Late last year a client that I work with decided that they would like to have Moodle set up on a VPS and they selected Linode to host it.
After they set up billing they provided me with access to their VPS and I went through the process of setting up Moodle on their VPS.
Around this same time I was thinking about starting a blog related to software, programming, hosting and technology which became this very blog that you’re currently reading.
I was fairly impressed with Linode so I decided to use them as the host of my own VPS. I figured that I would do my client a favor and use their referral link since it was them giving me access to their server which is what led to me selecting Linode to host my own VPS.
A couple of months have passed and during that time I’ve written a few posts regarding or relating to Linode’s services. When I write about something that relates to Linode I link to them using my referral link. I use and like their service and if sending other people in their direction leads to me getting a couple of months of free hosting all the better. These links in turn have led to a non trivial amount of traffic being sent to their site.
It’s been a while and I decided to take a look at my referral stats with Linode and to my surprise there’s a big fat zero in my referrals. That seems rather odd given the amount of traffic that I’ve been sending to them so I decided to look into if there was something wrong. I contacted their support department who then put me in contact with their marketing department. Their marketing department informed me that my account has been marked as fraudulent. The reason being, that I used a link from my clients account which I had access to when I opened my own account. Marketing recommended that I try to clear this up with their support department.
I opened a support ticket and a few hours later they insisted that I had opened multiple accounts in an attempt to defraud them. This isn’t true, but they don’t seem to care all that much, and it’s easier for them to tell me to take a hike than to fix this mess. I’ve been informed that I’ve been blacklisted from their referral program for this “fraud” that I’ve never committed.
Apparently theirs nothing within the support departments power that can undo this once that a decision has been made.
If Linode’s support department doesn’t care maybe someone else in the company will.
I thought I would try to get someone at Linode to pay attention via a blog post.
If they’re not willing to correct this, I’ll send the couple of hundred users a month that I’ve been sending them to this page instead.
I’m in Europe and it’s late so I’m off to bed.
Hopefully in the morning I’ll have so kind of positive reply from them.
It’s frustrating that I’ve had to take things this far.
I woke up this morning with an email from the VP of their support department in my inbox. He informed me that my account is no longer marked as having taken part in “referral fraud” He apologized and said that he would follow up with me today regarding any referrals that I’ve made in the past month (if there are any) being credited. It’s the middle of the night on the east coast of the USA so we’ll see what happens in a few hours.
In the end the VP of support gave me a $50 credit and apologized for handling the situation poorly which is more than what I was asked for. I would have been happy if they stopped saying I had committed fraud and told me what was going on with their referral program. The support VP told me that he was unable to find any referrals from my account, which is kind of hard to believe based on the traffic, but it is what it is. If they’re referral program is doing such a poor job of converting interested users into paying customers then they really need to address that. For comparison 2.5% of the traffic I send to DigitalOcean sign up and 9.8% of the traffic I send to Vultr. Linode costs a little bit more than either of them but it’s also more consistent and reliable with faster IO and a better network.
A couple of months have gone by and despite sending Linode a fair amount of traffic I still haven’t seen a single referral. I’ve asked them several times to resolve what ever issue they’re having. Either Linode is incredibly bad at converting potential customers into paying clients or their referral system doesn’t work properly. Either way I’m through putting in any effort at steering potential clients their way and I plan on moving my own site over to RamNode once my existing credit with Linode is used up.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve had a similar negative experience with Linode.
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