Practical Ecommerce

Quick Query: 1&1 CEO Oliver Mauss

1&1 Internet is among the world’s largest web hosts with 55,000 servers and 7.46 million customer contracts. Recently, the company surveyed 1,025 U.S. consumers about website communication and loyalty. We asked 1&1 CEO Oliver Mauss about the survey and what it means for small to medium-sized ecommerce businesses.

Oliver Mauss

PeC: 1&1 Internet conducted a “Website Communication Survey” to learn more about how consumers feel about being able to contact an online business. What did you find?

Mauss: Customers want to be able to easily communicate with an online business. The ability to contact a business is the most important aspect of using a website for 85 percent of Americans. Approximately 70 percent of consumers have a negative perception of businesses that do not provide ways to communicate directly. A lack of clear contact information such as address and telephone numbers on a business website has elicited a negative emotional response, such as irritation (78 percent) all the way to tears or violence (5 percent). On the contrary, a successful experience contacting a business can cause 85 percent of consumers to bookmark a business website. The study further showed that 89 percent of consumers expect all businesses to have a website regardless of the size. However, they tend to build better relationships with smaller companies. That’s evidenced by the fact 68 percent select an small business for greater personal attention and over half (51 percent) choose an small business over a large corporation because of the individual relationship they build with the business.

PeC: So, listing contact information can increase customer loyalty?

Mauss: Absolutely. The survey found that 77 percent of consumers said that they would switch to a competitor if a business website did not provide effective ways to communicate.

PeC: How do consumers prefer to communicate with businesses?

Mauss: American online buyers are becoming increasingly keen on real-time live dialogue via the web. The survey found that almost half of consumers (49 percent) use live chat and instant messenger tools in their personal lives 11 or more times a month. Over 50 percent of consumers perceive companies that provide communication features such as real-time dialogue, as progressive, advanced and eager to please the customer. As consumers become increasingly tech-savvy, the demand for easily accessible and advanced communication features is becoming more important for websites. Significantly, the majority of consumers (72 percent) will spend less than three minutes searching for contact information on a website before switching to another site.

PeC: And what does all of this mean for an ecommerce merchant?

Mauss: To retain customers, ecommerce businesses must continually research and develop website tools to maintain an interactive web presence. In my view, businesses that fail to recognize the features that attract consumers to a website and fail to use the right tools that turn a consumer into a loyal customer, are more likely to fail in satisfying customers who expect support from start to finish. Overall, our latest research underscores the fact that consumers value an attentive, approachable and easily accessible business. They will not hesitate to move on to a competitor who better understands the meaning of ‘quality of experience.’ Whether it’s the immediate availability of contact information or real-time online messaging, consumers now place high expectations on businesses to provide an instant means of communication.

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Comments ( 15 )

  1. SirTKC October 23, 2008 Reply

    I am sorry, but all these numbers will not restore all the websites presently down at 1and1…
    For more than 36 hours we are loosing traffic, customers, and sales on our websites.
    We tried to contact 1and1 technical support (located in Philippines). No can do. These guys are completely disconnected from what’s going on in US data center and their "admins" simply NOT keep them informed about what’s going on. Meanwhile they simply keep apologizing and mentioning that the problem has been escalated to an admin…

    We can’t manage our domains (12 totals) so we can’t reorganize or apply any contingency plan. We here sitting, waiting and reading crap like this article…

    This is a shame…

  2. Armando Roggio October 23, 2008 Reply

    @SirTKC, do you know how wide spread the outage is? I have a few sites on 1&1 and they are fine.

  3. SirTKC October 23, 2008 Reply

    Hi Armando,

    From the many calls to the support dept. it seem to affect a lot of people.
    In my case, I do have 16 packages with them but it affects only the developers packages right now (*the most important and expensive one – go figure… *)
    I have been told many times that this is caused by a hard drive who died 2 days ago… So they had to replace it and rebuilt the raid. But what scares me now is that I know that they don’t have any server redundancy. That means, when a wizzy decides to pull the plug for any reason, your web site is going bye bye… And really, they don’t care about it…

    The impact on our business is MAJOR.

