Site5: New Management, same old story?

Mon, 3rd November 2008, 19:46

Hostjury has been trying to keep you informed about the ever changing landscape of the web hosting industry.

Site5 has just recently announced on their company blog that they're shaking up their upper management. The head honchos, Matt Lightner and Rod Armstrong have announced that they are giving up the keys to the castle. Quoting, "While this may come as a bit of a surprise, we can assure you that it only means bigger and better things for Site5." They continued, "Matt and I have absolute confidence that they will be able to keep Site5’s original spirit alive while also taking you all to greater heights in terms of service and the web hosting experience.

So having given up the keys to the castle to a couple of old hands, we began with our obligatory search of Site5 reviews on Hostjury. With an average uptime rating of 30 and support barely reaching 40, one wonders whether Ben Welch-Bolen (Previous owner of WebHostingUnleashed) and Joel Brown have just acquired the rights to be slum lords in their own tenement building.

Bolen introduced himself to clients on the Site5 Blog, stating in part, "I know that a change in ownership might worry some and I just wanted to stress that Site5 will continue to follow the same principles that its founders did," end quote.

I contacted Ben Welch-Bolen and got an immediate response. (Always a good sign).

My first question concerned the number of negative reviews from their clients on Hostjury. So I asked Ben Welch-Bolen, if there a plan on how to counter what may be seen by some as lack luster services.

His response somewhat surprised me. "First, You have to keep in mind that a hosting company can have 1,000 happy customers and 10 unhappy customers and those unhappy customers are going to go leave negative reviews when a happy customer will not. Happy users don't scour the net looking for a place to post but unhappy ones do. This is a big problem with review sites as they don't take this into account. Not that Site5 has been perfect, we need to improve the quality of support and the response time to submitted tickets and that is what Joel and I will be focusing on. Matt and Rod, the founders of Site5, have done a great job and created a company dedicated to webmasters and we plan to continue that vision. "

Ben Welch-Bolen continued "While we don't really check reviews on third party sites, we are focused on improving customer service and know that that will show everywhere that Site5 is discussed as we implement improvements."

The premise of his statements are in fact true. Site5 has a solid and long term foundation with their relationship to the Planet. Focusing on improving customer support and response times will begin to manifest itself in discussions on the web. And yes unhappy customers are more likely to scour high and low for places to vent their frustrations!

But the reality of his statements are less solid. I sought out reviews in two locations. Hostjury, (doesn't everybody), and directly on the Site5 forums. Here's a couple of examples of what was found:

Posted October 29 /08 by webmage
Are you guys going to fix the existing Site5 problems before you move along with your spectacular plans? One huge concern is oversold (and therefore unreliable) reseller boxes still back at liquidweb.

Posted October 29 /08 by Shredfest
Please make the oversold reseller boxes at Liquidweb a priority. ...(deleted partially)... The migration to The Planet was held out as hope for relief from these problems, and I feel like I have been strung along with how long it has taken. I ended up getting a VPS at another host for some personal projects, and I am seriously thinking about moving my clients there as well. I need to know soon when the reseller boxes are being migrated. If it is going to take another 6 - 12 months, I don't think I can wait that long.

Posted October 30 /08 by cGc0202
I just got the email today. I hope this change in management will mean changes for the better too. When I first moved to in early 2005, I was really quite happy because my sites were fast. I upgraded to the new higher "grade" accounts then, what had become multisite accounts, because during the early days -- higher grade accounts truly contained fewer accounts per server. The problem started when started with the $5 dollar deal accounts. ... (HJ deleted details)

Site5 is a great company that needs to really focus on revamping some long running issues, that may be the real reason clients are scouring the web to write reviews. New and fresh management might just be the step in the right direction. Recognizing why clients are writing bad reviews may be another.

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