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Tuesday, April 02, 2002

New FAQ for Radio UserLand - Version 0.2

I just put together a FAQ.  Its not complete yet but at over 18 pages according to Word, its getting long and I thought better to publish early and often.  Once again, its NOT DONE YET but I think its useful now.  Send flames and abuse or use the comment feature here.

Here is the table of contents:

comment [] 6:31:00 PM    



Sorry to shout. If you use Rackspace, you should really be aware of this. If you are considering them, you should be aware of this. Rackspace is a provider of hosting services where you have exclusive use of the hardware. This is unlike typical hosting where 15 or more customers are all on one box. At Rackspace there is dedicated hardware, the "rack", where you have exclusive control. This means that if you want your own configuration, database, weird Perl stuff, whatever, you can have it. That's the good if not great thing about Rackspace. Here's the bad thing: I feel screwed by Rackspace.

Here's why -- the beginning of the saga. I became a Rackspace customer in approximately January 2001. My contract was for a 1U format Linux box w/ 2 IDE drives for a monthly bill of $345.80. I used the service, loved it, had a great time, used tech support 3 or 4 times and I don't think that I ever talked to my account manager after the day I signed up. I was a good customer, paid my bill in full every month, and just did my own thing. I didn't bother anyone because I didn't need to. And here's where the plot thickens. For a bunch of reasons, none relevant to this article, I had to cancel my account on (approx) Jan 25th. I called and did this. I was told that I had to pay for a final month to be sure I got my data off the box or some such hoo ha. Apparently this was in my actual contract (who knows, I don't have a copy handy). Okay, fine, whatever. So I paid for the final extra month.

Now, here's where it gets more interesting. I recently looked back at the Rackspace website for a new client and priced the same configuration. Guess what -- its now approximately $150 per month cheaper (i.e. $199 / month). I just got an email from a Greg Rodriguez, grodrigu@rackspace.comm,who said "We want you back" in the email's subject line (i.e. as a customer). I emailed him my phone number and he called me. The gist of the conversation was that I was unhappy because I felt that I was owed a refund on the price differential for the period from when it started to my final month. He responded that I would have been given a cheaper monthly price if I had only talked to my account manager and asked. When I repeated this back to him, I said so "If I had known to ask, I could have gotten a cheaper price." He agreed with me. He pointed out that hardware costs decline in price, there's depreciation, etc. I understand this. I've been in high tech as long or longer than he has. My point, which he didn't seem to understand, was that I didn't know to ask and that I've been penalized for this.

He then told me all about how great their account managers are, how much the customers talk to them and so on. And that "normally" I would have talked with mine. Something like "Itís so rare to never, ever talk to your account manager" and "They would have brought the pricing up proactively."  I pointed out that if this would have occurred normally then why didn't Rackspace contact me?  The natural reaction of "We can't contact all our customers" was immediately displayed.  I suggested email instead of phone and he dismissed it. 

Great -- Now I'm an abnormal customer simply because I know what I'm doing and my needs didn't change. The talk continued and I asked him for how many customers they have and, while he didn't know, he did say that they have 5,000 servers. Assuming that there are 2 customers per server that means Rackspace has 2,500 customers in total. I then asked for how many account managers they have and he said 10. Hm... With 10 account managers and 2,500 customers, that means that an account manager is individually responsible for 250 customers (plus his or her share of new business). With those kind of numbers, how likely is that every single customer actually talks to their account manager? Not likely I think.

So, here are the questions:

·        So, have you ever talked to your Rackspace Account Manager?

·        Have you asked him or her for a cheaper price this mont

·        If you use another hosting provider, have you asked for a price break this month?

·        Was I wrong to feel absolutely screwed by Rackspace?

Now, with all that, I still like Rackspace and would probably use them again.  They have an outstanding product but, in the end, I still feel screwed.  And, to me, it feels just plain dirty.


comment [] 2:58:11 PM    

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