When I first started the reviews I thought I would do 1 or 2 a day and spend no more then 2 hours per post. But here I am at number 11 of 25 for May 2010 of webhostingstuff.com. Way over the thirty days I intended to have this all done. As of this weekend I had learned that webhostingstuff.com is having people bid on spots. I learned this from one of the hosts that are on my lists. I am debating as to rather posting that email even though they asked me not to. But there is indeed a post tomorrow in regards to what they have told me. They told me that they are contacting webhostingstuff.com to remove them from their list, I have advised the host that they can plead their case on my site.
Anyway, number 11 of 25 for May 2010. As of today they are now number 6 host. 3essentials.com is not exactly a site that I find appealing. But then again some of the best sites are not the best design. As with some of the other sites in the top 25 doing a search on 3essentials does not lead to results unique to 3essentials.com. So for this review I am going to stick to the webpage, perhaps in the future I will do more of a
The first thing that grabs my attention is a bunch of links at the bottom of the page where normally the terms of service, about, and contact links are. Instead they are amongst these links.
Most of those links look like they belong in a faq section and not at the bottom of the website. Though I do find a rate our service link an appealing idea.
Next stop is the terms of service for 3essentials.com. Here are the parts that stick out for me.
6.e. Maintenance. 3Essentials may, at its own discretion and without notice, temporarily suspend all service for the purpose of repair, maintenance or improvement of any of 3Essentials’ systems. 3Essentials shall restore service as soon as is reasonably practicable. Client shall not be entitled to any setoff, discount, refund or other credit, in case of any service outage which is beyond 3Essentials control or which is reasonable in duration.
I wonder what does not qualify as “ reasonable in duration”
7. Auto Upgrade Of Plans. Client agrees that in the event the clients plan exceeds its allotted data transfer or storage that 3Essentials may automatically upgrade the clients plan to the next plan that will cover such transfer or storage. 3Essentials agrees that in the event of such an upgrade notice shall be given in the form of email. In the event the client does not receive the email, the client shall not hold 3Essentials liable. Client further agrees that no refund(s) will be given.
What bothers me here is that it seems there is not a method to stop a person from using more space then they have paid for. Instead there is monitoring so they can charge you should you go pasted a given amount of space. IT was pretty much my operation that person could not use more space then they paid for. To use more they would have to pay for more. No surprise bills.
9.b. No refunds will be given, for any reason, to accounts that are older than 30 days, this includes, but is not limited to data loss, server or systems being unavailable, or websites being unavailable.
9.f. Pre-payment. Accounts that pay in advance for a specific period are not eligible for a refund if the client cancels the account prior to the renewal date, or the account is terminated by 3Essentials due to a violation of these terms.
9.h. Auto-Renewals. Client agrees that the term of the plan automatically renews on the renewal date for the same term. Cancelations that are received after the plan automatically renews are not subject to refunds.
Translation no refunds regardless if 3essentials is at fault or not. Something I am finding in a lot of terms of service for cheap hosting companies. I am tempted to say to avoid companies that state no refunds regardless of the hosting companies fault or not should be avoided. My own policy was to charge a customer under monthly terms if they broke quarterly or longer commitment after the thirty day guarantee. Then provide a prorated refund. No refunds were issued after 6 months. I have to wonder if merchant providers are willing to back them up on this. Generally the max amount of time to pursue a charge back is no later then 3 – 6 months.
According to the BBB they only have 3 employees and they have been in business since 2004. Unless this is just a failure to update details, this is a good indicator that this company is not growing. I know that Fat Cow and iPage who are own by the same corporation have several employees, and clearly so does HostGator. Yet back in May 2010, 3essentials with three “essential” employees was six spots away from Hostgator.
Their profile page on webhostingstuff.com is no better then the one written for ioxhost.co.uk.
Here is the thing I find interesting:
How We Operate
3Essentials takes pride in providing quality support to our customers. Our technicians are available 24×7 via email or online chat to resolve problems that our customers may experience. Each ticket is read by our staff and the problem is researched to determine the correct method of assistance to provide.
With three employees they have to research issues. I don’t recall my techs having to do research every time they had a ticket. Perhaps that’s because they had experience to deal with issues and rarely had to learn on the job. Most of the learning came from new things. I am not sure I would be in business if my techs had to “research” all the time “to determine the correct method of assistance to provide”. I would sooner have an experienced staff over staff that has to learn as they go.
3essentials affiliate program is a bit more interesting.
You get up to 50% of each sale, but the commission would be no greater then $100. I feel that there is a play on words in the affiliate. It seems they are implying that if you make 20 sales you get $2000. But clearly you would have to sale 20 packages that ensure you get $100 each. Their lowest package is $24.96 for 1 year the personal Linux Hosting, which has a $15 setup fee which I am sure there is no commission on. That’s $12.48. commission. I decided to chat with them to make sure there is no commission on the set up fee. I was correct.
3essentials.com chat session
Benjamin: Curious about commissions through your affiliate program.
You are now speaking with Paul of Server Sales.
Benjamin: Hello Paul
Paul: Hi Benjamin.
Benjamin: I was wondering if I would make 50% off of all sales I refer to you, including setup fees
Paul: Affiliate commissions are 50% up to a maximum payout of $100 per sale
Paul: hosting plans must be active for 90 days to receive the commission
Benjamin: yes I can see that, but I do not see what is considered a commisioned item
Paul: any item that is purchased via your affiliate link can earn comission
Benjamin: including the set up fees?
Paul: ah.. good question. you are not payed 50% of the setup, just 50% of the hosting plan price.
Paul: the setup fee is passed to the customer to help us pay your omission.
Benjamin: is there a link to fine print for your affiliate program?
Benjamin: ie terms of service
Paul: not that I am aware. we do have a general TOS for all “3Essentials Customers” but not for affiliates
Paul: If you have a specific question about the affiliate terms, please send an email to email@example.com
Paul: the questions will be directed to the manager in charge of that program
Benjamin: ok thanks
Benjamin: how long have you guys been in business?
Paul: since 2001.
Paul: and a BBB member since 2005
Benjamin: and where are you located?
Paul: our coorporate offices and staff are in NC.
Paul: our servers are in Dallas texas
Paul: we also have hardware techs on site in Dallas
Benjamin: have a good day
Paul: you too
Paul: thank you.
Paul: and let us know if you have any more questions.
Your party has left this session.
As you can see the chat operator did not bother to read my initial question. Anyone that has worked with me knows better then to pull such a stunt. You answer the initial question, if you feel there is something else to add you do it after answering the question. When someone does not answer my question, I tend to wonder if the person on the other end knows what they are doing or if they understand English. There is no agreement for the affiliate program that outlines the affiliate and 3essentials parts in the affiliate program. Something that would outline setup fees are not part of the commission program. Not to mention that making it clear that the affiliate can’t make claims such as buying hosting will make them rich, cure baldness, make you thin……….
Well the chat operator did not know what he was talking about as I did find Terms and Conditions:
If your reffering from a free hosting account you may want to pay special attention to the terms of service.
3. Commissions. We will pay you a commission of %50 of the plan price.
There is nothing in here about $100 cap, or for that matter nothing in regards to not getting a commission on the setup fee. So this is where I stop on the review of their affiliate program as their staff and the initial page to get you to sign up do not agree with the conditions.
Their are alot of things that strike me as quirky about this company, such as this text I received while waiting for someone to chat with me:
Welcome Benjamin! Please hold while we contact a representative. If a representative does not respond in a few seconds, then he/she is not available at this time.