Musing 2014 #1 – Cautionary Tale

A Cautionary Tale of Low Prices

Recently we heard a sad tale. A client had gone with a *VERY* low cost hosting company ($5.00 /mo) instead of our ‘more expensive’ offering ($30.00/mo). She recently found out the high cost of the low cost solution. Let me explain.

The service was $5.00 /mo and as she has now found out, pretty much anything other than hosting, was an add-on (analytics, anti-spam filters, etc, etc). She was fortunate in that she had a friend who helped with some of the other items as a favour. So far so good. Then suddenly the site disappeared.

When she called their tech support she was told various things (none of which were helpful) and they did not seem terribly concerned. She insisted and they escalated the call and after 2 days of having no website she was finally told that ‘there had been an issue with the server’, her environment would be active again shortly and she could just restore from her backup.

Now, here is where it gets really interesting, she said what backup, don’t you backup your servers…. And they said, no, it is you responsibility unless you sign up for the add-on (more $$) of automatic backups.

So, she has been down 2 days, has no current backup of her site. Where does that leave her business? She may be able to contact her web designer and get a copy of the original site but what about her blog posts and all the updates that have been done over the past 2 or 3 years? That is all gone.

We could blame her for not signing up for the backup service and and and…. But we have a different view. The hosting company should not have started off with a low-ball price that did not address the needs of a business. That is just not right. We recognize that we are the experts and we should offer a full service to our customers that takes care of all their needs and relieves the customer from having to worry about the technology. In this case, the customer was not warned, was not educated, was not well served by this hosting company. If she was warned about the backup and chose to ignore it, shame on her but she was not given the option. As well, we don’t feel that an essential item like this should be an option… it is essential so we include it (along with a whole bunch of other helpful/ useful features).

So, what is the true cost of this low cost service?? I would submit a whole lot more than the difference between the $5.00 /mo and our offering when you consider;

Lost opportunities when the site is down.
Cost of the staff time to chase this down and fix it.
Cost to recreate lost content, etc.

Why this tale? Simple, we would like to prevent this same thing from happening to any other of our customers. Please call us @ 1-800-263-8433 or email us info@hardsoft.ca for a FREE review of your current website and email hosting and let’s make sure that this does not happen to you.

What is CASL you ask? CASL is Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation and it starts July 1st/14. It covers a wide range of communication methods but we will be focusing on email in this summary. Why do you care? Well, the maximum penalty is $10 million so I think we need to understand it. To boil it down, CASL is aimed at reducing spam which is a good thing. The critical thing to understand is that the law defines that the infraction is measured by the end point for the spam not the source. So, theoretically, if you receive spam from a company in South Africa and it is reported, our government will go after that company on your behalf.

What constitute spam in CASL? Electronic, one way communication where there is no consent nor relationship between the 2 parties. So, if a client has purchased goods and services from you and you are sending email pertaining to those products and services, great. If a client has explicitly opted –in to an email list you maintain, great. If you currently have an email list you send regular business communications to (newsletters, special offers, etc) you will need to, before July 1st /14, get the explicit consent of those persons on the list in order to continue sending this communication.

The 2nd half of this legislation is that you must include you postal address and an easy, straight forward way for the recipient to unsubscribe from the list. If they choose to unsubscribe, you must remove them from the list within a week.

Also, going forward, all signup forms/ mechanisms must have an explicit opt-in mechanism in order for you to send them information. As well, now that there is a law that could be enforced, you need to keep evidence that the recipient did indeed opt-in. a simple example is a fishbowl at a trade fair. If the sign on the bowl says ‘put your business card in the bowl to receive information about our products and services’…. After the show, enter all the addresses into the database, then put the cards and the sign in an envelope, date it and file it. If there is a complaint, we can prove there was consent. Similarly, for electronic consent, there must be a record of the opt-in kept somehow.

There are more subtleties to CASL (such as limits as to how long you can keep communicating after the consent is given, etc) but we have just wanted to give you an overview of CASL here.

We would be happy to meet with you and discuss this in more detail and help to implement a plan to ensure you are CASL compliant before the July 1st/ 14 deadline.

Contact Us Now! Complete the form below or call 1- 800 263 3433

 

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