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November 14, 2005


Sue Pelletier

I love that they did this, and just hope customers like you (and me)do the right thing and don't take unfair advantage of it.



TypePad Quells Blogger Revolt
by Shankar Gupta,

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2005 6:00 AM EST

WHEN YOUR CLIENTS ARE MILLIONS of bloggers, you don't want to get on their bad side. Just ask Six Apart, owner of blogging service TypePad.

Users of the paid service started seeing outages and slowdowns about one month ago, triggering a wave of very public complaints. This week, CEO Barak Berkowitz finally attempted to appease his clients by offering them up to 45 days of free service and an apology.
"We are all aware that you pay for TypePad and expect to receive superior service and performance in return. At times last month, we did not provide that type of experience to all our customers and apologies are not good enough," wrote Berkowitz in an e-mail to users. "After wrestling with these facts and wanting to be fair to all our users we have decided that the only option is to allow you to choose how Six Apart should compensate you."

Berkowitz offered TypePad users up to 45 days of free service to compensate for the inconvenience of outages and server woes.

TypePad Product Vice President Michael Sippey said the e-mail blast, which went out on Monday, was intended to keep customers informed as to what the company was doing to fix their problems. "As we've been going through some of our growing pains, we've tried our best to keep our customers informed about what we're doing," he said. "The e-mail campaign [Monday] was intended to do two things. One, to give people an idea of the progress we're making, but also to lay out what we're doing for compensation."

The move, which seems to have quieted the growing discontent among TypePad's vocal customers, was hailed by Steve Rubel, a marketing consultant with CooperKatz. "They're exemplary of customer service," he said. "The response has been excellent, and they're using the blog as part of their channel, and they're practicing good blog customer service, because they're one of the architects of the medium." Rubel runs his own blog about public relations,, which is hosted by TypePad. He said he had suffered some inconvenience due to the outages.

Pete Blackshaw, chief marketing officer of blog monitoring firm Intelliseek, added that TypePad turned an unfortunate situation--users were ready to "to take the service to the woodshed," he said--into a PR coup for the company. "This is a great example of how you take a bad situation and use it to nurture fanatical brand evangelists. It's a classic example of an 'operational' decision that creates positive word-of-mouth," said Blackshaw, who also runs a blog hosted by TypePad.

Some TypePad users, however, are less convinced by the gesture. Blogger Kevin Holland, who runs Associations, Inc., a site about management, technology, and marketing, said that without a fix, the gesture is useless. "You could offer me 365 free days of their service and it wouldn't mean a damn thing, because who wants 365 free days of service from a system that doesn't work?" he wrote on his blog. "No more apologies, no more bizarre attempts to make amends. Let's just face facts: TypePad doesn't work."

TypePad declined to release the number of active, paying users on its servers--all of whom received this offer of free service, but a TypePad spokeswoman described the financial commitment required as "significant."

Marianne Richmond

My professional opinion of the way that Typepad handled the situation is quite different than my personal opinion as a Typepad user. A professional observation would be that they did an initial poor job of warning their users that they were having problems and let everyone "discover" it on their own. This made people angry..they expressed their anger by blogging. Typepad then went into crisis mode and deployed email apologies in a hierarchical manner; CEO to important bloggers down to staff person to less important bloggers. Everything quieted down. Well handled if quieting down was the goal. Problem is as Kevin Holland notes...Typepad still doesn't work! So, on a personal level I don't really care about the $14.95 credit...I just want my blog to work. If their goal was customer driven, then they would improve the tech support and fix the problems.

olivier blanchard

Good idea.

I wish my cable company (Charter Communications) would do the same thing.

(Actually, I wish they'd just answer their phone once in a while. That would be a good start.)

Mary Hunt

MicroSoft set the bar for letting the world be your test site. I don't believe that Typepad is doing the same thing, it's just going through growing pains. I applaud the effort they took and applaud those who believe that honesty is the best policy and don't take advantage of their offer.

David Esrati

This is why I believe that you should own your own site- on your own hosting solution. Not only do you have access to more webstats- and control of your url- you probably have more control over your server. The one thing you need to remember to do is back up your site- that way if they massively screw up- you can rebuild it.
I really prefer Wordpress as a blogging interface to typepad- for a number of reasons- but, there are other options out there.

Dirk van de Broek

get my site

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I agree.If I had a serious customer service issue, I would call about it. But for the non-pressing questions or comments not worth waiting on hold for, I would MUCH prefer email support.
I'm also hearing-impaired and really REALLY hope to see better support for subtitles on Watch It Now viewing


I don't think that bribes really work that well. Sure, I'll take a freebie but it does not grow my loyalty. If you want that you need to follow up with effect customers in personal ways. This is too impersonal.

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Wow. Kudos to typepad for bringing this one up. i also admire you honesty because you could just select that 45 days and use typepead for free but you did not.. :) great!

Web Agent

Even if it seems that Typepad isn't working that well now, I appreciate the fact that they did all their best and methodically appeased the anger from their users.

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