to get the order setup?

Brian C.: (8:16): After you place the order the confirmation / fraud check will take up to 30 minutes. After that process is completed a confirmation specialist will need to give you a call to go through all the information. After that call the account will be setup.

Benjamin: (8:17): also you did not answer me if the starter only gets one domain

Brian C.: (8:18): Correct.

Benjamin: (8:18): On the Pro (business class) it says that I can have 16 separate websites, yet unlimited domains. Can you clarify on that?

Brian C.: (8:19): The unlimited domain names are referring to parked domains which are pointers basically. For example www.abc.net would point to abc.com.

Benjamin: (8:19): ok, finale question

Benjamin: (8:19):
I see a graphic that states 30 or 90 day guarantee, does it matter what I order to get the 90 day?

Brian C.: (8:20): All Value class hosting includes only a 30 day money back guarantee. Business class has a 90 day.

Benjamin: (8:20): sorry one more question

Benjamin: (8:21): Usually I sign up for the max amount of time for optimum savings

Brian C.: (8:21): I completely understand.

Benjamin: (8:21): Lets say I experience a long period of down time and I am force to move my account to get active again

Brian C.: (8:22): We have actually maintained 99.98% uptime across the board since 2001.

Benjamin: (8:22): and its after 30 days would I be eligible for a refund, and how much

Brian C.: (8:22): We do not give refunds past the specified time.

Benjamin: (8:22): are you on hurricane electric servers?

Benjamin: (8:22): or should I say network

Brian C.: (8:23): Our datacenter is tier 3 datacenter utilizing 30 day diesel generators.

Brian C.: (8:23): We also on business class and above offer multiple bandwidth providers over multiple OC-48 lines.

Benjamin: (8:23): the trace route shows he.net, and I was on their network before

Brian C.: (8:27): Unfortunately that trace route is inaccurate as we are not on he.net network. Also the network depends on which hosting plan and server you are tracing.

Benjamin: (8:27): I am tracing your main domain

Benjamin: (8:28): what state are your servers located in?

Brian C.: (8:29): We have two data centers. One in Los Angeles and one in Washington D.C.

Benjamin: (8:30): ok thank you, have a good day

Nice how there chat sessions have a time stamps.

My Finale Thoughts on inmotionhosting.com

I got my answer on how a site can have 16 sites yet unlimited domains. Its not really unlimited domains, and I know of many domain registers that allow you to just forward your domain where you want. The bottom line is you get 16 websites hosted under 16 domains. Nothing unlimited about the domains, other then you can set them up as many as you want to forward to one of the 16 domains / sites under their pro plan.

I think the biggest red flag I get from this company is the fact that they offer no refunds regardless of the reason for canceling the account. As out lined in there own policy even if it was their fault that you canceled. My suggestion is to go the bbb if you have problems with getting a refund, though there is no guarantee that they can help you or for that matter will not take inmotion’s side. But every drop in the bucket counts

http://www.la.bbb.org/Business-Report/InMotion-Hosting-Inc-13192913

I did not mean to get out of customer mode in the chat. Instead of trying to point their network location, I should have got him to concede in regards to a refund would happen after extended down time. After all what do they have to worry about if they have no down time. I don’t buy that they are not using Hurricane Electric. Perhaps I am wrong.

http://he.net/ip_transit.html

Equinix LA1 600 W 7th Ave, Los Angeles CA 90017
One Wilshire 624 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90017

Then there is the PayPal issue, they don’t indicated that its available. You have to ask for it on chat or by phone. Its limited to certain types of accounts, and no less then 6 months or longer as out line by some of the complaints I have found.

http://forum.cs-cart.com/showthread.php?t=12450

Its not that hard to configure for that matter I used to manually generate subscriptions before we got a new billing system. It was a bit cumbersome, but no where near as bad as sending out billing notices every month. Every day one of my staff would review the previous days subscription payments and enter them into the billing system. Atleast until we got a new billing system that still processed if for us. But we did weekly audits to ensure all payments were tracked.  But “Due to how Pay Pal is processed we have to place the order so we can do a request for payment via Pay Pal.”, meaning they login to PayPal.com and send you a money request.

The website looks out of date, which makes me wonder if they are using an outdated billing system as the order form is not that impressive. The failure to have a PayPal on that system makes me wonder how out of date their billing system may be or for that matter how secure it might be. I can understand wanting to call to confirm my order is valid. But not every customer wants to be called. The setup questions are obscure at best on the order form. Setup questions could be addressed on the order form.

