Exabytes: Good prod, bad language?

Coherency in this post is lacking:

There’s one problem with hosting with Malaysian provider services: The Malaysian Government insists on treating its citizens like children, so anything with the mention of adult is treated as “You cannot talk of such things because we’re an Asian country!” This especially is true in the case of sex, as apparently it’s a great evil that talking about it is likely to mark you as a pervert and “OMGWON’TSOMEONETHINKOFTHECHILDREN!” Our children wouldn’t be so sensitive if you’d discuss with them in the first place -_-“. Anything related to sex must be approached in a nuclear suit.

Exabytes unfortunately, is one company subjected to this inane rule and policing over the Internet. Yes, you can say anything you want over the Net, but talk about sex (or even surf for it!) and it’s the banhammer for you. I’d understand if it were spam, but why can’t anyone have an adult business over the Net? We already have ineedhouse in Malaysia (ineedhouse is a sex novelty shop, with plenty of giggles among the teen crowd because sex is just such a taboo thing), so why not let others have their own? Yes, I understand if it’s a server issue, but really, would discussions about sex and erotica really be such a bad thing? :s

What I’m really trying to comment on is this entry by [Lainie]. I suppose that it’s basically a matter of really horrendous English, bad copywriting and the lack of an actual lawyer reading through the proposed changes to the terms and conditions (not to mention not having a really good idea of the variety of the Malaysian bloggersphere- I refuse to call it blogosphere) that has led to this really sorry state of affairs. They mean well, but this is a classic case of bad language + just not understanding your stakeholders that marks a bad PR case.

A quick recap for the lazy to click on link readers: In late April, Exabytes sent out an email to all its clients telling them about the proposed update to the TC. Most of these make sense, such as the ban on spam, no more email forwarding (I need to get GMail to fetch my mail ala [Edo]’s method here) to prevent said spam, and more importantly, changes to their Acceptable Usage Policy (AUP) with regards to “Adult Content” (interesting how violence and politics are NOT part of their AUP):

3.1. Adult Contents are strictly prohibited on Exabytes’ network.

3.2. What we categorized as Adult Contents, but not limited to:

– Website that sells sex toys
– Website that contains porn video
– Website contain nude photos
– Website relates to gay and lesbian

Now, requesting clarification on what they mean by Gay and Lesbian as found on Lainie’s entry:

We are regret to inform you that any content (eg: blog, LGBT-friendly establishments, lifestyle or events, clubs, restaurants, cafes, anecdotes, meetups) related to gay and lesbian (homosexual) will be prohibited to be hosted in our server.

Now you see what the whole hoo-ha’s about? The same girl’s reply (I’m assuming it’s a girl because the way she worded it made it sound like she was a girl):

Hello [name removed],

Thank you for your reply.

I have roughly look through your blog at http://geminianeyes.com and does not seems to have any adult content in it. In other words, your blog should be safe hosting in our server.

Exabytes as a responsible Malaysia based web hosting company, we only can host and support web sites which are legal and not violating any Malaysia’s laws.

We have being practising No Adult Content Policy since the first day we run our hosting business. However, due to numbers of web sites hosted by us, we might have overlooked sometime. Therefore, we have just send out reminder to our client on this.

You may refer to our annocement here: https://support.exabytes.com/index.php?_m=news&_a=viewnews&newsid=370

We do not mean to discriminate gay and lesbian at any attempt. We are only giving some example on what are considered as adult content for reference for our client to avoid confusion. But this has somehow create more confusion especially on the topic of gay and lesbian.

If you have any enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact. Thank You!

Ooi PY

No, I don’t know why their support is using https:// either.

But you should see by now the very quick backpedalling and retractment made. It should be interesting to note that as of today, 12 May 2008, the Adult Policy has still remained the same. There has been no changes. According to the email, they sent out a “reminder” but the question remains as to why the reminder included a section that had not been mentioned before, which was about GLBT.

Unfortunately, their current AUP still remains very vague, and it doesn’t help that their vaunted customer service has disappointed me twice.

First, I lodged a ticket with their support department over this matter. This was then followed by a LOUD silence of one FULL week (including weekends) after I received the initial email and ticket details. Changing the status of my ticket to medium (they allow you to specify the level of urgency yourself), I was greeted the next day by an email that they were closing the ticket because they didn’t get a reply from me. This, of course, prompted me to reply to said email saying that I had been awaiting a reply from THEIR side! A check with the current status on my ticket showed no other information than the closing of the ticket. So I reopened it and awaited their reply.

AGAIN they tried to close it 24 hours later! By now, I was severely pissed off. Logging into my ticket, I composed a strongly-worded polite letter (as polite as I could considering I was ready to bash something at that point and resisting the urge) asking if anyone was reading my emails, because it sure looked like no one was doing so! I once worked in the Email Dept of an ISP, which emphasised timeliness and professionalism above all, especially in email correspondence, so this ticked me off to no end. No one was reading my emails and the closure of my ticket seemed automated.

After that particular note to their tech support, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from said Ooi PY, but her email just muddied the waters further:

Hello [name removed],

Thank you for contacting.

For your information, normal discussion on the topic of gay or lesbian are allowed to be hosted in our server. However, any content that encouraging gay or lesbian will not be allowed.

You may wish to provide us with your domain name for us to help you to check on your website content from our end.

If you have any enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact. Thank You!

Ooi PY
——————–
Customer Service Manager
Exa Bytes Network Sdn Bhd

My reply:

Dear Ooi,

My domain is http://geminianeyes.com

Thank you for your clarification. However, I would still like to question the rationale behind such a policy. Why the sudden discrimantion against such topics? When do we know whether we have crossed the line between talking about it and “encouraging” gay and lesbian? For that matter, may I ask what exactly do you mean by gay and lesbian? Does this mean I can choose to highlight transexualism, pansexuality, etc?

