Blu Domain: Poor Service Defined

It’s been a while since I’ve railed against bad customer service….namely because I’ve not been too upset with the various services that I’ve received.

But…that streak has been broken.

A new definition for poor customer service has been set by a company called “Blu Domain“, specifically by “Aundrea”. My wife and I purchased a website from them on April 25, 2008. They told us that the site would be ‘delivered’ within 24 to 48 hours. It is now May 14th and we have yet to see a working website.

Blu Domain purportedly provides turn-key websites and back-end management solutions for photographers. The web designs and functionality seem to be top-notch…but their client service is horrible (try googling ‘Blu Domain Service‘ or “BluDomain Service“).

It started out nicely with an email from “Aundrea” stating that she’d have the website delivered within 24 to 48 hours and that she never misses a deadline. She asked for information about our hosting platform and we responded within 30 minutes with all the required information. Funny note: in her email to us, it states “if you don’t hear from me within 3 days, contact me because i probably didn’t receive your email”. Now…why would anyone say that? Why is it on the shoulders of the customer to contact the service provider to check to see if they received our email??

3 days went by with no response so we contacted them again and Aundrea told us that she didn’t receive an email from us…we resent it. Another 3 days passed with nothing.

We emailed them again (3 times actually) prior to getting a response. The response asked for more information. We provided that information….and waited another 3 days with no response.

Finally, we threatened to call our credit card company for a refund if they didn’t respond. Funny how threatening them actually worked….but their response was to blame us for not giving them information…even though the information that they requested was contained the email that she replied to.

We’ve given them until the end of today to get the website up and running or the credit card company will take over this negotiation and we’ll go somewhere else.

I should have known better to use a company that doesn’t provide any means of communicating directly with them. They have no phone number, no email address nor any other contact method on their website (other than the ‘Contact us’ form).  Another learning opportunity I guess.

Seems as if we aren’t the only ones having this problem. Check out the following:

  • Melissa Moore

    I am looking for a website company and have been quite impressed with BLUDOMAIN however after this post I have grown concerned about their customer service issues I have been reading online.

    I emailed them to ask them how they intend to overcome their growing pains.

    I am in shock at the email I received with the verbatium of your working relationship.

    You clearly left out the few necessary lines stating that the information they required for your servers did not work and that the programmers went back and forth with you several times.

    I am ashamed at your tactic write a post that is void of the actual truth.

    Seriously!

  • Eric D. Brown

    Hi ‘Melissa’,

    If you are truly a potential client of BluDomain, you might be surprised to learn that they have misled you in their response to you. I find it hard to believe that they actually shared what transpired between us….and if they did, that just shows how unprofessional they really are.

    BluDomain was given all the necessary information that they needed. IP addresses, passwords, etc. The problem was that they didn’t actually DO anything with that information.

    PS – I’ve looked through my server logs…and saw them try to log in a total of 3 times. Once to FTP the ‘website’ to my server a week after they said they would deliver the website. The other two times was after I told them I wanted a refund.

    Do your homework on BluDoman before buying from them. Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB rates them Unsatisfactory) and all the other posts on the web about their poor service.

    PPS – It’s funny that your grammar is very similar to the grammar used in emails received from BluDomain.

  • Allison

    More of a ? than a comment, really. i am new to the website world. i love the templates at bludomain, but i know nothing about web design. do you have any recommendations for other companies that offer the great styling and design that bludomain has, but are easier to customize and easier to work with? i have requested phone calls twice now, and I have yet to get a response.I also like the prices that bludomain offers. so, basically- i want something the same as bludomain. thanks!

  • Eric D. Brown

    Hi Allison,

    I’d take a look at Photobiz.com. Photobiz offers some excellent templates and great service plus they host everything for you fee (I think they start at $15 a month). Photobiz does charge for setup and to ‘buy’ the Flash templates but they are still cheaper than others (like BluDomain).

    My wife’s current site (http://amomenttokeep.com) currently runs on Photobiz. We are very happy with them…but I’d like a bit more control over the hosting service and the site than I get with Photobiz (which is wy I’m looking for something else).

    Other options are are available but they are a bit more expensive. They are:
    Photoidenties
    FolioLink
    BigFolio

  • Shell Smith

    This sounds all to familiar with about every customer phone line I have contacted recently. What a scary trend we are seeing – the customer service downslide! I ran across an interview with Fox Business and the president of a customer service company called Mindshare. He made some good points that might help us see why these trends are happening.

  • http://ambientphotographystudio.blogspot.com/ Tammie

    Hello Eric,
    I am so glad that you wrote this on your blog, I thought of doing this on mine, but I thought I gave them a benefit of doubt when Andrea ‘s email said that if I withdraw my paypal charge back they will refund my money because same thing happened to me when I try to buy the site from Bludomain.
    But I just heard from paypal today that they are still going to charge me!!! Now I don’t even know what to do… I am on long hold with paypal now. Bludomain have wasted so much time.