    We had a huge marketing campaign running this week where we had articles in the major news paper in Montreal and all this is referring to our website which is down now because of 1and1…

    For the last 36 hours we have tried to reach ANYONE in USA without success. We always ended up nowhere well… I should say in the Philippines…

  4. Armando Roggio October 23, 2008 Reply

    @SirTKC, I feel your pain, and I am not even running for public office. I just sent an email to Ann Marie Tropiano. She is 1&1’s public relations contact in the fair city of Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania. I asked her to take a look at your comments. Perhaps she can help or at least explain. It is already after the close of business in PA, but with luck she will still check her email today.

  5. SirTKC October 24, 2008 Reply

    Armando,

    You’re very kind !!

    But I must admit that after this experience, my trust just dropped to zero. The only thing I understood from this is that I badly need to look for another "safe" solution.

    Just to let you know, over 5 domains in this package, I’ve been faster then them. I have opened another package and move the domains out. I could reestablish the websites in 4 hours. But the most important one is an external domain. The cancel function has been initiated. Now it sits there doing nothing, stuck and impossible to transfer it to this new developer package I have subscribed.

    1&1 Technical support keeps telling me that I need to cancel the domain prior to transfer it. After 3 emails of explanation, I sent them a print screen showing the cancellation process jammed…

    Matter of fact… 1&1 would be great if tech support would be in the US… Taking to someone who can reach and talk to all these mysterious, unreachable admins would be very useful and lucrative for 1&1. But it seem they don’t see it, they just don’t understand it…

    Labor in the Philippines may be cheap and I don’t want to hurt anybody here but, "When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys"… And by the way, I am Canadian. So I am not playing any protectionism crap speech here… Sorry for my crude language… But that’s the sound of my deep and profound frustration…

    Maybe I am wrong ! I have chosen cheap hosting services… So I am dealing with my own monkeys !! Aha – food for thoughts…

    Good night !

  6. SirTKC October 29, 2008 Reply

    Hi,

    Just to conclude this thread. Not only we’ve been waiting for one week with NO SERVER, but we received this morning a "nice email" of apologies and a confirmation that ALL the content including databases were all lost forever by 1&1 Internet.

    For all the trouble, they took the initiative to give me a credit of – one month… It’s bout 19.99$. I think that not only they don’t care at all about their customer, but if they can they will laugh at them.

    So, as a conclusion :

    1. 1&1 Internet publicity of 99.99% uptime and constent full back up is absolutely NOT TRUE.

    2. Technical Support is completely uncapable of ANY help. They’re just there to present "cutted & pasted" apologies. They barely speaks english and don’t know s(…) about technical support.

    3. 1&1 Internet DON’T have any relay server, fail over solution or any backup solution in place. When they goes down, you drawn with them. But when they recover from their disaster, you’re left in the bottom…

    4. They closed the whole circus with an insult. This credit offer is simply RIDICULOUS comparing to the money we lost because of these guys.

    If you want a free advise, If you have a serious business that operate on the internet or rely on it on a daily basis, get yourself a real, professional hosting service. Not a bunch of bozos who don’t know nothing about MISSION CRITICAL hosting service. It can be a shared hosting as long as it’s handled by real and skilled technicians behind.

    You can have the nicest jet plane in the world. If you don’t know how to fly it, it will end crashed and burned – just like 1&1 Internet…

    Nice Talk Oliver !! Hurray !!! 2 thumbs up !
    ——————————————————————————
    —–Original Message—–
    From: 1&1 Internet Inc. [mailto:support@1and1.com]
    Sent: October 29, 2008 12:00 PM
    To: [that’s me here]
    Subject: Information regarding recent web server outage

    Dear Andre Arsenault,

    We are writing today as a follow-up to last week’s incident that
    affected the web server your site is hosted on.