Also, what if the content is behind a password and is not accessible unless they have a direct link? Would it still be banned?

Also, I noted your Terms and Conditions has not been updated to reflect your new policy. Is the delay deliberate, or a mere oversight? You seem to be holding your current customers to a higher standard than for new customers if you do not update the Terms and Conditions. Is the policy in place, or is it just for “old customers”?

I apologise if my tone sounds rough. I’m just trying to make sense of what seems to be a very inane policy.

Thank you again for your time and patience.

This was followed by:

Hello [name removed],

Thank you for your reply.

I have roughly look through your blog at http://geminianeyes.com and does not seems to have any adult content in it. In other words, your blog should be safe hosting in our server.

Exabytes as a responsible Malaysia based web hosting company, we only can host and support web sites which are legal and not violating any Malaysia’s laws.

We have being practising No Adult Content Policy since the first day we run our hosting business. However, due to numbers of web sites hosted by us, we might have overlooked sometime. Therefore, we have just send out reminder to our client on this.

You may refer to our annocement here: https://support.exabytes.com/index.php?_m=news&_a=viewnews&newsid=370

We do not mean to discriminate gay and lesbian at any attempt. We are only giving some example on what are considered as adult content for reference for our client to avoid confusion. But this has somehow create more confusion especially on the topic of gay and lesbian.

If you have any enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact. Thank You!

Ooi PY
——————–
Customer Service Manager
Exa Bytes Network Sdn Bhd

Honestly, I’m rather cheesed off at them for their late reply and bad command of English (ESPECIALLY the latter), not to mention their lack of clarification in their terms and conditions. That’s not to say I don’t like their product though; with the exception of this matter, [Raz] and I have found that Exabytes delivers when it comes to their hosting. Their vaunted customer service though, needs a massive makeover + kick in the butt. Then again, when has customer service in Malaysia NOT disappoint?

8 Responses

  1. Raz May 12, 2008 / 6:34 PM

    I don’t know about you but their technical support had been very responsive to me.

    Then again I had not have any problems since 2007, so they might had change for the worse.

    I probably should not say this but complaining about a ‘gift’ does hurt the feelings of the giver. You should know what I mean by this.

    Geminianeyes: Point taken. Thank you dear.

  2. Nicholas.C May 12, 2008 / 11:02 PM

    I host overseas. never had a problem. and Google for Domains Rocks!

    Geminianeyes: Would rather avoid using paypal if possible.

  3. Fabio May 13, 2008 / 8:59 PM

    Although my friend had some bad experienced on Exabytes, but so far I still haven’t face any bad experience from them.

    Guess I will still use Exabytes for a while.

    Geminianeyes: Heheh.

  4. Lainie May 14, 2008 / 1:45 AM

    actually, they’ve not retracted anything (in fact, the ceo left a comment deflecting responsibility – which further ticked me off). it seems they’ve realised they’ve made a PR blunder, to put it mildly – hence delay.

    They’ve not replied to my emails either.

    Geminianeyes: I noticed. Whoever coached the CEO should be given an award too, I haven’t seen such skillful deflection saying nothing while talking in some time. Of course, the problem with leaving a written comment is that people WILL laugh at you once they’ve read your comment. *Grabs popcorn to watch*

  5. Lainie May 16, 2008 / 5:08 PM

    hahaha..it’s gonna get better. we’ll see.

    i’m the website designer / graphic designer / writer / advertiser for a few projects coming up, in entertainment and activist circles, and not only are they not going to host on exabytes anymore (some of them were), i’m in touch with all the people who deal with their company’s hosting and they’ve all scratched exabytes off their list. heh. i expect word to spread too.

    as long as that policy remains, everyone i work with will be made aware of this. everyone. i dont even have to say much, just show the emails from exabytes. that discrimination is bound to piss people off :P

    w000000000t.

  6. Lv Chong July 8, 2008 / 12:23 PM

    I had an ultimately bad experience for this Exabytes. They always call themselves as “No 1. Web Hosting in Malaysia”. I wonder why they do not know how to write the word “SHAME” man.

    I was asking them how come Exabytes down the internet without telling your client in advance. Do you guys know what their reply is? “You suppose to sign up the newsletter by yourself then we will able to notify you or visit our website frequently then you able to get latest update. Do not hesitate to contact us, if you need further help.” FUCK THEM~! They must be thinking their website is Google whereby I should visit daily in order to know what the crap that you guys are doing? Moreover I should sign up your newsletter in order for Exabytes to notify me? I was thinking you already got my contact details when I enroll right? Doesn’t make sense at all!!!

    Since I sign up a co-location package then I also take up a dedicated firewall as well. Yesterday when I request for the firewall logs, Exabytes engineers told me that they flush the logs daily. WHAT THE FUCK again~! They should ask my permission right? This is what I am paying for. They do not know what is Client at all. They just do whatever they desire to do. I am ultimately regret & disappointed with this kind of fucking services. They did everything which doesn’t make sense at all.

    I would advise to those who are planning to host at Exabytes, please think numerous times in case to get unnecessary frustration.

  7. Pin February 10, 2009 / 11:34 AM

    Is sex toy business legal in Malaysia? If web hosting provider has an issues with this, how is this translated to email hosting service provider?

    Another issues pondering in my mind is: if a web hosting in a way violating the policy and was removed, how about the email hosting package which is bundled together, most of the time?

    Geminianeyes: I believe that would be a question you might want to ask the hosting provider themselves. I would not know, since I don’t have that particular package.

Comments are closed.