Back in 1998 or so, I decided to see if the domain name for my last name was available for purchase. To my surprise (my last name is not that common), a company called Mailbank ha purchased the domain and was selling email addresses and web space on the domain for $5/year. That seemed like a small price to pay for the service so I signed up.
Mailbank was sold and the company became Netidenty. Their prices have continued to increase (I now pay like $50/year) but I stuck with the service. I think in the back of my mind I always hoped they would give up on the business model of mass buying tons of domain names and give up the less profitable ones. Since there have never been more than 2 users that I know of on the Foust.com domain, I figured there may be a chance that one day I could buy the domain.
In any event, the company was recently sold to Tuscows and they decided to upgrade their web mail interface. This is a fairly popular action for email services to make so I didn’t think much of it. Well, my mailbox got corrupted during the migration and now I have been without my personal email for 3 days. This has been a migration gone bad to say the least. I have placed an email and a call into support with no response. The only real message I get is that there are thousands of people with the same problem as me. Not really much of a consolation for any single person left without email for days on end when they could have settled with another email service for free.
The closest thing to customer service I have seen, are a couple of blog posts by a senior product manager. This has helped as far as information goes, but it doesn’t really make me, a loyal customer, very satisfied. It makes me especially angry when I read the following:
Mailbox index corruption. I have been informed that this problem has been solved. We were able to ascertain that the indexes of roughly 2500 accounts had been corrupted. Once all of the accounts were identified, it was relatively easy to fix the issue. This means that no one should be stuck on the pending migration page.
This is absolutely not true for me and for many others according to the comments of Ross’ blog post. You can tell a lot about a company by how they respond to crisis and I have to say that Netidentity has failed in almost every way. It will be interesting to see how this whole thing shakes out.
Here is my advice to Tuscows (the new owner of Netidenty), stop raising prices and keep the service simple and reliable.