Today, my hosting provider Poundhost sent me a marketing email. Unfortunately, they made a schoolboy error. They included every body else they were emailing in the Cc header. A ready made list of contact details for high value Dedicated Server and Colo customers. It took three and a half hours for somebody to reply to the entire list with a picture of the goatse man. An hour and a quarter later I received an apology from Poundhost, then 30 minutes later I received an email from one of their competitors starting “Dear Poundhost Customer” and offering me six months free dedicated server hosting.
I don’t blame Poundhost. These things happen. But one thing I’ve learnt from this constantly repeated mistake by different companies is that you should not give access to raw contact data (especially email addresses) to none technical departments like sales and marketing.
- Give them access to email an announcement list
- Block Cc headers that contain more than a sensible number of addresses on your mail servers
- If possible, prevent them from sending any mail shots until they’ve been approved by “the techies” first
The competitor that emailed me is RapidSwitch. It’s kind of annoying because it was clearly spam email. Both unsolicited and bulk, and I don’t like the way they obtained my details. But, their offer of six months free hosting is quite tempting, especially as they offer a very similar package to the one I’m using at Poundhost. I’ve contacted them asking for further clarification of the six months offer with regards to minimum contact terms and I’m waiting for a response. And herein lies the cost of making such mistakes. I don’t want to leave Poundhost because I’ve been very happy with them, but if the offer is right I’d be an idiot not to.
RapidSwitch did in fact get back to me earlier today, I just didn’t notice. Their response was:
We can offer you 12 months half price hosting if you move your dedicated/colocated servers over to us. We will provide a 100% SLA on our dedicated servers as listed below: * 100% Network Uptime Guarantee * 100% Power Guarantee * 1 Hour 24Ã—7 Onsite Hardware Response For colocated servers the 100% SLA will only be for 100% Network Uptime & 100% Power. All you need to do to qualify for this offer is to provide us with a recent PoundHost invoice. Just to confirm this will be on a 12 month basis and we will match your current deal that you have or provide something similar to it.
Today I received my first ever spam on the email address that I gave to Poundhost (not including the RapidSwitch one). It was some random person asking me to look at their Facebook photos. Fortunately for me, I give each company/website I sign up with a different email address so that when they leak/sell my details I can just get rid of it. In this case, the address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t mind putting it here because I’m going to forward it to a spam trap after I’ve changed my details with Poundhost. So here’s another good lesson. Don’t trust any company with your main personal email address.
This story has changed from annoying, to amusing. Another two companies have become involved. Check out Poundhost vs RapidSwitch vs GameServersDirect vs FPSGame