Inside money, markets, and Big Tech

This article was published on October 17, 2008


    Combining the forces of GoDaddy and Drupal? Mind your credit card bill

    Combining the forces of GoDaddy and Drupal? Mind your credit card bill
    Mircea Goia
    Story by

    Mircea Goia

    Mircea Goia was born in Romania and emigrated to US in 2005. He lives in Phoenix, AZ and works as web developer. His is involved in several Mircea Goia was born in Romania and emigrated to US in 2005. He lives in Phoenix, AZ and works as web developer. His is involved in several online projects and one of them is MyTestBox.com. Mircea shows a keen interest in commercial Web development such as social networks, viral marketing, e-commerce, online video (and filmmaking). He can be reached on his personal website (for suggestions, news, tips).

    Now, I am not implying that Godaddy.com, the 800 pounds hosting gorilla, tries to steal your money. But due to a software bug in (a third-party Drupal module), which Godaddy offers pre-installed, you might face the nasty surprise of getting a bill which is somewhat higher than you expected.

    This happened to Mihai Corlan, a Flex, AIR developer who had his website hosted on Godaddy.

    Several days ago he got a notice from Godaddy which said:

    Dear Mihai Corlan,
    Customer Number: xxxxxxxxxxxx

    According to the terms of our agreement(s), we tried to bill your MasterCard card ending in the last two digits XX in the amount of $ 7062.01 for the item(s) below, but our billing attempt failed. This could be for a variety of reasons, including an invalid or expired credit card on file.

    Product Name Next Billing Date Qty Price
    Hosting Fee – Additional 100 MB – Renewal 10/22/2008 874 $5934.46
    Bandwidth/Diskspace for 10/02/2008. corlan.org

    Luckily, his heart is in good shape otherwise he might have had a heart attack when he saw that huge bill ($7,000 with penalties). Why did GoDaddy charged him such an astonishing amount?

    Fishy deal

    Mihai has only three blogs hosted on his Deluxe shared account and paid for a year of hosting in advance. This specific GoDaddy account has a storage limit of 150 GB. He got a warning that he exceeded the quota so deleted some unnecessary files. Then, after a while, BAM! He got that email from GoDaddy.

    Of course he tried to find out why he owes that money. GoDaddy wouldn’t tell him. Instead they just blocked his account this weekend without any notice. When he asked which files or folders were so big GoDaddy customer service responded “Sorry sir, but the account is blocked and I cannot tell you about the files”. Isn’t that ironic? Catch 22.

    After more talks GoDaddy offered him a “deal”: “$800 for your data, and buy the next hosting plan and we’ll forget about the $7000, even though you technically owe us this money”. Doesn’t this sounds quite.., fishy? They don’t explain WHY they ask that money, they just asked for it. It’s not hard to imagine how pissed off Mihai was. He eventually paid that $800.

    Mihai wasn’t the only one

    Those who think this is an isolated case are wrong. Adam Fendelman, hosts HollywoodChicago on GoDaddy, was also confronted with a rather impressive bill last month. Adam presumably owed GoDaddy $6,600, thanks to the very same software bug (a third-party Drupal module) that made Mihai’s bill skyrocket. Once again, GoDaddy was “kind enough” to only ask a part of the bill. Adam’s case was settled with 969 dollars.

    In comes The Huffington Post

    Adam was smart enough to enable the power of the blogosphere and wrote a post about his “GoDaddy adventure” for Huffington Post . Soon enough, a GoDaddy big shot called Adam to say he would get the $969 back (this experience was also translated into a Huffington Post article

    So GoDaddy only listen to you when you’re an influential blogger. Just so you know. Adam was kind enough to write an article about Mihai as well, and guess what: Mihai received a call from GoDaddy today. They refunded his money and moved him on the Unlimited plan

    GoDaddy will resolve the problem and will try to implement a notification system for who is exceeding the disk quota so clients can take early measures. This was the core issue: GoDaddy didn’t have a early alert system for quota exceeding and wasn’t very flexible – at first – when the user wasn’t to blame.