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  1. #1
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    FastNext. Good affiliate program, nice hosting packages, terrible customer service.
    From the FastNext web site:
    "fast support, 24 hours a day,
    7 days a week"

    OK, I am having a problem, I will try the Live Support option. I log in, it tells me to wait for an operator, five minutes later I get "hello, my name is XXXXXX how can I help you?" GREAT I think, I have a live person, I reply with my problem only to get a popup confirmation that my message will not go through until accepted by an operator....20 minutes goes by...nothing.

    So I call their 24-7 phone number. I get someone who can't help me and tells me to open a support ticket. I explain that I have been waiting for chat for near 30 minutes now....open a support ticket. He IMs someone in support and they tell him that all the chat lines are open and the operators are idle, so he said open a new chat window, I do, I send the explanation of the problem, nothing. He says they can see my message, he confirms this with information from my chat, but they can't reply so I have to open a support ticket. He says that it is my Firefox browser causing the problem, I try another chat box in MSIE....you guessed it....nothing, notta.

    I open a support ticket and get a smartass message from a supervisor regarding my compaint and my request for better service for a paying customer, and they need my login and password to help me. First of all, why can't a hosting company access accounts from their end? Why must the customer supply them with their login and password? Why is the supervisor so rude to someone who is having a legitimate problem with both their product and their service?

    FastNext has some great features and as long as everything is working they are a fine company. As soon as you have to deal with their support you are in trouble. They claim to offer service that they do not provide. They are fast to take my money but really, really slow to help with problems and it always leads to a half hour wasted with with their support staff only to be told to open a support ticket. This same scenario has happened EVERY time I have attempted to get support from them.

    This is possibly the best hosting package coupled with the worst customer service anywhere on the Internet. It's quite frustrating.


  2. #2
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    This is possibly the best hosting package coupled with the worst customer service anywhere on the Internet. It's quite frustrating.
    I have been there, but I only have a low priority site with FASTNEXT. I have never liked phone support with any host I've used. My favorite hosting that I have about 25 sites with doesn't even offer it, but thy are fast and good with their ticket system.

    Anybody can set up hosting. The technical info is all out there and available, but support takes time especially when there is a language difference. My best hosting is US servers with Bulgarian support.

    These guys at FASTNEXT will make it but if you happen to be in their learning curve it could require some Job like patience. I found that they are trying, and that language is slowing them down.

  3. #3
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    Thier attitude that they are right and the customer is wrong no matter what, is what is slowing them down.
    The language barrier is frustrating because that is when the phone operator shuts down, when you have to spell things out the language barrier is very obvious.

    I have traded several comments via their ticket system today with someone who claims to be a supervisor. If that is how their supervisors act toward their customers they will never make it. Maybe in eastern Europe you can be rude to your customers, but it is not customary in the US.

  4. #4
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    To further support my claim, I received another message from one of their supervisors this morning claiming that my chat sessions I attempted only lasted 30 seconds when they lasted well over 30 minutes. These people's support system is broken but they are too shortsighted to look into this, so they simply blame it on the customer.

    OK FastNext you win. You are always right and I and all of your other customers are wrong and we do not know what we are talking about. There! Feel better now?
    FastNext = Smart
    Scott = Stupid

    I would take a windows video proving that their system is broken and send it to them, but that would also come with a bill for consulting. If they are not customercentric enough to figure it out on their own it's not my problem.

    BTW, they did fix my problem, it took them about 30 minutes to fix it, but unfortunately it took me ALL DAY to communicate the problem to them through their language barriers and their arrogant attitude!

    I still say this is a great hosting platform, perfect for affiliates!! But man, if you need support you will need to schedule a day to weave your way through their constant insistance that they are right and you are wrong and that makes their entire operation a joke in my eyes.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    "I still say this is a great hosting platform, perfect for affiliates"

    Scoot - what do they have or what do they do that is particularly affiliate friendly?
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  6. #6
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    They have a simplified way of adding sites to your account. They have easy setup and support of subdomains. Their system supports htaccess for every domain, not just one htaccess file for all domains as is the case on some of their competitors. They support SSH logins so I can zip and unzip files directly on the server. They have a nice interface for setting up databases etc. They have a simple way to set up email forwarding and wutoresponders (although this was the root of my problem yesterday). They offer lots of accounts, bandwidth etc. Everything that I need for small to medium sized sites they have.
    I have a dedicated server that my large sites live on, but I am seeking a smaller, cheaper solution for new sites and other small projects. I am not a server administrator so there are some things that I don't know how to do on my server. As long as everything is working their service fits my needs perfectly.
    I only wish they would fix support. If their support were more effective, efficient and streamlined this thread would be a FastNext advertisement instead of a rant.

