Arvixe: the beginning of the end?

Sat, 24th October 2015, 13:56

For a last number of years Arvixe has been able to continually maintain a position as a best rated web host on HostJury based on reviews written by a loyal, and generally satisfied client base. So when Arvixe was acquired last year by mega host Endurance International Group (EIG), the naysayers (editor’s first note.. more accurately.. the competition) were out in full force prophesying a doom and gloom end of the world for Arvixe.

The apocalyptic demise purveyed by the doomsday date setters did not occur but slowly subtle changes did begin to appear. Reviews of Arvixe services, while not necessarily bad, did hint that something had changed beyond the ownership. Lapses in service, and increasingly, difficulties reaching support techs became recurring themes in many reviews being written.

If the chatter around the web is any indication, any expectations of a repeal in the direction Arvixe is moving appears to be dashed. Although a number of Arvixe threads have been started on that forum with the partisan web hosts spouting the only unbiased web hosting reviews on the web jargon, one in particular, started by a person claiming to be a former Arvixe staff member, provides some startling insight to the inner workings of the company

I was an Arvixe staff member about 2 years ago. I've kept in contact with a couple close friends at Arvixe and noticed over the last 48 hours a lot of their statues on Facebook had been updating to "leaving Arvixe". I reached out to one of them and found out almost all of the old Arvixe staff are being terminated at the end of this month. With the trend of all of the poor Arvixe reviews, I thought the EIG community would like to know what may be going on behind the scenes. So if anyone was wondering what may have happened to a specific staff member at Arvixe who maybe had provided you excellent support over the years at Arvixe, chances are they are no longer there.. Supposedly 100+ were let go and about 8 were moved under the EIG umbrella.

If there was ever any doubt that EIG was all about the numbers and not about providing a quality customer service experience, let this serve as an example. Arvixe was known for providing excellent customer service for years. Now... not so much. Work for a company being brought under EIG? Do not believe the hype. Exit immediately.

Another person with the user name SevenFourSix claimed to have been just terminated. The person reiterated what had been put forth by the original poster but also provided an in depth analysis of recent events:

My last day at Arvixe was September 30th. Layoffs were announced on the 26th. There was no transition at all. Starting on Monday people began to realize that no one was actively replacing laid off staff because there was no one to replace them with.

The ticket count kept on climbing. Some staff went to work double-time trying to at least do something for the huge number of problems our customers were facing and others were demoralized and did next to nothing their last days.
On my last day there was no server monitoring staff left. If a server went down then a shift manager had to fix it, but most of the shift managers were in training with EIG except for those who were also getting laid off. Servers failed and little could be done.

The only people who checked the forums for customer problems were laid off as well. The main Priority Support person was laid off. He was also the most experienced support tech at Arvixe. Most of the QA department kept their jobs but they were more of an internal disciplinary wing with only one person as an exceptional tech and one person as a really bad tech.

Arvixe Managers kept their jobs. Not Shift Managers, Shift Managers there were like lead support techs. Now ASO has more customers to support, less support techs but twice the managers.

If you have a ticket open at Arvixe it will not get a response for 4 days to 1 week. The best bet is to get on twitter or facebook and contact Arvixe Support that way with your ticket number. Then the social media monitor will contact a shift manager, the shift manager will then get a support tech to stop what they are doing and work on a ticket. I was stopped in the middle of tickets constantly to work on a social media ticket.

The core cause of this is a question we speculated about. Arvixe had shared hosting on two server images of 96GB RAM each. The original plan was to divide the customers on each server by 4 and place each quarter on one 32GB RAM image. That was akin to moving 1 lot of customers to a 128GB of RAM but would mean less tickets per failure should a failure happen.

But a step was missed. Instead they migrated all 96GB customers to 32GB. Then to make up for that foul-up, They provisioned more servers but the future to-be-laid-off support staff had no access to the new servers. Then, the new servers had no, or little functioning backups. One went down and was down for 1 week or more.

Then our backup software had a bug in it. This was not Arvixe's fault. But this would have been something manageable had the migration not shoe-horned 96 into 32 and support staff could not restore a working mysql database. Only one person could do this and he was not around 24/7. That added to the ticket count.

Then EIG and ASO would do poorly constructed commands. One took out part of a reseller server, Then support had to spend time recovering that. Before EIG if someone would do a command like that, they would be fired. After EIG we were told "who did it or what was done is not important". That was how we deduced a very high up person at ASO/EIG had done that command.

An ASO / EIG person also "hacked" our customer database and changed all customer names to one name of someone in Pakistan. Again, all we knew was that it was internal and it was "not important" and "not a hack", even though ASO people were the first to proclaim it a hack.

Arvixe's problems are now it is management heavy and light on support. They moved servers from more resources to less resources. ASO/EIG staff who do clumsy commands that destroy things. That's what happened.

(Editor’s note.. In the preceding dialogue, the poster makes reference to ASO. ASO is the abbreviation for another EIG brand, A Small Orange. It would appear from the poster's statements that A Small Orange has taken over managing Arvixe tech support)

There were others confirming what has already been said but in fairness, one could certainly just surmise this is a case of sour grapes being disseminated by disgruntled former employees. That is until Arvand Sabetian, founder and former CEO of Arvixe appears to confirm the thread:

I'm not sure what else I can say here as most of what's happening has been brought to light by the individual poster. I'd just caution as to taking any exact information with a grain of salt. There is no way anyone but EIG management will have an idea on number of staff retained and let go. Both the 100+ and the 8 in the OP's post are false. But regardless, the jist of the story is as described here.


Speaking of Arvand..

Arvand Sabetian, founder and CEO of Arvixe Hosting, was lauded in Inc. 30 under 30 for two consecutive years in 2002 and 2003. Sabetian first started his company – Arvixe after his junior year of high school. On October 31, 2014, Endurance International Group (EIG) acquired Arvixe, a California-based web hosting provider to small and medium-sized businesses for a purchase price of $22.0 million, which consisted of a cash payment of $17.6 million at the closing with the remainder payable 12 months following the closing.

Another interesting tidbit floating around the web concerns the CEO of EIG, Hari Ravichandran

On September 18, 2015, the Board of Directors (the “Board”) and the Compensation Committee of the Board (the “Committee”) of Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. (“Endurance” or the “Company”) approved the grant of a performance-based restricted stock award (the “Performance-Based Restricted Stock Award”) to Hari Ravichandran, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer. In connection with the Performance-Based Restricted Stock Award, and in order to better align Mr. Ravichandran’s compensation with corporate performance, Mr. Ravichandran and the Company have amended his employment agreement with the Company to reduce his base salary from $750,000 to $200,000 and to reduce his annual cash bonus with respect to calendar years 2015, 2016 and 2017 to zero unless otherwise determined by the Board or the Committee.

The Board of Directors at EIG slashed Ravichandran's annual income from $750k to $200k and eliminated all cash bonuses. In return, he vests into EIGI shares quarterly, as long as he remains employed there and scheduled for 2015-2017. This ties his own personal compensation to stock performance.

Possibly the final payout to Arvand Sabetian is contingent upon Arvixe performance..

There are a number of related articles that will be appearing on Hostjury in the coming days. There are also more question than answers.

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