For this to be meaningful, I have to start a few years back – thus, I’ll post it in parts.

Verizon FIOS (their internet fiber optic service) offers each customer 10 megabytes of free web space to create a personal or business website. As a writer, I needed one to showcase my work, so I eagerly dove in.

Users could either work through Verizon’s templates or create their own HTML code and use File Transfer Protocol (FTP) software to upload and manage their sites themselves if they wished. FTP simply allows you to add, change, or delete files on someone’s server if you have permission to access it.

There was one catch, but in my opinion it was a fair price to pay. The free web space was a perk Verizon offered its customers, but anyone who used it was pretty much on his or her own. They provided no tech support and virtually no documentation. But it was free and we all knew that going in.

All was well until Verizon took one of the corporate actions that infuriates customers and causes the company to have such an abysmal reputation for customer service. (Just check any of the frequent national surveys if you don’t believe me.)

As of January 2011 they prohibited FTP file transfers. The decision itself was defensible in that allowing every customer direct access to their servers left them at risk for nasty things like virus uploads. I wasn’t too happy, but I accepted that as a necessity, like paying taxes.

What I couldn’t accept was the arbitrary way the action was taken, basically leaving most customers in the lurch with no warning. They did send warning emails (once) but made no attempt to assure that they went to active accounts. So if a customer wasn’t using his or her Verizon email address (most don’t) the warning was never seen.

The effect: customers like me were left with web pages in need of updating with no way to do it. Under the new rules we couldn’t add, change, or delete anything. Worse, I couldn’t even take the site down. I would have to completely rebuild my website using Verizon’s web tools, but I couldn’t even begin while the old site was up. And Verizon’s attitude was, “Sorry, but we told you we weren’t providing support for this tool.” Seriously?

Stay tuned for Part 2. It gets better.

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