  7. #7
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    ...
    FastNext = Smart
    Scott = Stupid
    Looks likei need changing to:
    Scott + NEW Host = Smart

    ...a great hosting platform, perfect for affiliates!! But man, if you need support you will need to schedule a day to weave your way through their constant insistance that they are right and you are wrong and that makes their entire operation a joke in my eyes.
    Great hosting platform? Sounds like a very Expen$ive hosting platform to me. How much is a day of your time worth? Be sure to add that on to the cost of their [apparently] very inexpensive plans.

    Keep in mind, also, that if they attract a LOT of clients who fill their gigabytes of allotted space and actually use TERABYTES of bandwidth, that their prices are likely to substantially increase or...

    I have always believed that is is "false economy" to cut corners on hosting-- especially considering the business we are in.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beachy
    I have always believed that is is "false economy" to cut corners on hosting-- especially considering the business we are in.
    Great point Beachy. I have had this discussion with affiliate friends before and I would gladly pay $49.95 a month for something like this that had fewer problems and better support. The plan I have costs about $8 a month I think. I don't remember but I think I paid for 6 months in advance.

    The hosting industry is SO stuck in this $5.95 a month mindset that they can actually explain away service that sucks as, "Hey, waddya want for $5 a month?" and I agree. I have searched high and low for a company that offers what I need and really supports it when you call them and I am willing to pay for it, but it does not exist. What you get are situations like this where the price is cheap and they make outrageous claims of 24-7 support but in reality you get what we see here.

    When a web developer needs support from his host and it is something relatively simple, not a dead server or dns meltdown or something big, there should be someone at the other end of the phone or live chat that can
    A) fix it
    B) send it to the higher level and communicate your issues to them and at least get some kind of window as to when it might be fixed
    C) be able to understand your problem and communicate with you as to what you have tried on your own to fix it

    There are certain elements of customer support that must be met in certain indistries. In the hosting industry the first level phone support people must be able to qualify the situation. Ask what the problem is, what you have tried to fix it, what exactly are you trying to do and attempt to fix the issue if it is within their realm. If not, then they should communicate with the next tier and let you know what kind of timeline to expect. But by the time they communicate with the next tier they will have qualified the problem and will know exactly what to tell the senior support people. This saves everyone time and money.
    This company is void of a feasable, workable support system. Their software is obviously faulty and their people are not trained and there is an unbearable language barrier that is so bad that their reps stop in the middle of a call, throw their hands up and tell you to submit a trouble ticket.

  9. #9
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Interesting that you should mention $49.95. That's what I am paying for each of two VPS setups. I refuse to put all of my eggs in the same basket. The VPS units are on different servers within the same company. I also have two reseller accounts with a totally different company. I host my lesser sites on the reseller accounts and my main bread and butter ones are on the VPS accounts.

    However, in looking at the specs of the account you have (the $7.95 one?) I could host my ENTIRE operation there and have loads of space and tons of bandwidth left over. (The Space Shuttle may need TBs of data transfer, but I doubt if [m]any of us do. )

    PM on the way...
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  10. #10
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    I was pretty annoyed with FastNext in January, when I first learned about the major communication/language issues faced by their support staff:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=83337

    Ultimately, it all become moot because they finally acknowledged that despite claims on their site at the time, they did not offer Windows hosting at all.

    But I certainly won't include FastNext on my list of hosting options in the future, nor would I send customers to them as an affiliate, because it's very clear that their support staff is incapable of effective communications in the English language.

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager adambha's Avatar
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    I had 'tried' FastNext for a 'side-project' earlier this fall and basically had the same conclusion.

    I had a few very basic requests (dedicated IP, SSH) and those were handled 'alright' but not easily. Then, I had some issues/questions about mod_rewrite and they honestly had no idea what I was talking about, but much like Scott said, they try to blame it on something on my end, "We're smart...you're dumb"

    I just looked at my emails and it only took me five trouble tickets and fourteen days to give up and cancel.

  12. #12
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    I refuse to put all of my eggs in the same basket. The VPS units are on different servers within the same company.
    I'm sorry Beachy,

    But I find something funny on that quote.

    I think you're in deed putting all your eggs on the same basket!

