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Duplicate email announcements


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#1 mnorton

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 11:55 AM

So, after the massive screw-up with how ASO handled the recent server migrations, everybody here told ASO about how they were retarded for not emailing clients first. ASO's response was pretty much that it's "too hard" for them to send out emails to all customers. Fortunately, it appears ASO is now attempting to forge ahead with better email communications by creating a monthly newsletter.

In the email that was sent out this morning ("Announcing the A Small Orange Newsletter"), ASO promises that the newsletter will be kept short, useful, infrequent, etc. - basically that it won't amount to bombarding subscribers with worthless crap. This is a good thing.

After reading this promise from ASO about how they won't over-use my inbox, I received a duplicate copy of the message. Really, really, really NOT confidence-inspiring.

I will be leaving ASO soon. The amount of stress from constantly getting all riled up by ASO's incompetence is not worth it. Massive privacy breach due to bad security practices (about which the final results of the "investigation" never were communicated back to customers)... taking down servers without telling customers first... claiming to be too incompetent to successfully email all their customers... promising not to over-email customers and then sending out duplicate copies of that promise....

I get the sense that with Tim gone, ASO has become over-run by idiots. It's really unfortunate that he lied when he told us all here on the forums that he would "never" sell his company.
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#2 djbaxter

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 12:02 PM

When I read posts like the above, I have to wonder. This certainly isn't the ASO that I host with or that I've been with for almost 5 years or that I continue to be impressed with.

Why is my experience so positive and mnorton's so negative? I really don't get it. ASO is the best hosting I'

ve ever had, and I hjave had a few over the years.
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#3 Nepherim

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 01:29 PM

I also got the newsletter twice, although personally it's not a big deal.

Why is my experience so positive and mnorton's so negative?

Look back on mnorton's post history for some insight. If you don't like the service you pay for then leave. Make an effort to change things, sure, but at some point stop talking, and start leaving.
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#4 -ASO- Frank

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 01:41 PM

I'd like to personally apologize if you received a duplicate announcement. There was a minor bug in the script we use to send out these emails that cause a few to get duplicated, mostly restricted to our oldest active clients.

We've located the cause of the bug, and have taken steps to ensure it does not occur again.

So, after the massive screw-up with how ASO handled the recent server migrations, everybody here told ASO about how they were retarded for not emailing clients first. ASO's response was pretty much that it's "too hard" for them to send out emails to all customers. Fortunately, it appears ASO is now attempting to forge ahead with better email communications by creating a monthly newsletter.


We never claimed that sending out mass emails was "too hard". We simply stated that from experience, we feel that sending out such an email would overload our helpdesk with tickets that are not legitimate issues, taking away from time that could be spent handling actual issues.
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#5 -ASO- Doug

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 02:01 PM

As Frank explained, this was a minor bug that caused about 2% of recipients to get duplicate emails. The bug has been fixed and shouldn't happen again. We chose this approach (asking customers to opt in) rather than assuming they'd want emails and automatically opting people in.

As a company, we don't send many emails out to large segments of our customers and we have been experimenting with different ways to get these emails sent out in a way that's effective. We decided to send our first email asking people to subscribe to our newsletter out through our own systems and will be sending future emails out through a third party email marketing company, so duplicates should not be a problem.

We've been taking steps to improve a number of things that you have mentioned as problems.

The server migrations were actually major (and extremely expensive steps) to improve server reliability. The old hardware is old and at its end of life, so we made a decision to migrate customers to brand new, top of the line hardware. Customers on our new servers have reported that their sites are running faster and that they see many improvements.

Since the security issue, we have taken a huge number of steps to improve the security on all of our servers (internal and customer servers) and have literally changed almost every security related policy at our company. The actual investigation is still ongoing with the U.S. Secret Service.


I apologize that you received a duplicate email and for other issues you've experienced with our company. We do what we can to prevent issues (i. e. server migrations) and we aren't always perfect at it. However, I think many of our customers have seen pretty significant improvements over the past year and a half and will continue to see many improvements in the future.

And of course, don't hesitate to reach out to me if you want my help with any issues you might be experiencing.
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#6 IBBoard

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 02:46 PM

And others of us appear not to have received it at all! Either that or it got junked (which would be a sensible reason not to send it).

TBH, while I can see ASO's reasons for not sending emails if it causes the less tech-savvy to trigger ticket explosions, I think I'd rather have notifications of major hardware changes that affected me instead of a newsletter*.



