Shetoldme – How not to do it!
Some months ago, I joined Shetoldme.com, one of the many sites where you can publish your content in exchange for back links and share in a possible ad revenue generated by your content / article. I think I mentioned them even briefly in this context on this blog (have to check that one up). Truth is, I never used them much, I published only one article with them and for reasons I don’t remember (working of the site? / indexing speed?) never bothered again with them — until today.
I just started a new site, a home and garden niche article directory, and noticed that some of the articles published still hadn’t been indexed by Google a few days later.
So I decided to give them a little “push” with a short, supporting article. Just to show the Google Bot where to find the quality content 😉 And, hey!, I remembered my Shetoldme account. Exactly what would fit the bill, a short article on a well indexed site, to show the way to content gold to the search engine bots.
So, I sat down and wrote up a little post, called a “scoop” for SheToldMe. No double content, originally written, all in keeping with their content guidelines (I check them afresh, as it was quite some time ago that I had visited the site the last time). I hit submit and what do I get back? An “unvalid url” error for my link to my site. Ehm!? Without link, such a supporting article is quite useless, don’t you agree? After re-checking several times, I was sure that the mistake was not to be found in my part of the submission process. So I send a support ticket, and here is where the story really starts! Immediately I got the copy of my support ticket send to my email, as requested. Great, now I can be sure the ticket has arrived. And hey! Minutes later I receive an answer! Great customer care you think? Not really! Here the text of the answer to my support ticket:
“Thank you for your message, this is an automated email to let you know that the message has been sent correctly and I will read it soon.”
Wonderful, great, but then I read on:
“Do you have your own website/blog? SheToldMe.com is hosted by xyz-webhost, this is the best web hosting company I’ve found after many years of webmastering, have a look at (referral link) and if you’re interested in a free trial or to get a full account, use the coupon code “shetoldme” in order to have $50 off your order. If you need more info on why this web hosting company is the best I’ve found, contact me with your questions.
name of SheToldMe-Owner”
What the heck??? I submitted a support ticket, I didn’t subscribe to an email marketing list and I was surely not expecting getting a sales pitch in exchange for a support ticket I submitted because of the malfunctioning of his site. So I wrote back:
“Good grief, instead of a response to my problem, I get a sales pitch! Don’t think I will use your site ever again, bye, SY”
And, I guess before he could read my reply, I also received this answer to my ticket:
“Hello, thank you for your message regarding the URL checking system not working correctly. I’ll reboot the server now, and you can try again, maybe it will work. If not tomorrow it should be resolved. Sorry for the inconvenience, I understand it can be frustrating, but don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with your account.
Bolding by me… So, what, a site that wants my content, needs their servers be re-booted “by hand” as soon as something goes wrong? Maybe it will work? Wow, what level of professionalism! Perhaps tomorrow? Or when? Don’t worry? Every time somebody tells me that, I DO worry! Cheers to you…
Don’t get me wrong, bad things do happen to good sites and things can be turned around in a heart beat to make a good impression despite a minor technical mishap. But sending a referral-sales pitch in response to a technical support ticket? And instead of simply acknowledging that: Yes, the problem is on our site, we work on it and will tell you when it is back to normal, I get a “maybe, try again, perhaps tomorrow”-style email? Not what I call good public relation skills! But then I also got another reply shortly after:
“Hello, well I also sent a reply to your email, saying that I’m working on it, the site might work tomorrow. You can’t possibly blame me for an automated message confirming your email has been received, along with a sales pitch, can you? Cheers, SheToldMe – Owner”
I can’t? Really? Who I beg to know, set up the automated sales pitch, some unknown alien that lives in your server – or your good self? Oh, and very glad to know, that your site might work tomorrow …
But it didn’t stop here, I received another email:
“But I’ll help you to avoid wasting time with my site by deleting your user account, which you hardly used anyway, it’s simpler that way. Sincerely sorry for the inconvenience this url checking problem caused you.
To which I simply replied:
“You are welcome to do so! SY”
So, why do I bother to blog about this? Apart of the cathartic effect obviously? Because it is a great example how a complaint could have turned into something positive, but instead the situation got completely misused by greed to make the quick referral buck.
Compare what would have happened with this, theoretical, scenario:
- Site user sends support ticket to report a bug / malfunction.
- Site owner sends automated message that the support ticket has been received and will be answered shortly by a human.
- Site owner sends apology for malfunction, says “Thank You” for reporting the bug and tells site user exactly when the problem will be solved and the site can be used as usual.
- Site user appreciates the customer care, waits until the problem is solved and uses site again.
- Site User writes a raving blog post about how good the support at XYZ.com is and helps to spread the word about this great site.
See the difference? What could have happened if the situation would have been handled wisely and what happened instead?
Oh, in case you don’t know how SheToldMe works, the idea is similar to Hubpages or Infobarrel (both highly recommended by me for their great level of customer care). You submit original content and get in return a dofollow backlink and a share in the advertisement revenue your article creates.
Disclaimer: This blog post just expresses my personal experience and opinion about how customer care is handled by SheToldMe.com, nothing else. Oh, and I have already web hosting which I am extremely happy with 😉
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