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New ISPs - Man, what a freak'n zoo
Years ago I got a letter from a small ISP named JPS. the letter offered me a nice business account with dialup, generous Web hosting, 20 e-mail boxes, etc. for $300/yr. It came at the right time, so I took them up on it. Worked fine and I was happy.

Set up a handful of clients on JPS. They were happy too.

JPS was bought by OneMain. Grandfathered in the JPS accounts, but the techs told me to make sure I kept the JPS accounts because that level of service would cost me a lot more now.

Got DSL from OneMain - again a business account with a business rep to talk to if anything went wrong. Cayman router too. Took a while to get it in, but it worked just fine.

Earthlink bought OneMain. They specified changes in logins, etc. but nothing earth shattering - until I found out there was no business DSL rep any more, it was all home level support. Support didn't even know what a router was ("what kind of modem do you have? A what? What's that?").

Then - - - the trouble began for real. An e-mail arrived telling me JPS's servers were all shutting down and my accounts would all be transferred to Earthlink accounts.

OK, problem - had to seize control of a couple of the client accounts through Network Solutions because the "mailto" security mailboxes pointed to a defunct JPS server. Huge hassle, but at least I didn't have to forge any paperwork this time.

Oh, sheesh! Aliased "family pack" email boxes - no real business e-mail at Earthlink. OK, real dumb, but I can live with it, my clients can live with it . . .

Then I found I couldn't access Earthlink ftp servers through my DSL account (any other ftp server in the world, yes, but not the ones hosting my site and my client's sites). 15 hours on tech support to find out it wasn't going to be fixed.

Finally I was sent to Mindspring tech (supposed to be the best techs Earthlink owned), and they gave me a secret code to get hosted on a Mindspring server in Virginia. They said Mindspring had real servers and real hosting, unlike Earthlink, but it was more money for less.

All in all about 20 hours on hold with OneMain, Earthlink and Mindspring tech support and no reasonable solution. Found out what set this whole fiasco moving though - Earthlink owed all the JPS/OneMain servers to the original founder of JPS and he wanted them back.

Then the letter telling me Earthlink was converting my DSL account to dial-up.

Then a letter saying that one was wrong, I could have Earthlink DSL, but DSL would be disconnected for three weeks in the transition, and they wouldn't use my $500 Cayman router, I had to buy a $250 bridge (which they were pleased to call a "modem").

Then I remembered some 9 months ago I had to seize control of a client's Web site (had to use forged paperwork that time because the registered company didn't exist and had never existed). Their ISP was 90% defunct and couldn't be contacted. Stumbled across a small ISP, Mooglobal, that had provided co-location to that ISP. So, after a great deal of hassle and negotioation, including signing papers certifying that I solicited Moonglobal, not the other way around, I got the client on them.

So I called Moonglobal sales. "Please hold, all our agents are currently helping other customers". OK, I know "all our agents" is named Roger.

So today everything is up on Moonglobal, where I know the administrator and the tech support guys by first and last name. Everything works fine, real e-mail servers, plenty of Web space, Unix hosting, (they have Win and Mac too) and ftp works just fine. They're arranging a new DSL account (and there won't be 3 weeks dead time because it's on a different phone number), and they like Cayman routers just fine. Cost is a couple bucks a year more than JPS was, but I get stats on every Web page.

Now I pray Earthlink doesn't buy them.



[link|www.aaxnet.com|AAx]
New Also started w/ jps..
Allegedly owned (then) by an actual systems-savvy CIEIO, so everyone said.

Is Earthlink a Billy cousin? Redmond money in there somewhere?
Time to see the curve of # independent ISPs left/year VS Earthlink and, who is #2. Will there be 3 for the entire US in 2004?

Ditto re OneMain - though I haven't commercial accounts, the techs at both were available ('least at my hours). Earthlink is gonna do Something 7/15 and says.. all our jps e-mail addresses Will continue to work fine, but

I shudder to think who, in W. Va or Belize, will answer the phone next time. And they will up the monthly $5. Inertia or not - time to be scouting again.