    During the last few days we have copied and restored the data from our
    backup systems to the web hosting server that your site runs from. The
    restore process has since completed and we would like to inform you today
    of what happened and what we are doing to prevent this from happening again.

    What happened?
    ————-

    The incident began due to hardware failures in the RAID setup.

    RAID stands for "Redundant Array of Independent Disks" and is a technology
    that employs the simultaneous use of two or more hard disk drives to
    achieve greater levels of reliability and performance.

    Your website is stored across the RAID system twice over different hard
    drives, if one of the hard drives fails your web site will continue to run.
    The failed hard drive is replaced and the data that was on the drive copied
    again from the other drives within the RAID, this is known as rebuilding the
    RAID, and normally happens seamlessly without any effect to the web hosting
    server or your website. This is a daily task performed in our data centers
    and is standard for large data storage systems such as used in the web hosting
    environment.

    In this instance, we replaced the failed drive with a new drive and the RAID
    started to rebuild. While this was happening the rebuild process failed, corrupting
    all the data within the RAID set. A rebuild failure should not occur.

    However, our system administrators do not rely on the RAID system as our only
    source of backup. We run a rolling backup of the live system to external backup
    servers to ensure that in a case like this we have a restore solution.

    After the RAID corruption occurred, our engineers analyzed the situation and found
    that the only solution left to us was to recover the data from our backup systems.
    At this point the RAID was reinitialized ready to receive data, this process itself
    took several hours to perform. Once the RAID was reinitialized, our system
    administrators worked to restore your data from the rolling backup files.

    Your Data
    ———

    After restoring the data we turned on the the services that deliver your website to
    the Internet. A small amount of data loss may have occurred, if you uploaded new
    files to your web space between the time that the last backup was made and
    the failure occurred.

    Our administrators were able to restore your data from a backup dating

    10/22/2008 08:22 AM EST

    Please check any applications that you may have updated in the time between your
    last backup and early morning October 26, 2008. If there are any problems, please
    call our support team at 1-866-991-2631.

    Changes at 1&1 Internet
    ———————–

    Although a situation like this is extremely seldom, your data and your web success
    are very important to us and we are working on measures to increase the frequency
    of rolling backups and other security measures to make sure your data will stay safe.

    Considering the situation, the time our services were unavailable to you, and the
    possible loss of data, we will be crediting one month hosting to your account in the
    next few days, which will appear as a credit on your next invoice. Please note that
    any additional items, such as domains, will remain unaffected by this.

    We thank you for your understanding and for your patience. If you have any
    questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Sincerely,

    Your 1&1 Internet Team
    1&1 Internet Inc.
    http://1and1.com

  7. Armando Roggio October 29, 2008 Reply

    @SirTKC, Thanks for following up. I am somewhat familiar with RAIDs and hot-swapping drives etc., but I have never heard of this happening. Normally, data centers have parity as either a level 5 RAID, a level 1 RAID, or the like–wherein rebuilding the RAID is a one way street with data moving from the parity drives to the new drive. Even in a level 5 RAID where parity is distributed across the array, you would not expect data corruption. And I had the idea that 1&1 used mostly RAID 1 arrays, which mirror data on a separate drive. I am not sure if this is related, but Tom’s Hardware had an interesting article last week, RAID 5 May Be Doomed in 2009.

  8. SirTKC December 2, 2008 Reply

    Hi, it’s me again,

    I’m here today as amazed as I have ever been before… A month and + later, our 1&1 Internet hosting service still haven’t fully recover from their crash of last October.

    OK lets recap… they went down for more then a week. They have lost all the content of our web shell including the database. We ran out of this server by purchasing another package with them (why? read below).

    Another of our package was also involve in this crash… We completely lost the SSL attached to one of our domain. I will spare you the zillion emails I’ve exchange with the asian branch of their technical support. As I am writing this right now, we did not cash in one single transaction on our website since mid October…

    On top, now we are experiencing lag time (10 to 20 sec.) on every single server request we do to our packages (on all protocols)

    Today, we took the decision to bail out ALL our websites (approx 20) from 1&1 Internet as per the fact that 1&1 Internet services & support simply turned into pure madness…

    From now on, what I have to say is – STAY AWAY FROM 1AND1 INTERNET !!