    According to what you just posted, it looks you may have all of your eggs on different baskets, but according to your post, they are all on the same truck.

    What would happen if that same truck get stuck on a railroad track?




    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    Sorry Beachy, but I couldn't resist and I had to post that.



  13. #13
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    I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Sal on this one -- having two separate "virtual private servers" hosted at the same company doesn't quite seem like enough. (On the same note, if you're not very careful, you can pay for two completely separate accounts from two completely separate companies, only to learn that the two companies use the same datacenter, or might even share the same rack.)

    I suppose if the two servers are hosted on machines that are located in different datacenters, then there is some benefit. But try listing "what could go wrong" and figure out which of these matters most or is most likely to occur.

    (1) Server crashes (for example, failure of power supply, hard disk, motherboard, or any other key component).
    - Affects one server

    (2) Accidents: someone working in the facility bumps your rack or trips on a cable, pulling out your power cord or network cable.
    - Affects one server or one rack within datacenter.

    (3) Power outage at datacenter (backup power also fails).
    - Affects all servers at datacenter.

    (4) Backhoe error: destruction of physical wires connecting datacenter to outside world.
    - Affects all servers at datacenter.

    (5) Business issues: company goes out of business; bandwidth provider stops providing connectivity; PG&E bill unpaid; servers repossessed.
    - Affects all servers at all datacenters.

    (6) Support and staff issues: key staff quit or are fired, leaving insufficient trained staff to provide support and resolve issues.
    - May affect one datacenter or all datacenters.

    (7) DDOS attacks: Your server OR the nameserver used by your server is attacked by a "distributed denial of service" attack.
    - May affect one datacenter OR all datacenters.

    (8) Competence issues: While installing updates or scripts, datacenter staff screw up the server, forcing a re-install or restore-from-backup. Or staff fails to keep servers at proper temperature. Or staff accidentally submits DNS transfers for its nameservers. Or a zillion other human errors that can and do occur.
    - May affect one server, one rack, one datacenter, or all datacenters.


    Some lessons:

    (A) Back in the dot-com-boom days, I colocated a server at a datacenter for a company which actually went public on the exact same day I was installing the server. All the millionaire employees quit or took vacations, leaving staff that were new and inexperienced to do work they could not handle.

    (B) I once had a server colocated in a datacenter where my server shared a network loop with several other clients' servers. All of their Linux servers were hijacked and used as zombies to launch a DDOS attack on some outside server -- this oversaturated the local network loop, preventing my server from receiving requests or serving pages.

    (C) I once had a server in a datacenter which had inadequate air conditioning. It kept failing, every afternoon. The facility wouldn't acknowledge there was a problem until I physically went to check the server and noticed the temperature -- it was probably 75 degrees at the floor and 90 degrees at the top of the rack. My server was moved from its top-of-rack position to the bottom of another rack, and the problems ended.

  14. #14
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sal
    I'm sorry Beachy,...But I find something funny on that quote....I think you're in deed putting all your eggs on the same basket!...According to what you just posted, it looks you may have all of your eggs on different baskets, but according to your post, they are all on the same truck...What would happen if that same truck get stuck on a railroad track?...Sorry Beachy, but I couldn't resist and I had to post that...
    Actually two trucks, gentlemen. That's why I still keep those reseller accounts I mentioned with a different company - and [actually] in another state. I use the VPS, which are "less" shared and hence have a bit better/more consistent performance. But if the "backhoe operator" did knock out the lines into the Virginia NOC, my main sites would only be out of business for a couple hours. The "other truck" in New Jersey has backups of my bread and butter sites - not exctly a "mirror" - but I keep a recent iteration of my "biggies" duplicated there. And with nearly real time DNS changes available through eNom, I can make a DNS change and be back online in short order.

    It is also possible, and inexpensive, to set up a "failover" DNS service through a service like EasyDNS, but I haven't yet found reason to do so.

    I recall a couple years (3 +/-) ago Rackshack, then EV1Servers, (who recently merged with The Planet), had an electrical control center knocked out by a tech who [literally] dropped a screwdriver. It caused a major short and a fire. There were several hundred (couple thousand?) dedicated servers out for (I believe) two days or so. So, you are right, the "disaster" can happen, and for a multitude of reasons.

