Jan 13

ThinkHost: Pretends To Provide Webhosting, Pretends To Be Green

My LittleSister can’t get to her website dependably. Neither can I. Bet you can’t either. Nobody could yesterday. The really huge problem for LittleSister is that she can’t even get into backend to point the domain name somewhere else and just move the site.

Thing is, the tech support at ThinkHost is just horrible. Back in October, she opened a support ticket about a specific issue. It was something she’d always been able to do with other hosting providers with a few clicks – additional FTP functionality. That’s so easy on the three providers I’ve used that even I can do it.

Like a good customer, she went to their Knowledge Base for information. She found they suggest using a virtualFTP thingie (whatever that is) and that ThinkHost would set it up for a fee and it would then triple her monthly hosting fee.

The funny part is that they finally answered her original question after 15 days of telling her they couldn’t. This was after a message from tech support telling her how to cancel her account if she wasn’t happy with their service.

Now, I’ve got to let you know that I would never have signed up with this hosting service in the first place. And yeah, LittleSister knows that. She’s OK with me bursting into laughter within seconds of viewing the homepage.

What made me laugh? The logo tag: powered by wind and sun. Of course that explained LittleSister’s problem! She lives in Scotland and probably hasn’t seen the sun in several days. Yes, this is nonsense, but it’s just the way my mind works. Then again, ThinkHost is based in Portland OR and I’m wondering how much sun they’ve had recently too.

The site says “we provide world class hosting powered by renewable energy. let’s change the world together — join us today.” That is misleading because it is, of course, impossible. What they are doing (and is discussed on their site, so they’re not trying to hide it) is buying renewable energy tags, which sound a lot like carbon credits which have always struck me as similar to complex financial instruments, ie., useless and worthless paper.

Not that there’s not money to be made on carbon credits — my father owns timberland and has been approached with offers to buy his carbon credits. His scam-o-meter alerted him to the fact they don’t really make sense and he didn’t sell because he didn’t want to be involved with scammers on any side of the scam.

To LittleSister, this green thing sounded good. She is a good-hearted person and wants to do things in a way that is best for the ecology. And she’s a progressive and we agree on very little politically. But durnit, she’s my sister and she was scammed and that really irritates me.

I have little doubt that the collective at ThinkHost thinks they are doing good and no doubt at all they are trying. If they want to succeed, they are first going to have to refine that little thing about “world class” hosting. It doesn’t mean leaving your customers in the dark to save electricity.

What I do not believe for one minute is that the “green” and “progressive” angles are not marketing tools. When someone signs up for hosting with ThinkHost, they are buying conscience relief; psychological carbon credits. They are paying higher (in my opinion, at least) prices for the hosting because the company is in political agreement with them, plants a tree for each customer and gives progressive non-profits discounted hosting.

OK, that’s a bit snarky, but geez… I can’t help it! (sorry LittleSister). But you agree that non-profits are not helped by poor service and technical support. I know you do.

It occurs to me that these greenies may be simply capitalists/opportunists with a niche product designed to empty the pockets of greenies and progressives. Except they picked on my sister. Nobody should pick on my sister, ya know?

I’m through. For now. If you are in the market for web hosting, please overlook ThinkHost. How green can a site be if their service increases one’s desire to throw things which will then have to be replaced?

11 Responses to “ThinkHost: Pretends To Provide Webhosting, Pretends To Be Green”

  1. LittleSister says:

    Wow… it actually loaded this morning!

  2. Donna B. says:

    For me too! Glad you’re BACK! I still don’t think much of ThinkHost.

  3. Donna B. says:

    No AspenDew today :-(

  4. Talina says:

    I too am growing tired of my site host… Siteocity.com
    Yesterday my site went down 3 different times and has been experiencing random outages for 2 weeks now. I am on my last nerve with them!

  5. Donna B. says:

    Talina, I was beginning to wonder if you had the same host my sis does. I’ve used MyHosting and GoDaddy and I’ve been pretty happy with both, but I especially love that I can get a real live person on the phone with GoDaddy, 24/7

  6. LittleSister says:

    It’s down again. This is ridiculous.

  7. LittleSister says:

    Still down. They’ve offered me a free month’s hosting tacked onto the end of my subscription. I told them that was useless to me as I’m not staying with them a second longer than I have to, but I did tell them I would allow them to credit that amount to my credit card. Oddly enough, I have not had a response.

  8. Donna B. says:

    This company is the worst! Remember when we bought hosting for the Foreman project? When it was cancelled, six months into the year, there was a refund.

  9. LittleSister says:

    I really, really, REALLY hate to say this. But you were right. About Thinkhost, at least.

  10. Donna B. says:

    I just really, really hate scams, and that’s what the entire carbon credit/renewable energy tag/carbon cap stuff sounds like. No one is actually using less power or generating less carbon, they are just spreading the “use” around “evenly” and have created a “paper” value of something that doesn’t exist.

    And it’s costing us all money. The DOD and the EPA are the largest purchasers of renewable energy tags, which means they are using our tax dollars to pay more for electricity than the power company charges. Explain to me how that helps?

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to reduce the regulatory costs to implementing alternate energy sources?

    Sorry… ranting a bit here, but the whole mess pisses me off.

  11. Sleep says:

    Before I buy even the smallest thing online, I search around the Internet to see what people are saying. In the case of webhosts, I’ve had the same web host for 10 years — pair.com — and I’d say that although their prices are not the greatest, they’ve never given me any problems whatsoever. Every time I’ve thought that my sites have gone down it has always turned out to be a problem on my end. I’ve set up accounts with two other webhosts alongside pair, but cancelled each of them within one month of signup because despite the lower prices at both hosts they suffered from various technical issues and had poor customer support. I nearly got myself caught in a third trap, but I was swayed by the massively negative opinion of their hosting services on Internet discussion boards.