It appears that Typepad is over-charging their customers and providing no service. A major problem with my blog was finally addressed 39 hours and 14 minutes after I contacted support. By "addressed," what I mean is that Typepad finally got back to me and told me they couldn't help.
What takes longer than an hour?
I have had many technical issues with web sites in the past, ranging from design, to login problems, to complex database issues. I don't recall any of those problems taking more than an hour to resolve except for when my gmail was hacked. In that case I was dealing with a company that was known for being difficult to get hold of and gmail isn't exactly their main product.
Typepad's "great" service
But Typepad tells you how great their service is, and their main product is hosting of blogs.
From Typepad's 'About' page:
We’re here to help. Here at TypePad, we’re passionate about customer service. We provide customer support 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We want you to get the answers you need, and we’ve developed a huge Knowledge Base and a responsive online help system to make sure that happens.
They pretend to appreciate me
Pajama Market has been featured as a Typepad Featured Blog. They have also interviewed me in their Typepad Featured Interviews. Finally, Typepad uses my quotes on their testimonials page, one of only 14 quotes they use. So it's not like they don't know I exist.
Fix it or let me know you can't ASAP
My problem was very simple. I had screwed up a file (my style sheet) and I asked them to replace it with the version from yesterday, or a week ago (every web host I know of has daily, or at least weekly backups of all the web sites they are managing).
I was a little concerned when I found that the only way to contact support was through their trouble ticket form. No phone, no IM. When a day had passed and I hadn't heard anything, I attempted to contact them through their sales department. That left me even more frustrated. Read about it in yesterday's post.
Then I was even more concerned when I found there was no way to prioritize how bad my problem was. With other web hosts I've used, you get options like 'minor problem,' 'major problem' and 'web site crashed.' With no way to prioritize, it left me wondering if my "major problem" was going to be handled after thousands of stupid questions that support gets every day. Apparently it was. What if my blog was completely down, not working?
Simple fix not possible at Typepad
The response I received today was that they couldn't do what I was asking. If you are so inclined, you may read their response here. They couldn't do this simple thing that any other web host in the country could have done for me in five minutes. And it took them a day and a half to say so. What crap!
What am I paying premium prices for?
So the question remains, WTF am I paying for? $15 a month is a lot of money for a web site. If they can't do a simple thing like restore a broken page, I'm not sure what the value of the service is...especially if it takes them 37 hours to tell you.
WordPress is free, and if you host it at a company like GoDaddy, it will cost you under $7 a month, and that's with any domain name you want. You don't have to have a stupid one like pajamamarket.typepad.com (I pay extra to have a "regular" looking web site address).
My follow-up trouble ticket
Finally, I sent a second trouble ticket to the support desk this morning, wondering if anyone was working there? They responded in 35 minutes (one minute after responding to my other trouble ticket). Their response? Upgrade to the "Premium Package" at $30/month and service would be guaranteed within six hours.
So I can pay twice as much for my web site, and still not get service equal to GoDaddy's at less than $7 month. That makes sense. Here is that email:
On May 2, 2008 11:37:44 AM, you (Brian) said:
Hello? It's been 39 hours since I submitted ticket #801568. I haven't heard anything. Is there any support at Typepad???
On May 2, 2008 12:12:27 PM, TypePad Customer Support said:
We receive a large number of support requests each day and respond to them in the order they come in. If you require priority support, we'd suggest upgrading to Premium. Users at the Premium level have a guaranteed response time of six hours.
There are more details about the different levels here:
If you'd like to upgrade to Premium, you can do so via Control Panel > Account Info > Upgrade/Downgrade Account.
We hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns.
They get a customer who is very frustrated and not getting any action so they try to up-sell them. Great customer service Typepad.
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