Here is a great idea for a scam. Create a hosting company and sell "lifetime" accounts that aren't really lifetime accounts, they are just accounts that work until you decide you don't want them to work anymore. Then try to sell the "lifetime" customers (hahaha) a new monthly account!
This is the scam I fell for. It went like this, a small but cool startup called Joyent/Textdrive offered a bunch services like group project management tools, virtual drives (think Dropbox) and shared hosting. The products were great for small business owners and the company itself was a small business. Like many small businesses as they began to grow they had some financial challenges. Joyent, at the time they were called Textdrive, made an impassioned plea, "help us through this rough growth period by paying us a lot of money, and we wil guarantee you service for as long as we are in business."
So as one small business owner looking to help another, and to support a company who's products I liked, I paid $500 upfront for a lifetime account that gave me access to all of their services.
At the time (2007 I think) $500 wasn't insignificant but from anecdotal evidence I think joyent managed to raise a lot of money with this offering.
As the years past some of the services were sold off to other companies. I'm not sure if those continued to be free. To be honest, not all of the Textdrive products were good, but as a package they were good enough. The core value I found was the shared hosting. I somehow felt safe knowing that non mission critical things like my personal website and blog, a non profit website and other misc. web sites I managed would always have a home.
Well joyent had other plans. I guess the founder made money selling off the various services, I think they might have raised money and even sold the company at some point, no idea to be honest, but the company isn't as poor as they were when I gave them $500. Yet they can't afford to support my lifetime account?
Every six months the cost of computing resources drop. Why couldn't a well funded company support those few accounts that funded then when they needed it most?
The end result is that I will never support another company offering a "lifetime" service commitment and I will never trust another product associated with joyent / Textdrive or whatever permutation they come up with next.
This should be common sense, but don't offer a lifetime service guarantee unless you are honestly prepared to stand by it for the lifetime of your company, anything else is a scam. Now if I ever see a startup offering a lifetime account promotion I will call it the "joyent scam" technique.
Is this how you want your company to be remembered?
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Joyent Support
Date: Friday, August 17, 2012
Subject: Legacy Service End of Life – Action Required
Legacy Service End of Life
Dear Ejovi Nuwere,
We've been analyzing customer usage of Joyent’s systems and noticed that you are one of the few customers that are still on our early products and have not migrated to our new platform, the Joyent Cloud.
For many business reasons, including infrastructure performance, service quality and manageability, these early products are nearing their End of Life. We plan to sunset these services on October 31, 2012 and we'd like to walk you through a few options.
We understand this might be an inconvenience for you, but we have a plan and options to make this transition as easy as possible. We’ve been developing more functionality on our new cloud infrastructure, the Joyent Cloud, for our customers who care about performance, resiliency and security. Now’s the time to take advantage of all the new capabilities you don’t have today. Everyone that’s moved to our new cloud infrastructure has been pleased with the results.
We appreciate and value you as one of Joyent's lifetime Shared Hosting customers. As this service is one of our earliest offerings, and has now run its course, your lifetime service will end on October 31, 2012. However, we believe that you will enjoy the new functionalities of the Joyent Cloud. To show you our appreciation, as one of Joyent's lifetime Shared Hosting customers, we'd like to offer you a free 512MB SmartMachine on the Joyent Cloud for one year. Use this promotional code to redeem the offer.
Please review the Terms and Conditions for the Joyent Cloud One Year Free 512 MB Machine Promotion by visiting this <a href="http://mkto-f0103.com/track?type=click&enid=bWFpbGluZ2lkPWpveWVudEJldGFjdXN0LTI3MzctNzMxNC0wLTExMTQtcHJvZC0yODczJm1lc3NhZ2VpZD0wJmRhdGFiYXNlaWQ9Mjg3MyZzZXJpYWw9MTI2NTIzMTM0NCZlbWFpbGlkPWVqb3ZpQGVqb3ZpLm5ldCZ1c2VyaWQ9MjM4ODY5LTEmZXh0cmE9JiYm&&&http://www.joyent.com/migration/migration-faq.php?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRokvK%…” target=”_blank”>link.
To find out more about the Joyent Cloud and your options, please follow this <a href="http://mkto-f0103.com/track?type=click&enid=bWFpbGluZ2lkPWpveWVudEJldGFjdXN0LTI3MzctNzMxNC0wLTExMTQtcHJvZC0yODczJm1lc3NhZ2VpZD0wJmRhdGFiYXNlaWQ9Mjg3MyZzZXJpYWw9MTI2NTIzMTM0NCZlbWFpbGlkPWVqb3ZpQGVqb3ZpLm5ldCZ1c2VyaWQ9MjM4ODY5LTEmZXh0cmE9JiYm&&&http://www.joyent.com/migration?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRokvK%2FOZKXonjHpfsX66OQ…” target=”_blank”>link to our migration center for additional details.
Founder and CTO
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