Basically if you choose to go with InMotionHosting, you better hope that nothing goes wrong. Because they reserve the right to refuse a refund.

More fun Reading

http://www.webhostingtalk.com/archive/index.php/t-368804.html

An Introduction – When the lights never go off

When my business partner and I had started our company it was funny when the first year was almost over and our staff thought that we would shut down business for Christmas.   I am not sure why they thought there would be one day out of the year or more where there was no one there to make sure the servers stayed on.  It’s not like the internet is shut off for one day, especially since I have family members on that day going right to Amazon.com right after getting their gift certificates that I so happen to have bought 5 hours into the holiday.   At the time 60% of our customers were from the United States, and the rest were scattered around the globe.  Not all of those customers took that day off or for that matter celebrated Christmas.  While server logs showed less activity, there was still people accessing and not to mention adding / manipulating content.   Perhaps they do celebrate Christmas even if not from my country of origin, that does not mean they will not get online.   Did I mention we got 2 orders that day?  By the end of last year 30% of our clients were from the United States.  Though that is not because we lost U.S. Clients, but we grew in international clients.

I have been in the hosting industry for 11 years gladly and humbly severing the world.  Between 4 companies my part in the ownership was customer service, staff, and suppliers.    During that time I have seen the rise and fall of many wannabee hosting companies.  Not to mention the amount of software fads that I have seen come and go.  I think the only thing that bothers me is that a lot of bad companies that are still around.  But this year I would get out of the business, and become a hosting customer myself.

I got out of the business, not because it was failing, but it has been 11 years without a break.  It had never been my plan to be in the business as long as I had been, I just wanted to raise enough money to go back to school, and get into something in the lines of zoology.  But somewhere along the way I lost track of time.

Customer commitment without a break is not exactly a good way of keeping your health, especially since I was in my mid-twenties when I got into the business. I went from a gopher / data analyst to web design and web hosting.  My exercise routine was a 32 miles a day 4 times a week of biking between work and home. Which now is a rare jaunts on a tread mill.   Waking in the morning was literary a run to my desk where 6 monitors connected to three computers that never turned off keeping me in touch with every aspect of business, to just see that my business was still there.  Countless calls waking me in the middle of the night to alert me to any problems, and by any I mean any.   Day in day out sickness or health every waking moment was for business.  I sold my share to form new ventures where I am not bound to serve customers 24 / 7 / 365.

But I don’t think the working everyday was the worst part, frankly there were a lot of times I enjoyed customer interaction.  You could say there were customers that I did not like for one unscrupulous reason or another, but that was easy to move past.   What bothered me was the server outages.  Server downtime meant no downtime for me when I had to do public relations damage control with customers while technicians worked in the back ground.  One thing that always comes to mind was customers wanted to talk to the person that was fixing the server, yet they wanted the server up now.  The logic of letting every customer talk to the tech that is fixing the issue would only delay in getting the server back up.    I wish I could say there were not days where some servers were not down for days of downtime, but that is not the case.  Not even the best companies out there can tell you they have never had days of down time.  Equipment failures happen, its fact of life.   Even though down time incidents were rare they felt like they could go on forever or lasted the whole year.  Rarer still where servers down for more than an hour, for that matter I experienced 3 incidents that lasted for more than 8 hours in my time.  But even a couple of minutes was very stressful.  It always felt like time slowed to a crawl whenever an incident happen, leaving me to anguish.  During those times I did not sleep, and often would not eat.  I could tell my customers this, but I doubt they would believe it.  But I can truly say I was in their corner and was defiantly the squeaky wheel behind the scenes in getting their service back up.  Granted customers never learned I was an owner when I dealt with them.

Friends and family are the last to understand that time constraints in being self-employed are worse than a nine to five job.  Certainly worse when you serve 24 time zones.  For some reason they are under the opinion that my hours were flexible.   Often I would get grief from being late because I choose to deal with a customer first, and often would state I need to make sure I take care of my source of income before they become another company’s source of income…   Simply being the boss meant I had to be my number one employee.  Time out away from a desk in the early years was limited, but as time went on wireless technology would allow me to venture away from my desks for longer periods of time.

Granted I am still self-employed, but time is still not flexible as I have to make new forms of income to supplant what I was making before.  But I can now take a breather.