    Then about 2 1/2 years ago, DINIX made a datacenter move from Texas to Jersey and promised their clients (me among them) no more than a 12 hour outage. When I found out they were going to physically move the servers by truck I knew it had to be more than 12 hours, so I bailed out and moved to a larger company. I got my move done the day before they shut down for the move. Glad I did, because the customers who stayed had a minimum of 48 hours offline, and some took a week to get back into operation.

    Ever since then I realized I needed to keep some options open. Server companies are just like hard drives; it's not a matter of "if" there will be a creash, but "when."
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  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    If you are the type of person that finds it a hassle to work with the multiple companies look at The Planet. They have 6 different physical datacenters in Texas. When I was with them and had multiple servers I requested and received my servers in 2 different data centers. So I had a lot of redundancy without multiple bills.

    I agree with Mark - take your highest risk items and mitigate those. One of the things he didn't mention though ; one of your highest risk items is yourself. Keep different copies of your code in different places i.e. backup server2 gets a copy of your code and data a week after you put it on your live server server1. So if you screw up something on your machine, and then you upload it to server1 you can still get to an old backup copy on server2. Use server1 as the live server for 1/2 your sites and server2 as the live server for the other 1/2. Then the 'other' server because the backup for the live one. Make sense? I hope so.
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  16. #16
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    FastNext is currently down. Their site works, but none of mine there do. No answer to the telephone, no answer to live chat. What a pitiful excuse for a hosting company. 24/7 support...yeah right.


  17. #17
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Their site works, but none of mine there do.
    Mine is down too.

  18. #18
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    I was live chatting with one of their tech support named "Yan" about a hour ago about the problem. He said there are some guys attacking their server, and their tech support team was working hard on finding the hackers and ban them.

    He don't know when the problem will be solved.

    He sounded pretty nice and applogized for the inconveniences.

  19. #19
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    Why is their own site OK then? If there was a system-wide attack their own site should be down. If they can keep their own site up during an attack, they can keep ours up too, but only if they want to.


  20. #20
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Mine's back up. They are going to be hard to sell if they dump their reputation.

    Edit: No it's not. I typed a site of mine with a similar URL and didn't look after I saw it come up. Sorry.
    Last edited by bumpaw; February 27th, 2007 at 09:47 PM.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    My site is down, too. Guess it doesn't make much sense to contact them if they're already aware of it.
    I agree that everyone there I have had contact with have always been very nice, too. I don't know anything about system attacks so don't know why this happens.

  22. #22
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Sure wish they'd purchase a spam filter for their POP3 email hosting accounts as they have to switch IP# just to keep major ISP's from blocking their domain forwarding e-mail. They're up to 95% of all e-mails as spam with little or no filtering to blackhole the perps.

    My site should be back up shortly and I enjoy seeing my new Gmail account whack hundreds of spams/hr sent to ecomcity.com legit aliases. All should be blackholed at fastnext if they had a e-mail spam filter worth a hoot..
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  23. #23
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    The above-mentioned problems with several sites’ downtime were caused by DDOS targeting one of our servers. The attack lasted for about 2 hours. The server was up all the time and visitors could experience only short time outages due to the fact that we were blocking large IP ranges attacking the server for 30 min in an attempt to keep the server operational.
    As you can see the server was not rebooted for 10 days.

    Code:
    root@mu [~]# w
     13:28:53 up 10 days,  9:55,  2 users,  load average: 3.56, 3.88, 3.75
    You can learn more about DDoS at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDoS#Distributed_attack
    We have installed TippingPoint Security Management System that allows stopping most of the DDoS and security intrusion attacks automatically. However, it is not a panacea and in cases when attacks target particular service(s) and traffic masques to look legit we have to filter the traffic manually or just block some IP ranges for short periods of time until ISPs cope to block/disconnect the infected customers.


    UncleScooter

    You think that we are not objective. So, here are some facts:

    1.Attached to this post you can find 2 screenshots of your chat sessions. As you can see both chat sessions lasted for about 30 seconds. From February 24 more than 200+ chat sessions were served without any complaints. So the software does work.
    By design chat software relies on JavaScript, Ajax and need browser security settings to be properly configured to allow your browser to communicate with our site interactively (post data, run scripts, etc.) Also your ISP’s firewall should not interrupt long TCP connections. It is common for most of the chat software. Default browser settings allow you to use chat without any problems. In case you have a problem we would be glad to try to help you, but we’ll need more info (your browser version, your browser settings, etc.) or remote assistant request sent from Windows Messenger.