A.
New Not Redmond money - Church of Scientology
Eearthlink was founded, I understand, with CoS money. Don't know how much money or influence they have in Earthlink now.
[link|www.aaxnet.com|AAx]
New Earthlink's founder investigated by SEC for bus. practices.
[link|http://www.amarillonet.com/stories/051301/bus_earthlinkl.shtml|[link|http://www.amarillonet.com/stories/051301/bus_earthlinkl.shtml|http://www.amarillo...hlinkl.shtml]]

[link|http://newsfactor.com/perl/story/9687.html|[link|http://newsfactor.com/perl/story/9687.html|http://newsfactor.c...ry/9687.html]]

Slatkin settled with the SEC in June:

[link|http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:nVXKtxTLrBw:technews.netscape.com/news/0-1004-200-6180997.html%3Ftag%3Dch_mh+earthlink+SEC+investigation&hl=en|Google's Cache of a CNET story.]

I have no idea how this relates to Earthlink's current management, it's ties with Sprint, its current business practices, etc. But it has to make you leery...

Cheers,
Scott.
New Perhaps the exception that proves the rule?
As an Earthlink customer, I'm actually pretty happy. I've got my DSL through them and some Web space which is accessible through standard FTP. The customer support so far has been quite savvy and Mac-friendly. All in all, a better choice than my last ISP, AT&T WorldNet.

Of course, I'm not a business customer so that may have something to do with it.

I think Apple has a piece of Earthlink and they get a spiff for each new member. (This is from my memory of the MWSF 97 keynote)
New Yes, they seem entirely home user oriented.
Their tech support people are good, especially in the upper levels, but they've got a system so complex any particular team only understands parts of it and there's an equally complex management structure preventing them from controling it.

I'm sure for a straight DSL/ISP/personal pages signup directly with Earthlink, they will do just fine.
[link|www.aaxnet.com|AAx]
New Just wanted to add some balance
New Me Too
I have a friend that maintains a site that was on a JPS/OneMain server. Then it wasn't. If there was a warning that this would happen, it probably went to his tech-hostile boss and went unread/unhandled.

I pray daily (and I'm not a religious man) that my wonderful DSL provider doesn't get bought out (there was a rumor they might get bought by Earthlink). So far, the only stupid thing they've done is change names from rcsis.com to surewest.net. Legions of ticked off users convinced them to hold onto the old domain indefinitely.
--
Chris Altmann
New Similar sort of story, though not so grand.
For a long time, my ISP was [link|http://www.zeta.org.au|Zeta Internet]. I joined before it was makikng enough money for the owner to quit full-time work. It was originally Kralizec Dial-up Unix, had an early UUCP email connection to the Internet and followed the Linux boom. It was arguably Sydney's first ISP - hence the .org.au domain. The owner was on first-name basis with everyone who would frequent his newsgroups. :-)

Zeta was going from strength to strength, but was still limited to Greater Sydney. Eventually, Pacific Internet bought them and a few other small ISPs around Australia, integrating their infrastructure and staff. Nick struck a hard enough bargain that he got to improve Pacific Internet's customer service to be at least as good as Zeta's was.

My dad and my sister still use Zeta. Their email addresses still work etc etc. I left Zeta because I shifted to a permanent connection and my own server. Zeta's price for that included extra services I didn't need so I found someone who was cheaper. But Zeta hasn't gone - the original owner made sure it wasn't going to vanish into a bigger ISP's bowels.

Wade.

"All around me are nothing but fakes
Come with me on the biggest fake of all!"

New Re: Similar sort of story, WELL WHADDAYA KNOW :-)

In the early 1990s in IBM I worked with a young guy who was into bulletin boards & networks - he had been running a BB since he was 16.