* Said with no knowledge of what is in the newsletter, but newsletters are generally not that important, otherwise they're announcements.
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#7 -ASO- Frank

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 03:16 PM

IBBoard: Yours actually hasn't sent yet, we have them queued up to send throughout the day. Should be to you within an hour or so.
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#8 NyteOwl

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 03:16 PM

Well I got the e-mail about the newsletter (two but that's no big deal) however my nit-to-pick is that it says to subscribe "click the link below". Unfortunately, there is no link below!
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#9 -ASO- Frank

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 03:41 PM

Well I got the e-mail about the newsletter (two but that's no big deal) however my nit-to-pick is that it says to subscribe "click the link below". Unfortunately, there is no link below!


Hm, There should be. The email was sent in HTML. Did you have html email disabled?

For what its worth, if for some reason you cannot click the link, you can go here to signup:

https://www.asmallor....com/subscribe/
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#10 NyteOwl

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 04:13 PM

Yep - don't do html mail, but normally links show up in the mail body anyway, just didn't this time.
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#11 mnorton

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 04:21 PM

To be clear, it's not the actual duplicate email that I'm upset about. I receive hundreds of spam messages in my junk box every day, so a duplicate message from a legitimate company I do business with is clearly not the end of the world.

What I *am* bothered by is the overall trend. ASO's response so far to this thread has been exactly what I was predicting. Every time something goes wrong, ASO's response is "we're sorry, it was a minor issue and it only affected 1-2% of our customers." I could care less if it only affected 1-2% of your customers. That's an internal matter for you to care about. I only care what affects ME. Whenever you guys say that, it comes across as, "we could've aimed for perfection, but were happy to settle for 98% instead, too bad for you that you ended up in the 2%."
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#12 mnorton

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 04:36 PM

We never claimed that sending out mass emails was "too hard". We simply stated that from experience, we feel that sending out such an email would overload our helpdesk with tickets that are not legitimate issues, taking away from time that could be spent handling actual issues.

I also really hate this attitude. Communication with customers *is* an "acutal issue." You're saying that if a paying customer has a question about their service, answering their question is not important to you because it isn't "legitimate?" It may not be a technical issue, but that doesn't reduce it's importance. If technical staff are getting overloaded with non-technical questions, then maybe the questions should be directed to more non-technical staff instead of being dismissed as not legitimate concerns.

When my stock broker recently made a bunch of changes to their login area, there were a series of emails about the changes. In the later emails, they also announced that because customers were having questions about the announcements, they were temporarily extending their call centre hours to include evenings and weekend (normally they're M-F 9-5), and customers were encouraged to call and have questions answered. Did this increase the load on their call centre? Almost certainly. But instead of complaining about how communicating with paying customers isn't an "actual issue," they realised that it's a cost of doing business and prepared for it.
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#13 -ASO- Frank

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 04:54 PM

Whenever you guys say that, it comes across as, "we could've aimed for perfection, but were happy to settle for 98% instead, too bad for you that you ended up in the 2%."


Unfortunately, we're not capable of recalling emails once they are sent. We're certainly not happy that it occurred, but there is little we can do to resolve it.
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#14 mnorton

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 04:55 PM

Ugh, sorry to reply-reply-reply, but....

Why is my experience so positive and mnorton's so negative?

Look back on mnorton's post history for some insight.

Can someone help me figure out how to do this? When I go to my profile and to "find my content," it says "(Search limited from 08-September 10)." I have been around here much longer than that. From what I recall, I wasn't angry for the early years, but now I'm curious. Maybe I was. In either case, please don't jump to conclusions about a person based on their posting history if you can only view the most recent posts.
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#15 -ASO- Frank

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 04:59 PM

Can someone help me figure out how to do this? When I go to my profile and to "find my content," it says "(Search limited from 08-September 10)." I have been around here much longer than that. From what I recall, I wasn't angry for the early years, but now I'm curious. Maybe I was. In either case, please don't jump to conclusions about a person based on their posting history if you can only view the most recent posts.


You can perform a Search based on the author.
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#16 IBBoard

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 01:36 PM

Just to pick some more holes in the emails... :)

1) The landing page is HTTPS but has insecure content ;) (appears to be JQuery and QuantServe tracking JS)

2) Looking at the link, I think I could sign a reasonable number of people up, just through guesswork. POST is good for confirming submissions rather than just GET :)
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#17 -ASO- Frank

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 04:56 PM

Just to pick some more holes in the emails... :)

1) The landing page is HTTPS but has insecure content ;) (appears to be JQuery and QuantServe tracking JS)

2) Looking at the link, I think I could sign a reasonable number of people up, just through guesswork. POST is good for confirming submissions rather than just GET :)


1) Yeah, the jquery code is remotely content, I'll probably move it local sometime in the near future to avoid that.

2) I originally had an encoded string that was passed to the subscribe link, but that proved problematic with the way we were sending those messages out. I'll probably recode it once everyone whose going to subscribe gets a chance to, to close that hole.
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