    And I am sad about this, because I brought them a lot of customers and now I have to move them all out and it will take me hours, days to do this…

    No need to tell how mad I am when I read en interview like this one…

    (I’ve took the decision to move to another server inside 1&1 to avoid registrar or DNS changes that would have rendered the transfer too long to process. it took only 3-5 hours instead of 1-5 days in a normal server transfer from one hosting company to another).

  9. leekleybm January 22, 2009 Reply

    1&1 has horrible business practices.
    I canceled my service with 1and1. It is process that appears simple, but they do not allow you to cancel . I received an email saying ‘Cancellation of Package as of 07/06/2007". I called 1and1 billing to inquire about the mistake and they informed me that I had not completed their process to cancel the account.I informed that I had. I indicated that I had and had received additional notification that the account was closed. They sent me to collections.

  10. WarthpublishingInc April 6, 2009 Reply

    I advise people to check out web hosts and domain registers very carefully before committing.
    I have come to the conclusion that I made the dreadful error of choosing a company because it had a 5 page ad in a popular computer magazine. I believe I have put my trust in a straw man. In my opinion 1and1, with CEO Oliver Mauss, is a horrible company and many customers have voiced a host of complaints on various blogs.
    It should be a warning that when their phone is answered by a recording that tells you if you have gotten a notice from NCO, a collection agency, to press a certain number. If they are a reputable business, why do they have to send so many accounts to a collection agency?
    Patrick Frey (Patterico) of the Los Angeles District Attorneys Office alleges his domain was high jacked and put up for auction on SEDO. SEDO is an associate company of 1and1.
    Patterico: “I believe I’m facing massive incompetence, thievery, or very possibly a deliberate combination of the two. It feels like evil intent — but not for political reasons. It feels like cyber extortion — people going after the almighty dollar. Commenter’s have pointed out corporate ties between 1&1, which can’t seem to process my timely renewal, and Sedo/Domcollect, which stood to profit from 1&1’s failure. Usually, corporate incompetence does not earn the corporation money — but 1&1 and its related companies have found a way to make money off of their own slipshod procedures.”
    Patterico was able to regain his domain.
    Also Investigative journalist, Kelli Jack, has written 30 articles about this company and has a suit pending against them. Kelli alleges that 1and1 stole her domain name and sold it. Kelli states: "1and1 should be shut down." As of today Kelli is working with the Pennsylvania Attorney General.
    I have filed complaints with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Trade Commission, Eastern Pennsylvania Better Business Bureau, ICANN, and others. I recommend everyone else having a problem consider doing the same.

    The Washington DC, Pennsylvania Better Business Bureau has them listed as "Unsatisfactory" Read comments on the BBB why. Read some customer comments on Red Flag.
    Don’t bother trying to access my 2 URL: warthpublishinginc.com, Migraine-Abort.com
    They are gone with my money and numerous domains I had at 1and1.

    Warth Publishing Inc

  11. suebee June 27, 2009 Reply

    Pretty unbelievable that 1 and 1 does such a survey but then is not able to keep their servers up so that commerce can be exchanged! We have our company exchange service with 1 and 1 and we have been down for over 48 hours with no end in sight. We have been told multiple times that it was fixed and no, it really is fixed this time and it still isn’t fixed. It isn’t just our server obviously. According to the supervisor, they are being overwhelmed with calls. Customer Service had not gotten an update on the situation for over 18 hours. The supervisor who talked to me informed me that the issue had not been escalated to the CIO or anyone higher than the supervisor of the Admins. I have never dealt with an organization that appeared to have such a disregard for their customers’ commerce. Looks like 1 and 1 can talk a good talk but they are severly crippled when they try to walk!