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    Hi Tammie,

    They tried the same thing with us. They told us to withdraw the paypal dispute and they’d refund us…but we Paypal told us not to do that. If we would have withdrawn the dispute, we couldn’t have got the money back.

    Bludomain is bordering on fraud…I wish more people would know how bad their service really is and how poorly they treat their clients.

  • http://ambientphotographystudio.blogspot.com/ Tammie

    Thank you for your reply Eric… now I am really stuck.
    I withdrew the dispute and credit card company told me that I only get one chance so I am really stuck here. I am so upset and don’t know what to do anymore

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    Tammie – I really hate that you are in this situation. I would contact the Credit Card company again and work your way up the ladder until a manager agrees to reverse the charge. I guess I now know why bludomain was trying so hard to get us to reverse the complain too.

  • http://ambientphotographystudio.blogspot.com/ Tammie

    Thank you for your kind words Eric, I spent whole day on the phone trying to resolve this. So far Aundrea actually got back to me saying that there is no way that anyone in Bludomain charged anything today because there is no one working today and she is telling me to send the paper work to her ASAP. She told me to go check with my credit card company. No, apology for this inconvenience. I will keep you and your readers updated on my blog. Thank you so so so much to even care of staranger like me. If only everyone in the world was like you, the world will be more beautiful.

  • http://www.wickpro.com Jody

    I’m bummed to hear about BluDomain. They are the only service I could find that will also incorporate flash video. I checked out your suggestions above and it looks like BigFolio has video as well but it’s a bit pricier. PhotoBiz looks solid, but no video. Do you happen to know of any other services out there that include a video option? I’m surprised there are not more quality companies that provide this type of service. Thanks!

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    Hi Jody,

    Try out PortfolioSitez (http://portfoliositez.com/). They are another well-reviewed provider and fairly inexpensive too. It appears that their latest creation (Ansel) allows Video galleries.

    The good thing about PortfolioSitez is that they allow you to host with them or buy the template an host yourself.

  • Mark

    Hi,

    I also wanted to thank you for posting this information. It’s unfortunate to hear that their customer service still sucks. I’d read some posts about them getting over worked due to some unexpected mention on TV, but figured that would be well resolved by now.

    I sent in a new customer query over a week ago and have heard nothing back from them. I guess I’ll be spending my $400 elsewhere.

  • Daniel Schloss

    July 15th 2008. Nothing has changed. I bought the site, paypal the funds, go an email saying they could not log into my host, then they went dark. I did a whois search and called their number listed…disconnected. Humm wonder if the Colorado Attorney General would look at this.

  • Heather

    I ordered a website from Blu Domain in October 2007 and was never charged for it (not that I am complaining about that). Not knowing much about it, I just thought maybe they didn’t charge me until my site went live. I was finally ready to set up my site in April, so I emailed to ask if I could switch templates since I had never been charged in the first place. Aundrea informed me that my account was in collections. Well, how can I be in collections if you never contacted me to get my credit card information? That is the question along with a couple of others that I have submitted to Blu Domain since April. I have had NO RESPONSE AT ALL!! I hate to tell you Blu Domain, I am not going to beg you to let me pay you!

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    @ Daniel – Please let me know how it goes with your Blu Domain experience…your current situation is exactly what happened to us.

    @ Heather – Again…another poor service example. Thanks for sharing….maybe we can get Blu Domain to improve if enough people complain to the right authorities.

  • Joseph

    Hello all,

    I purchased a web template from Bludomain not long ago. I was really impressed with their work all and all. The support I had to wait a week for them to activate the site. I know this must be frustrating for some but also consider the amount of work Bludomain has. They serve just about anyone from New Zealand to North America. They have a huge demand and lots and lots of work. It’s not a multimillion dollar company, nor an enterprise solution but rather a small business with high demand for their product. I think if you like their product, be patient. We are all occupied with our own demanding work and life, so don’t rush to judge a company by their support.

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    Joseph,

    I would agree with you that you can’t solely judge a company on one interaction. That said, there is ample evidence of BluDomain’s poor service and there have been reports of activity that could be considered fraudulent in some jurisdictions.

  • Daniel Schloss

    Ok I have to update my previous posts. I was also pissed at the time it took, so I buckled and tried another approach. Instead of telling them I would pull my money via paypal, call the Attorney General, yada yada yada, I told them I understood that they were experiencing massive growth and I would simply wait to hear from them and best of luck. Every day I have reiceved an email and within 3 days we got our links. I know I know I’m kissing ass…but hey…my site will be up shortly and after all isn’t that the bottom line. Give it a try.

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    Daniel – Glad to hear your site is going to be up soon. Let us know a link so we can check it out!

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for the comment…looks like another unhappy customer. We’ve heard from 2 happy (or at least semi-happy) customers recently and I though that BluDomain got their act together but perhaps they are still having issues.

    Great formulas! :)

  • http://mark@cybercelt.org Cybercelt

    http://denver.bbb.org/WWWRoot/Report.aspx?site=33&bbb=0885&firm=64020703

    From the Denver BBB – these aren’t isolated issues.

