It’s been almost one year since we examined the virtues and short-comings of top web host 1&1 Internet. With 10 million registered domain names, 9 million customer contracts and 5 data centers in operation, 1&1 is clearly claiming a massive share of the hosting market. What begs for closer inspection is how 1&1 Internet can continue to compete with web hosts, maintain its profit margin and hold on to its growing population of disgruntled customers.
Of course, 1&1 may try to fool, er, “entice” potential customers with contemptible claims such as unlimited bandwidth, eco-friendly hosting and ready-made web templates for small business owners who don’t understand the value of paying a web designer. The simple fact is that a year from our first analysis of 1&1, complaints are still steadily streaming in which prove that customer service and loyalty are still more important than shiny eco-friendly logos and an arsenal of generic, stock photos depicting imaginary customers. Two of the most glaring complaints include:
– Deplorable billing practices with a heavy-handed use of a collection agency
– Lack of communication between its outsourced, overseas call center and US counterpart
While dealing with call center employees who never venture off of a script is annoying, of the two most common complaints, the former is the more concerning. Countless customers have found their accounts handed over to a collection agency after taking steps to deactivate 1&1’s auto-renew feature. The simple act of removing your credit card from your account can result in you getting one warning email hours before your file is sold off to a debt collector. Fun times. One complaint charges that, because the customer had ten services with 1&1, ten separate delinquencies were sent to collection. With 1&1, your worse nightmare may not be downtime but a derogatory credit score that bleeds into your personal life.
Is it becoming clearer how 1&1 maintains its 10 million registered domains and 9 million customer contracts?