  12. cecilrhode October 2, 2009 Reply

    1and1 are just a shoddy outfit in my opinion, or at least the UK operation is. Does anyone know how to contact someone high up? Their UK side demanded money from myself and an associate for an email service they said had expired. They were asked to supply proof that money was due as it was thought that the services had been purchased for 2 years. They said they couldn’t supply proof, but assured us money was due!!!!

    Despite repeated requests for a statement, and copy of the order, they wouldn’t, and eventually, they froze the 2 websites. They repeatedly ignored requests for their bank details so that money could be paid in directly when it was confirmed payment was due (no way were they going to get a credit card number!) Under protest, money was paid in 3 weeks ago. Despite emails requesting the sites are unfrozen, nothing has happened.

    All along they have simply ignored what they haven’t wanted to deal with, and to be honest, they’re the most unprofessional, unhelpful company I have ever dealt with, on any matter.

    Obviously, the websites will be transferred elsewhere very quickly, but they need to be working normally and ‘unlocked’ to do that, and they won’t do that until the accounts dept allow them to, ie when they say the bills are paid.

    Anyone any contacts?

  13. lthomas01 November 4, 2010 Reply

    I am absolutely appalled with 1 and 1 Internet hosting services. Switched to GoDaddy a year ago and they will not let me cancel my account – literally won’t let me. I’ve followed their instructions time and again only to be shut out, get to a page that won’t display, won’t give me old or new password to log in, won’t resolve by phone or email, anything! until someone assured me that once my credit card on file expired it would automatically cancel as no way to bill me automatically (and it’s not like they are even hosting a site for me anymore) only to learn today that they put me in collections for my now overdue bill. Seriously!!! I’ve suppplied every email communication I’ve had, every attempt to resolve it, and I can refer to the billing people by first name as there’s been so many exchanges between us. No help whatsoever. Oliver Mauss needs to invest in a company wide course in Continuous Quality Improvement and insist the employees learn the real meaning of customer service.

    Anyone considering 1 and 1 Internet for their hosting needs should RUN in the other direction.

    L Thomas

  14. adrian111 December 15, 2010 Reply

    I strongly urge anyone who is thinking of using 1and1 to run as fast as possible in the other direction.

    this is part of a final email from their customer service.

    "I see a refund was issued for the domain xxxxxxxx.co.uk. In addition, the initial charge relating to the Instant Mail package (contract xxxxxxxxx) was refunded as well. However, as the Instant Mail packages were not cancelled the billing cycles continued.

    So even if they do not supply a service and you cancel as is your right, you will get billed.

    There is no reason on earth to deal with this company BEWARE.

  15. bba93k June 9, 2011 Reply

    Here is the situation,
    Yesterday someone exploit a vulnerability on my website were he/she was able to upload one malicious file. All this nightmare start happening around 6:00am, by 6:30am the attacker start sending thousands of email through 1and1 gateway mail. By 4:30 the account linked to the compromised website was locked by 1and1 abuse department. I notice the issue by 6:30 and i call they technical support. While on the phone, i got only apologize, and sorry – we don’t have access to remove the restriction, only the abuse department has. Ok, fine, transfer me over to your abuse department, i said – well, unfortunately the abuse department is closed till tomorrow, since they have a 9:00am to 5:00pm schedule. So, now at 6:30pm i found out that i can’t do nothing till next day – how messed up is that – 16 hours and 30 minutes till the department opens. So, i asked, is the a way to contact them directly? Yes, i got as an answer, and i got the 877-206-4253 . After i hang up with the tech department i called that number to find out that actually that number is they billing department. I called back the 1and1 tech department, and tell them that i got the 877-206-4253 as the phone number for abuse department from them, and i expected to hear a generic message from the abuse department, but they ensured me that the abuse department use same number. Ok, so now, i got mad that i have to wait 16:30 hours. Meanwhile i send an email to complains@1and1.com to let them know that in such a case like this i wasn’t notified over the phone, were seamed to be a such an emergency going on with my web space.
    Here is the replay from them:
    #########
    We understand you’ve been upset with the functionality of our anti-spam security systems mistargetting you. This is something that I can only apologize for. This is an aspect of our service that we’re always trying to improve. This is why your feedback is so important to us. We can now look through and see where and if we made mistakes. Then, we can look into making sure that this doesn’t happen again. Again, we can only apologize for this frustration that you’ve suffered. We will continue to work on this to serve you better.

