(Webhost) Experience is Relative

It seems to be a human condition to extend our own experiences to generalities. So for example, in hours trying to help my wife and her computer woes (like Windows not being able to open desktop windows), I can say with confidence, “Windows Sucks”. Or when I put in a telephone call to my insurance company and get passed around a phone tree and disconnected, “XXXXXXX has bad customer service.” Or if I experiment with Second Life, walk into walls and get accosted by a giant furry waving a phallus, I might conclude, “Second Life is useless!”

So it goes with web hosting services. Last week I noticed that while I was getting RSS feeds from Stuart’s Using Wiki in Education blog, every time I followed a story, and for that matter every one of his URLs went to a blank page. He emailed back, citing bad experience with WordPress and PHP on his webhost company. So trying to be helpful, I replied, “I’ve had great luck the last few months since switching to Dreamhost!” where he responded, “THEY are the ones I have all the trouble with!” (this is almost one of those email as IM-like exchanges).

So what’s to conclude? I switched to Dreamhost based on great remarks by folks like D’Arcy and liked their packaged deals (I rolled a few domains and personal email into one host), and the setup was smooth.

But now, over the weekend, my wife and I were unable to send email for 36 hours as they had issues with their SMTP servers. It cleared up Sunday. Yet last night, gremlins popped up again, as neither of us are able to contact or receive mail from their POP server. Filing an outage report, the response was the problem was confirmed- “There is currently a very high load on your E-mail servers due to a network issue connecting to some of the NFS file servers it mounts.”, and later messaged by it had been resolved 4 hours ago.

But it’s not.

So what’s to conclude? Individual experiences weigh heaviest on us, but are they really suitable for make grand sweeping conclusions.

The only one I am steadfastly sure of is … “Windows Sucks”

(ducking the lobbed tomatoes from PC fanatics)

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Certainly true, but when individual experiences combine to be group experiences, you can often see trends.

    I suppose at the end of the day it’s not that something happened, but what the company does to mitigate it. (Apologising, offering free stuff, whatever.)

  2. I agree Patrick about emergent group experiences, but for things like this, (a) how do group experiences become public information, easy to fine; and (b) how is this point defined?

    If the group experience differs from my own (let’s say I passionately love Windows) than isn’t the natural human tendency to discount the counter experience? Just idle curiosity

  3. My best example was my experience dealing with a New Zealand company, Magnum Mac. The situation was handled so badly (in my opinion) that I blogged about it. The entry quickly ended up as the second result for the company name (sadly since I moved the MovableType stuff off onto crypt.soapbox.co.nz it’s dropped off), and managed to rack up a number of “me too” comments – plus a number of private emails of similar stories. No promotion was necessary for that (I did nothing different than my usual blog posting process. No digg, no slashdot, no 15 mintues of fame.)

    Now in that case I’m willing to accept that other people have had positive experiences – in fact I’m sure most people who go in, give them money, walk out and never need to go back have great experiences.

    As to natural human tendencies – I think you’re right. I suppose it comes down to if the majority of people who have an opinion have a positive or negative one.

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