Captain Jake's Has Left the ISP!

Why are Jake and his crew leaving FlashNet? There are a few reasons.

1. The buyout by Prodigy and SBC. I don't feel I can be taken seriously being on an ISP such as Prodigy. It is my personal opinion that Prodigy was and is for people who can't handle America Online. Also, I used to work for SBC. I do not approve of SBC's business practices, having witnessed them from the inside. As a good American, I can not condone, even by willingly using their service, their business practices and dealings with our government.

2. When I expressed my opinion of the proposed buyout in a heartfelt letter to FlashNet's management, I received absolutely no reply whatsoever. This made it perfectly clear that FlashNet's very last priority is its customers. The entire letter may be read here.

3. An ongoing lack of proper support. FlashNet has a history of not responding to customer complaints or concerns. This is personified by the person who handles their email-based support, Preston Ordrop. I initially emailed support with a question about SPAM, unwanted commercial email, on 5/15/99 . Preston sent me a boilerplate(canned pre-written) response that answered a few questions about SPAM, but not the question I asked. I asked about a specific domain that appeared to exist only to send out SPAM and whether or not it would be possible to block all email from that domain on the incoming mail server. That question was not addressed in the boilerplate that Preston sent me. When I pointed this out, his well-reasoned, professional, and polite response was essentially, "Yes it is". We went back and forth on that issue, solving nothing. I tried to discuss spam blocking with him another time. Still no luck, Preston was not interested in answering questions. In all fairness, all I can do is provide all of our correspondence. Here is The Interchange, in all of its ugliness. This is probably the overriding reason that we are leaving FlashNet. After all of these years. Sad.

4. Every single time that I have called Flashnet's Customer Service, I've received the message "Due to very heavy call volumes, your wait time will be more than five minutes. The best time to call is Tuesday through Friday...", which is usually when I'm calling. This is typical of FlashNet. They've identified the problem, but refuse to take steps to fix the problem, i.e., hiring more staff.

5. One other minor thing. We were without email for two weeks once. Not due to continuing traumatic problems with the FlashNet servers. We were without due to FlashNet's inefficient and ineffective support process. While we couldn't use email, we were able to put a notice up on our webpage. Here's the notice in it's entirety: PLEASE NOTE: If you've sent us email recently, we apologize for not getting back to you. FlashNet, our provider, has yet to fix an email server problem that has kept us for getting our email since October 1st of this year. At this time, we've had 14 telephone conversations with them, mostly about how they have to enter a ticket in their system for the fix to be performed. Captain Jake's has always been a huge supporter of FlashNet. We are afraid we can no longer recommend FlashNet as an ISP. This coming Friday will mark ONE WEEK without email! We thank you for your patience while we lose ours with FlashNet.

Please reflect on this when you consider which ISP to choose...

6. And the amazing final thing, epitomizing the arrogance and lack of professionalism to be found at FlashNet/Prodigy, this website, when it was hosted on FlashNet's servers, was deleted on December 19th. I replaced it the same day, knowing that it must have been an error on their part. I mean, any professional ISP would contact a customer if they had a problem with the content of a user's website. The last access to the website was at 'Sun, Dec 24 2000, 12:28:50 EST (-0500)'. When I checked the site on Christmas morning, I found that the site had once again been deleted, and the webspace as well. And, my FTP access was also blocked so that the site could not be repaired. The entire FlashNet staff takes Christmas off so when I called them for an explanation of their latest accident, there was no one to talk to. And once again, there was no communication from FlashNet/Prodigy about any problems or differences of opinion they may have with me. It really seems to me that "Professionalism" is not in FlashNet/Prodigy's dictionary. How the mighty have fallen...

Side note: up to the point that FlashNet deleted the page, it had received at least 288 hits, according to the counter at www.digits.com, about 20 hits per day for its last couple of days.

Updated 12-25-00