Has anyone ever received downtime compensation?


#1

So, the latest outage reminded me that I should have some credit for downtime. I’ve just recently added and paid for five more years of hosting and after looking at the invoice, I realised that I had not received any credit for previously reported downtime in the past three years.

According to DH policy, downtime must be reported to get credit for it. One hour of downtime should be reimbursed with one day of free hosting credited upon renewal. There’s no counter or log anywhere in the panel of how many hours you’ve successfully reported, nor how many days credit you’ll be receiving upon renewal. Maybe in my case, I changed from a three year plan, which would have ended in a few months, to a five year plan, which apparently resets everything and starts the clock again from that day.

I asked Support to clarify when credit would be applied, but in the same question asked how can downtime be reported if the panel is down. So the reply was basically, ‘we’re sorry about that, here’s one month’s credit as a one-time adjustment’.

Now, I’m not complaining at all. In fact, the total downtime in the previous three years may have amounted to a grand total of a maximum of 5-10 days credit. which is equal to, what, a dollar? I’m sure they’ve had a deluge of complaints and that response is probably the fastest way of making the complaints go away.

I don’t want to bother them again over such a small amount because my question is mostly out of curiosity, not out of dissatisfaction (unlike the password fiasco):
[list=1]
[]Has anyone actually received credit for reported downtime?
[
]If so, how did you know that you received the correct amount of credit?
[*]Did you keep an independent log of downtime or reports?
[/list]


#2

In light of the recent downtime, I thought I’d just bump this thread and ask again: has anyone actually received credit for downtime?

Fortunately for me, I spent some time making my DB connection into a singleton and caching almost all data that would be needed by a user for a typical 15 minute session on my site, so I think I escaped this outage relatively well. From what I can tell it was mostly a DB connection issue. But considering the panel is down, there’s no way to report any downtime. The credit policy require reporting… so, has anyone actually ever reported and received credit?


#3

one time for me, I can’t remember the details, and the panel isn’t responding for me at the moment but I will try to match it up to the dreamhoststatus event later. Seems to me like the dreamhost status or maybe a blog post had the exact details, when i get the date I’ll let you know.


#4

this is the second time the panel has been down for me. the same thing happened the other day. was resolved in a few hours though so i didn’t bother to comment on it.


#5

I use Pingdom to monitor domain uptime. Not that it even concerns me (think I signed up for an account because Scott mentioned it in a thread one day). I’d reckon Pingdom reports might carry enough weight for DH to pony up.

They probably owe me 0.003 cents for last years (shared server) downtime.


#6

Found the one I mentioned above it… there are a couple of dreamhoststatus posts about it (type ‘blingy’ in search)… but the refund offer was in this blog post: http://blog.dreamhost.com/2008/04/07/another-anatomy/ and I did open the ticket, and my account was actally credited on May14th as promised for slighty more than the credit was supposed to be for.

(I miss the way Josh Jones explained things…a good balance of straight forwardness with just the right amount of graphical entertainment.)


#7

Thanks LakeRat, but I’m looking for compensation in the form that’s described in the TOS, not one-offs like we both received.

According to the TOS, you report your downtime, you get 1 day’s credit for every hour of downtime, and that credit is applied upon renewal.

Has anyone actually received that credit upon renewal?

Of course, as sXi noted, the amounts are trivial so it’s more of a matter of trivia, but I was curious because I’m sure I reported several outages, but when I extended my hosting to five more years, I didn’t receive any credit, nor is there any record of my reporting. So I guess I’m wasting my time by reporting and DH’s compensation policy is actually vapourware?


#8

If you inform them they’ll pay, just speak up.

I noticed a couple of credits given via simple back & forths on the status page earlier today.


#9

Ha, so not only do I have to report it, it’s my job to keep track? :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh well. Like I said, it’s more of a theoretical question because the compensation amounts to a few pennies at most, at least for shared hosting. I suppose if I had a VPS or more it would be more of an issue.


