from the not-so-nice dept
Via Slashdot, we learn about how Joyent offered early customers a “lifetime account,” (via TextDrive, a web hosting company it acquired) in which they promised the account would exist “as long as we exist.” Well, the company still exists, but it’s now sent notices to those lifetime customers telling them that their “lifetime” is apparently up on October 31:
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
One would imagine that the FTC might have some questions for Joyent’s management on the nature of living up to the promises of what was offered. Jason Hoffman, who apparently co-founded both TextDrive and Joyent, seemed to make things worse with his defense of the decision, basically admitting that this is screwing over their earliest supporters and biggest advocates:
Having co-founded two companies that ultimately became Joyent, growing from a tiny startup to where we are today has had its ups and downs, and this is one of the toughest decisions I’ve made. In particular because I’ve always been the biggest advocate for pushing a shared hosting product forward, and then here I am, the only remaining “founder” that is active.
It’s ironic that our biggest advocates are the ones most affected by this and I know many of you are disappointed in me. I’ve received many questions and comments about why the service is being discontinued and I’m listening and will continue to listen. And like the past, this response won’t be my last.
Making the decision to discontinue the service was extremely difficult. It was driven by some simple things: the hardware is simply old (6-8 years old), it’s failing, there isn’t an upgrade path from it, there’s more than many of you likely realize and oddly enough it’s more expensive with time (while not being used much). The rest of the Joyent’s business has been paying for that, and I can’t make the argument as to why it can continue.
Yet, we’re only here because of the initial community that trusted us, and I’m genuinely grateful for the support. I’m sorry that I’ve lost that trust and I’ve upset you. You have a right to be upset. This was a tough decision with some nuance to it and none of this is lost on me.
This seems to go back and forth. First off, it’s not “ironic” that you’re screwing over your early supporters and not giving them what was promised. It’s a highly questionable business practice. As for not being able to make an argument for why the service can continue, one would think keeping Joyent’s name and reputation from being dragged through the mud would be a potential argument. Also, avoiding possible smackdowns from government officials for selling one thing and delivering another.
I recognize that things change and businesses change over times. But the company did make the promise that these were lifetime accounts and that they’d stay up for as long as the company was around. It seems only reasonable that it should not just cut off those accounts without any sort of recompense.