Bluehost’s Bad Attitude: Customer Service 101


Bluehost‘s director of customer service? Maybe.

More than a year ago, after significant frustrations with Westhost, I switched Contentious.com to Bluehost — and went through the hassle of moving the complex mass of files that this 10-year-old blog has become.

I’m really starting to regret that decision.

When I pay someone for service, at the very least I expect to be treated with respect. Today, Bluehost failed miserably on that front.

One of the main reasons I chose Bluehost was that they offer add-on domains, and I knew I’d need to host a separate domain for another project I’m working on (it wasn’t huge and wouldn’t take up much space or bandwidth, so I saw no point in paying for a separate hosting account for it).

Things were generally going OK with hosting both sites on my Bluehost account, until last November, when Contentious got hacked — someone sniffed my password when I logged on over open wifi and inserted spam into my blog. From that, I learned the importance of using secure login (SSL) for my WordPress blogs.

After much help from Tom Vilot, I was able to get the Admin-SSL WordPress plugin working for Contentious.com. (Bluehost tried hard at the time to upsell me on their $45/year SSL certificate and $30/year dedicated IP address, which I thought was ridiculous just to get secure login for a WordPress blog. All I need for that is access to their shared SSL.)

Since my other Bluehost-hosted site on the add-on domain includes a WordPress blog, and since I travel a lot and thus must sometimes rely on open wifi, I wanted to implement Admin-SSL for WordPress on my add-on domain. Tom was trying hard to make that happen, but the secure login kept redirecting to Contentious.com, not the other blog.

On Jan 22 I contacted Bluehost to ask for help with this problem. I finally received a response this morning, Feb. 2, a full 11 days (!!!) after I submitted the request. Here’s what they said, in full:

No SSL on add-on or sub domains. The way our system is set up is to make the main domain the SSL domain, we can not and will not create an SSL for an add-on or sub domain. The only option you have if you need multiple SSL then you must create a new account with us.

Thanks
Tr

Level 1 Support Engineer
Bluehost.com

Well, that simply sucks, in so many ways…

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AP replacing journalism with stenography?

Parade.com
AP let Parade off way too easy.

In my daily links post today, I noted Steve Outing‘s spot-on Jan 6 critique of this weekend’s gaffe by Parade Magazine — the popular full-color, feature-rich magazine wedged into already-bloated Sunday papers around the country. Here’s Outing’s description of what happened:

“Tens of millions of people were treated to an example of print media’s slide toward irrelevance this morning. Parade magazine, which is inserted in Sunday papers across the US, offered up its cover story about Benazir Bhutto: ‘Is Benazir Bhutto America’s best hope against al-Qaeda?’ (Only if you believe in reincarnation.)

“The story, an interview by Gail Sheehy done prior to Bhutto’s death, is particularly relevant now. But it needed to be reworked to acknowledge the assassination, of course.

“…Bhutto was assassinated on December 27. Parade shows up in newspapers with this embarrassingly outdated story 10 DAYS later! …Parade’s site, of course, does acknowledge the assassination, and explains its publishing schedule and why what people received in print is so outdated. And some newspapers ran editor’s notes along with the copy of today’s Parade — though not my local paper.”

Apparently, Parade is still in damage-control mode over this one. Today on Poynter’s site, uber-journo-blogger Jim Romenesko noted this Jan 6. AP story in which Parade publisher Randy Siegel offered this explanation…

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