#10

It’s a pity it’s just a few pence. There’s no incentive for DreamHost to provide any sort of service at those levels, and there’s little incentive for us to claim it either. All in all, it’s a far from effective remedy for the disruption some people have suffered over the past few weeks.


#11

Well, yeah. Keeping records is a standard practice in business so it wouldn’t be any more burden on users who are running domains that are a financial concern to them. For those who are hobbyists the same would apply. Someone who considers themselves to be a “Blogger” takes on the additional role of “Webmaster” as soon as they create a domain. At the end of the day we’re all webmasters whether we use the title or not.

If you feel you’re due some compensation for downtime, then tell them. I’m not really sure how much easier it can get.

If your $150/month server was down for 3 days and bobo’s information above is accurate with concern to compensation, then you’d be due (3 x 24) DAYS of compensation credited to your account at the end of the current cycle.

2.5 months of Free is quite a sum @150/m and would be worthy of engaging in a follow-up.


#12

One procedure which works is as follows:

(1) customer writes to dreamhost, adopting a laid-back and devil-may-care attitude, saying that in view of recent interruptions to service, some compensation would be in order;

(2) dreamhost credits customer’s account with $10;

(3) rinse and repeat.

This has worked for me a couple of times over the last couple of years.

~Tom


#13

The way that it appears to work is that you get credit off your next renewal, which is not imminent, so there’s no real incentive to claim for it The downtime means far more to me than the rebate, and right now I’m not convinced I want to renew. I’ve never claimed before, even when a similar thing happened last year (which was a one-off several hour outage and not the continual disruption that is happening now).

DreamHost should be far more proactive in their customer service, and the onus shouldn’t be on the customer to seek their own remedy.

Someone mentioned earlier, there’s no way of tracking your claims, but why should we have to claim, and why can’t it be paid immediately?

  1. DreamHost know which servers are affected (they are mentioned on the DreamHost Status blog every time there is an outage).
  2. DreamHost know how long these servers were down for (the blog post is updated with a rectification time etc).
  3. DreamHost know which customers are on the affected servers (they provide us with invoices).

Therefore:

  1. Email notifications could be sent to customers of downtime instead of us finding out retrospectively by trawling the DreamHost Status blog.
  2. DreamHost should know how much money to offer in compensation on those affected servers, and which customers to pay it to.

The whole thing could be automated if they wanted.

Jon


#14

I think you’re pressing on the side of an SLA - which I highly doubt will happen across the board.

Having said that, you are quite obviously a high-value customer who is very aware and very hands-on. In my opinion (if DH was my business) I would be approachable to make an arrangement between ourselves. It’s definitely worth a shot and you might even set something in motion with respect to an extra layer of service for other high-value customers.


#15

What kind of business would automate a refund process? You have to be realistic here. If customers do not mention about compensation, then they don’t have to refund. And that adds up. They are banking on the fact that majority of customers won’t report nor complain about the downtime compensations.


#16

Yes, but my original question noted that even for customers who follow the TOS and successfully report downtime there still seems to be no mechanism which actually tracks how much time you’ve reported.

Again, I realise for shared hosting, the amount is very little. I asked because when I first signed up to DH, I was very diligent about reporting any downtime, which takes more of my time than I’d ever get back in compensation, and I know that I had several hours of downtime in the bank, if you will, but when my 3-year plan was getting close to finishing, I changed to a 5-year plan and paid the difference (about 4.5 years). Technically this wasn’t a renewal, but it made me wonder why there wasn’t anything on my invoice that said ‘you have x days of free hosting applied to your account’ or something like that.

If it’s my responsibility to not only report, but also log, summarise, and file a claim at renewal time, then the burden is much greater than the potential reward, which makes Dreamhosts’ uptime guarantee a bit specious and borderline false advertising.

It’s like offering something for free, but charging more in postage fees than the combined values of both the item and the actual postage.


#17

Most webhosts uptime guarantees are just bs. Figures can be manipulated to reflect a good result. All those 99.999% guarantees you see are quite simply unattainable in practice. The cynics (like me!) would say that a 99% uptime guarantee equates to 3 and a half days of guaranteed downtime per year haha.

I hate those guys!