    2. When you called our support, the support representative had advised you to submit a support trouble ticket, because your issue required an administrator to check logs and test how your mail is forwarded. Also, FastNext’s support had to get a password for your mailbox in order to investigate your problem.

    The support is instructed to accept calls that require customer’s passwords only via trouble tickets. All requests that should be escalated to the server administrator are also should be submitted via trouble ticket. The reasons are obvious.

    3. You have submitted your trouble ticket to the supervisor instead of support. Unlike the support team, a supervisor may not always be available. As a result, the problem was solved within 20 min, but you spent some time waiting for the supervisor to work on your issue.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #24
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    Yep Serge. You are right. I am wrong. That's the FastNext way!

    I signed up for a VPS with one of your competitors for these needs last night and will soon be out of your hair.

    And, by the way, it was not until I tried to spell out my email address to the guy on the phone that he shut down and insisted on a trouble ticket. It was a CLEAR communication breakdown and you can remain in denial of this if you desire. He did not understand me. But you go right ahead on this path you are on. I am sure you are gaining customers at a nice rate. In your industry it is those who keep the customers who succeed in the long run. You have some happy customers here from the free hosting giveaway, but I have never met or talked to anyone who used your service and paid for it who was anywhere near happy with your support department.

    As for your chat software, I guess I am just an idiot. Why in the hell would I sit and wait for a reply for 30 minutes? It happened again last night, but...as always, you are right and your customer is wrong.

    Best of luck to you building a successful business around that corporate philosophy.


  25. #25
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    I really sorry you feel like that. I hope you will have a better experience with your new host.

    We are always eager to listen to customer feedback and to do our best to improve.

    I have never told that you were not right and neither I nor our support has dared to use rude language when communicating with you. Your issue was resolved and you were offered help with live chat.

    You have decided to bring your issue to ABW despite the fact that it was already resolved and ABW is not a FastNext customer support forum. I have no intention to start a long flame with you. The only reason I post in this thread is to explain how our support teams process support requests.

    1. Staff that answers phone calls is instructed to ask customers to submit ticket for all and any requests that require attention of the Level1 support or server administrators.

    Reasons:

    - It is much easier to pass such request to the other support representative than using pieces of paper, etc.
    - The number of errors caused by misspelled URLs, ips, logins ,decreases.
    - The customer has ticket ID it can refer to when contacting support again. He would not need to start explaining everything from the beginning, because support rep can look up ticket history.
    - Admin/Level1 support can always contact customer via the ticket for the additional information.
    - Customer request cannot be lost

    If we do not follow this policy, we get:

    - A number of lost requests, because admins/level1 support will have to deal with assorted heap of pieces of paper rather than ordered trouble tickets.
    - Average resolution time will increase because of the spelling errors.
    - Customers will be frustrated because should the problem not be resolved by one support shift they will have to explain everything from the very beginning to another support representative.
    - Should admin/level1 support need any additional information from the customer it will require some time to locate customer contacts when using trouble ticket he should just hit ‘reply’ button.

    2. All requests that require administrator attention and are not urgent or server-wide are dealt via tickets.

    Reasons:

    - Server wide problems (like DDoS, server overload, spam, etc.)are priority 1 for the administrator
    - Administrator has time for resolving customer requests when everything ok with servers and at that time he’ll be able to concentrate on the problem and really solve it rather than saying something to the customer in order to get rid of him and react to the server alerts.

    If we do not follow this policy, we get:

    - Increased server downtime because of the overlooked server wide problems like server overloads, etc.
    - Admins won’t be able to concentrate on live chat with particular customer and we’ll get more complaints about bad communication.

    3. All requests that require passwords to be mentioned or reset should be dealt only via tickets.

    Reasons:
    - When a customer logins to the helpdesk it identifies himself with the billing login and password, so, we can be pretty sure that he is real account owner.
    - Everything that was mentioned above (spelling errors, direct communication between the customer and support representative, better turnaround, etc.)
    If we do not follow this policy, we get:
    - One day you may find your site controlled by your ex-partner, competitor, etc.
    - Spelling passwords like Ds[e[jkmYf[e[jkm2004!Rhennf is not a trivial task.

    I am typing all of this up hoping that it will help ABWers to better understand our internal support policies and why we following them in particular ways.

    PS. Such policies are pretty common in the hosting industry. For example The Planet that was mentioned in this thread starts every phone call with a request for the TT # of the issue and insists on opening trouble ticket for any sort of the issue. Trouble tickets help big support teams to solve intercommunication issues and work more efficiently.

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