He & I left IBM in approx mid 1990s, his name was Nick Andrew & he founded an ISP service he called Kralizec (he was into cult Japanese monster movies & named all his servers after them - his interest in things Japanese extended to a pretty young Japanese wife). Anyway on good advice Nick renamed his service to Zeta & up until 1999 he was gate-waying my Australian web sites. We even considered joining forces. Nick could have grown his service across the country if he had had good marketing (or is that really aggressive bullshitting pushy salesmen). Nick was just to damned honest & professional.

Then Pacific Internet took over & that was when a lot of people learned what a quality service Nick ran & how dedicated he was. PI now host my Sydney site (since I moved to HK & had to turn in my tcp/ip address block (of 16)). But I only stayed with PI out of loyalty to Nick.

The only good think I can say about PI is that Nick remained to work for them - as said by Wade - to improve their customer service.

My US site is also run by a committed and knowledgeable guy (Wayne) in Maryland (www.web-span.com). It is such a pleasure dealing with real people who have real knowledge. Wayne, just like Nick, has always been a great help & his prices & the performance have always been excellent. Long may he remain independant (if he still is?).

Cheers

Doug

New It's a small world!
I'm amazed. Nick certainly had a damn fine service. I recommended several people to Zeta over the years, complete with spotter's fees. :-)

As to improving PI's customer support: I'd say he's succeeded. My Dad recently called what was left of Zeta to add another email address to his account. The first person he spoke to did it then and there over the 'phone. I'm thinking of going back to them for DSL, but I'm in no hurry. Somewhat surprisingly, the portion of Telstra BigPond Direct that does modem dial-ups is as reliable as Zeta.

Wade.

"All around me are nothing but fakes
Come with me on the biggest fake of all!"

New The only way.
I've given up setting anyone up on national ISP's. I never know when they'll vanish.

Now I only recommend local ISP's. At least you can find the person you have to deal with. I recommend drizzle.com in Seattle. The woman owns it is a Unix jockey from way back. Someone who actually understands the Internet.

Of course, she might, eventually, be bought out. Just about anyone can be bought. But I have a much better feeling about being able to work with her if that happens than dealing with some nameless corporation. At least this way, the person I call wil know what is going on and why.
New Unarguable - time for me to move to vom.com
Couple guys down the road in Sonoma - Rob & Ron. Got tons literally of 3-Com surplus triaged for Taiwan recycle or (got my first Tek 475A scope from 'em). They seem overworked but.. they fucking Know what they do, and speak My language too:

vom - "Valley of the Moon", that is.

Yup = Earthlink fits the pattern, to be avoided on principle.
RIP jps.net, OneMain - tomorrow the rest?



A.
New You like drizzle?
Not knocking it - I just know nothing about it. Oz.net got bought by The River, a larger Arizona ISP - and crap has been happening left 'n right ever since. I'm thinking about jumping ship, and just paying $5/month to keep the e-mail account.

Brandioch, are you in Seattle?
     ISPs - Man, what a freak'n zoo - (Andrew Grygus) - (13)
         Also started w/ jps.. - (ashton) - (5)
             Not Redmond money - Church of Scientology - (Andrew Grygus)
             Earthlink's founder investigated by SEC for bus. practices. - (Another Scott)
             Perhaps the exception that proves the rule? - (tjsinclair) - (2)
                 Yes, they seem entirely home user oriented. - (Andrew Grygus) - (1)
                     Just wanted to add some balance -NT - (tjsinclair)
         Me Too - (altmann)
         Similar sort of story, though not so grand. - (static) - (2)
             Re: Similar sort of story, WELL WHADDAYA KNOW :-) - (dmarker2) - (1)
                 It's a small world! - (static)
         The only way. - (Brandioch) - (2)
             Unarguable - time for me to move to vom.com - (Ashton)
             You like drizzle? - (inthane-chan)

When The Wall fell, I had a basement full of homebrew and a freezer full of venison here in The Land of the Free. All quite legal, unless I committed capitalism, in which case it becomes felonious.
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