    I can see that there is a ticket with our abuse team regarding this. There are abuse agents available 24 hours a day, so they will be able to address your issue faster than you have assumed. We hope that you do not leave 1and1, and are willing to do what we can to assist you here.

    Our sincerest apologies again and thank you for using 1and1.

    If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us."
    #########
    Again, another department another misleading information and full of lies,
    Notice were was mentioned quote "There are abuse agents available 24 hours a day, so they will be able to address your issue faster than you have assumed." this pissed me off way beyond my expectation.

    Here is my replay to that message at 10:31pm:
    ##########
    Thank you for replaying with same incompetence from department to department. You guys are all the same there, working for 1and1, untrained properly and giving misleading information.
    How can you lie (1and1 employee) that there are abuse agents working 24/7 when the abuse department works 9am to 5pm? Oh, i’m sorry maybe that’s how you got trained to say. In reality, you should know that that department is closed after 5pm – forget weekends.
    Please cut the crap, and make it happen to have my websites up an running ASAP. Nobody from any of your departments had the courtesy to call me IF there was a such an emergency. I know in reality is just generic one-man-judgment hidden from umbrella of "the abuse department" – yeah right – like that will gonna fly.
    And by the way, I didn’t ASSUMED that the ABUSE DEPARTMENT is closed after 5PM – your tech department told me that on the phone – so you can know how well you guys communicate there.
    As much as 1and1 got big from 1988, can go down as well by continuing this type of crappy relation with they customers.

    Have a boring day!
    ########
    As expected, no reply.
    Now, horror show part II.
    Today 6/9/2011, 9:00am, i call the "Abuse Department" aka "Billing Department" at 877-206-4253, someone answers, and i ask nicely to be transferred to they abuse department since this is not a billing issue that i’m having, and here is how this conversation went:
    Me: After 10 minutes of waiting to be transferred to they abuse department, i ask the person on the phone what takes so long to be transferred?
    1and1 employee’s answer: we are looking into your account with the abuse agent
    me: i didn’t ask you to look into my problems, since never even mention what problem i have to you, i asked you to put me in contact with your abuse department, i have nothing to do with you
    1and1 employee’s answer: sir, we are looking into your account with someone from abuse department
    me: look, i wanna speak with someone from that department, what’s so hard to be transferred over?
    1and1 employee’s answer: the abuse department can’t accept your call yet, but we are looking into "this" (which i never mention to this guy ever the reason of my phone call) right now with someone from abuse department, please be wait…
    —-another 10 minutes pass by (20 minutes total by now on the phone)—
    me: what type of support is this if you can’t transfer me over to the other department ?
    1and1 employee’s answer: sir, your account has been unlocked and as of right now you can access your websites.
    me: aham, so basically your billing department is also the abuse department also? How messed up is that to have to wait 16 hours and 30 minutes for your department to be operational, simply because someone did a stupid mistake yesterday locking my account at 4:30pm 30 minutes before you guys went home…
    1and1 employee’s answer: sir … interrupted by the supervisor
    1and1 employee’s supervisor: He never said his name, but before he hang up IN MY FACE he said – I’M THE SUPERVISOR HERE, AND YOU (ME) ARE HARASSING MY REPRESENTATIVE – AND BANG HE HANG UP.

    Now, lent me tell you mister whatever your name is, SHAME ON YOU to say something like this to a customer with more then 6 years of relation.
    So, people you be the judge.
    As per the hacker, that find himself, herself conformable playing through my websites – what was taking care of officially?