Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Review: Open letter to onlymyemail.com

Dear Onlymyemail.com

I am writing, obviously to cancel my account with your company and wish you delete any and all information you have on file about me. As you know, I ran into problems with too much spam, which is ironic, since people who sign up with your company have too much spam to begin with. You threatened to shut off all my email for receiving too much spam (over 400 a day) and when I asked for help you blamed the fact I had a business domain--though that wasn't the domain having the most spam problems. My emails asking for clarifications were responded to with trite and unhelpful boilerplate responses.

Firstly, I want to thank you for teaching me some valuable lessons about consumerism that I apparently forgot, otherwise I wouldn't have signed up for your “service”. I'd like to review them, if only for myself and others on the Internet to learn not just to stay away from your company (I do wish I knew who “you” were), but to remember these valuable lessons. Every experience, no matter how horrible, can be learned from. That's why I'm posting it to my professional blog.

Overall, thanks for letting everyone know that poor quality and customer service doesn't just happen overseas, but happens right here in the good US of A. Some say we invented rudeness, and despite your location in the Midwest, you failed to learn ol' fashioned Midwest politeness and values...

Lesson 1: Rudeness is Universal

I knew I was in trouble from the start. Never purchase something in haste. I was getting “joe jobbed” on one of my domains and my spam software was getting overwhelmed. Research indicated you won awards…but that was two years ago and there was little critical review of your company since. That's a sign of trouble. Good products continue to win awards.

Lesson 2: Stale awards scream “what have you done for me lately”

Your website showed some “key” markers of trouble ahead. When I went to the contact section, no toll free number was listed. Not a deal-breaker, but seems strange. No fax number listed. That does seem strange in 2007! What should have told me to browse away was the fact that nowhere on the website is a person listed. No owner, no message from the CEO. Heck, even your media contacts were unsigned, and media people are known to be self-promoters.

Lesson 3: The less names and methods of contact, the more likely you'll have trouble later on

During the sign up process, I made some assumptions. Your terms “Personal accounts are intended for use by individuals who receive a modest amount of daily email and have a download/filter quota of 400 emails from each external account per day” When I ran into problems with too much spam, I made the assumption that this “filter quota” only applied to good email and not spam. It's logical that a company that you pay to remove spam wouldn't charge you for too much spam! Isn't the whole purpose of signing up for a spam blocking service is because you…well.. have too much spam? Then “support” told me that your product didn't work well for business domains. In spite of the fact that my business account only received 15-30 legitimate emails a day and my personal account received much more (mother in law sends me way too much information!), you considered it a business account and suggested your expensive corporate solution. More importantly, you didn't state the consequences of having too much spam. You'd shut off my email for 24 hours! Ouch. Why didn't I ask “what would happen if I ran over the quota?” Stupid stupid stupid. The ambiguity of this term should have told me to walk away…but alas, I did not…and in the end that's my fault not yours. I didn't even check your BBB rating! But really, a spam service that penalizes you for too much spam? Am I on Candid Camera or what?

Lesson 4: Ambiguous terms and terms that don't state the consequences should be deal breakers.

But again, I signed up. First few days during the trial period your web site repeatedly went down. I was told this is rare, but got a quick response from “support.” Hmmm…rare…I already missed three alarms, so why stop here I guess. Not only that, the emails were unsigned. Even if it's signed with Americanized foreign names, rarely do you get emails from a support team that don't even mention a first name. Failed to learn this in Lesson 3 and continued on.

Lesson 5: Unsigned responses from service professionals is a clear sign of trouble.

My problems continued. Spam emails kept slipping through your filters. “Support” 's response was to contact my ISP. When I tried that and told you they couldn't assist, you blamed them and then you again blamed me for using it your service for work purposes. So my spam service wasn't working and I was constantly under the threat of being shut off.

Lesson 6: Blaming the customer or other vendors should be endgame for a business relationship.

After close to a month of back and forth via your company over email (each hurting my quota), I started asking about the ambiguity in the terms of service and your response was to simply link to the terms again. No text explanation, just a link to the FAQ. Throughout the process there were warning signs. It wasn't until you annoyed me with the flippant responses (ya know, at least those guys overseas aren't usually sarcastic), that I decided to cancel the service

Lesson 7: Don't beat a dead horse. If it isn't working out, move on.

And the final lesson. While I was in the process of moving my emails back to my servers, your company actually spammed me about its “kid friendly” email! Now this is personal, figuratively and literally. How dare you spam me about your services…when I'm paying you to block the spam! Forget Candid Camera, this has gotta to be Americans Funniest Home Videos. I felt just like the guys that got hit in the groin. Ouch.

So in sum, I'm canceling the service, ending the relationship, and warning others. While your service is terrible in every respect, it's my fault for not seeing the warning signs. As they say “It's me, not you.” Continue doing what you do, if someone is foolish enough to continue with your service after all these warning signs that any good consumer should recognize, it's their fault not yours. Thank you for the refresher course in staying away from Internet scammers. Or maybe this was all a big joke. Only my credit card bill will know for sure.

Dave Greenbaum