I shall keep this generic because I don’t want to embarrass anyone…
We are complex animals, us human beings. We’re capable of being simple at times, but the naked truth is that we have more levels of – at times conflicting – personality that sometimes even our best friends don’t know us.
And that’s part of the ‘being human’ thing, that’s part of what makes us tick.
Just when you think you know that person at work, you discover some totally left-field thing about them that forces you to re-evaluate your entire perspective.
It may be a good re-evaluation, it may be not good. My point is that an unexpected piece of information is revealed and you’re suddenly looking at a person who isn’t quite the person you thought it was.
But it doesn’t only happen with people at work, does it? It can happen with anyone, anywhere, any time and, sometimes, for the most unexpected reason.
You might think you know everything about me but…
You may or may not know this, but I host websites for people. I do this as well as most of the commercial webhosting concerns – and better than some!
My hosting is inexpensive, ultra reliable, provides a 24/7 helpdesk (which, frankly, is so seldom used it’s actually gratifying) and has annual downtime which, for the current year, is being measured in units of 1 second.
And, because I’m occasionally (as Ian so elegantly put it in a recent email to me) soft, I will take a view on what my hosting service costs people.
Some months ago I took on a young guy – he’s in his 20’s – as a hosting ‘customer’.
He produces a daily conversation-based podcast and, due to a variety of reasons, he had run in to a number of issues with the company who hosted his podcast website.
There were unpaid bills and, as corporates do when bills are outstanding, they took his website down. This had the effect of removing him – and his podcast – from the internet.
Because I liked what he did, I offered to take him on.
So I bought a new domain name for him, I set him up with a hosted website, I gave him unlimited webspace, I gave him unlimited bandwidth transfer and I gave him an FTP account and a bunch of email addresses.
The key word here is ‘gave’; I have not charged him for any of these things, it never was my intention to charge him for any of these things and that’s an understanding that we both have.
Last night I visited his website, just to see how he was doing. While I was there I noticed that on every single page he has a funding widget.
The text in this funding widget says:
It takes $1,000 per month to run (name of his podcast/website). If you enjoy what we do, please think about supporting us.
Hang on one cotton picking moment!
He produces a conversation-based podcast. What that means is he sits in front of a microphone and he talks.
He has no costs.
He has no Performing Rights Society licence to buy, he sits in the attic of his parents’ house and all of his content is self-produced.
Anyone who listens to his podcast knows these facts.
And for the grand sum of no pounds and no pence he has a free domain name, unlimited webspace, unlimited bandwidth, a bunch of email addresses and an FTP account.
But he doesn’t tell his website visitors or his podcast listeners that he has these things for free.
Instead of telling them this fact, he has put up a funding widget that says ‘it takes $1,000 per month to run’ his project.
And yet he has, on a number of occasions, told his listeners that my organisation hosts his show.
Therefore, by clear implication (in my head at least), he’s telling people that his hosting costs are $1,000 per month – not free as they actually are.
Be honest folks.
Am I justified to feel a sense of outrage at what he’s done?
Do you think I have overstepped the mark by writing to him, telling him that my organisation is going to raise his hosting costs from Â£0.00p to $1,000/month to keep in line with his funding widget?
Do you think I should continue providing a service for nothing while he tells people that his product costs $1,000/month to run?
Come on, be honest.
Because even now, 12 hours after discovering his funding widget, I am still fuming about this.
You’re going to have to talk me down.