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    Thanks for the link…more evidence of Blu Domain’s poor service record.

  • Pingback: Great Customer Service: Portfoliositez.com | Aligning Technology, Strategy, People & Projects

  • http://www.scottbalwdinphotography.com Scott Baldwin

    My wife and I e-mailed them about two and a half weeks ago with some questions. We got a reply from both e-mails within two days. A few days after that we ordered a template + hosting. They said it would be ready by 12AM Sunday (3 days later). It was not ready then but was my Monday morning. Other than the delay of a day I have no complaints with them. I am sorry people have had issues with them–I guess I was one of the few lucky ones. Based on the feedback here I may not recommend them to others. Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts on this!

    Thx,
    Scott

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    @Scott Baldwin:

    Thanks for the info…perhaps Blu Domain is increasing their Customer Service Capabilities.

    Thanks again!

  • http://www.rushvideos.com/ Gary

    Eric,

    hey man, wow I read all the post and was surprised but yet understanding of all post. I did send an email to blu domain and within a hour Samantha called me when I was asking about purchasing a website template. When I asked for a number to call her back she was hesitant to give me one, finally she did, but it was disconnected when I tried to call her back. She seemed really nice but i have a store front and can’t just talk to people upon every call. I noticed on of the most famous videographers Josh Smith (cinematicbride.com) uses them. Three clients I spoke with seem to have no issues with them, but no one is perfect. I’ll let you know how mine goes & repost later.

  • Lisa

    I wrote to bludomain a few days agoa with some questions prior to purchasing. I got a response within a day, but it didn’t answer all of my questions. I had three questions. I wrote back but have not received a response as yet. Now that I read all of this negative feedback I am very reluctant to purchase a site from them. If I do, I will host it elsewhere for sure!
    Gary, let us know how your transaction and website launch goes!

  • http://imagenewcastle.co.uk serena taylor

    I purchased the sadie template from Bludomain around 8 months ago and I am very impressed with the service that I have had from Blu as well as the customer service section of their company. If I have ever had any queries they have answered those within 2 days and solved any issues that I may have had… I am sorry that many people have had some bad experiences with them, but I- probably like many others are a happy customer!

  • Honey

    aloha (hello) from Hawaii,
    I am so glad I stumbled upon this blog. I have been going back & forth trying to decide whom I should use as my site. I took the time to go through the photobiz site earlier today and sent them an email with my questions – in less than an hour… I was contact and had all of my questions answered. I was also given sample sites of happy customers to take a look at their pages. Photobiz is also running a special – which makes it even better ;-) I have only been hearing pretty bad results from Bludomain – but until now, I was not sure about it. thank you for your info… it will really help me in getting the right website hosters to build my business.

  • http://www.merephoto.com Jake

    We got our first Bludomain site when it was pretty new, and they were amazing with customer service. We had our site within a couple of hours of paying for it. It has been awesome for our business.

    We decided to get a second site (basically the same site) so we could separate our wedding and portrait sections of our business. We paid for it and waited, just like many of you. I think it took a couple of weeks, then we emailed them. They responded and apologized, then another week or two went by. We email them again and they apologized again and this time they got us our site soon after that.

    So I don’t think they are trying to be fraudulent or anything like that, I am under the impression that they are taking on too much business. In my opinion, they should raise their prices or hire some more people. From business school I have learned that growing too fast can cause lots of problems, and I think that is what they are experiencing.

    Either way, for me, the wait was worth it, since I already had a site up and running. Their prices are awesome, and the product is great. I think I am gonna give them another try this week for an Aerial/Commercial photography company that I am now doing. We’ll see how things work out.

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    @Jake: Hi Jake.

    Thanks for the comment. Glad BD is working out for you.

    The only problem that I have with the argument of “they have more business than they can handle” is what you’ve already pointed out….if that is the case, hire more people.

  • Blu Is Poo

    For a month I have had about 40% uptime with Blu, if you combine times my site was just down flat out with all the times my site was up but my e-mail was down and I could neither receive client e-mails nor return them.

    I do no print advertising whatsoever, run no ads on billboards or the sides of busses. I’m a small business owner. All my advertising is done online. I pay my hard-earned cash for advertising to drive potential clients to a website that has been unusable for almost a month solid. A MONTH. Think about how much potential revenue you could lose in one month!

    If you’re considering having Blu host your site I’d really do your research first. I had them host mine for a year with almost no serious issues, paid them for a second year in July and have had constant problems. Couple that with their nightmarish customer service, and it has been really enfuriating.

    I wish I had done more digging before signing on with them, they have such an awful reputation. I have to be fair and say there are lots of people in this group, though, whose experience with them hasn’t been the nightmare that mine (after buying a $400 template from them and a full year of being a loyal customer) has been.

    The problem is, you sing their praises until they start costing you cash hand over fist and basically tell you to go ____ yourself if you don’t like it. That’s what Harald, who I believe is the owner of the company, did with me.

    This company is threatening my livelihood. I’ve had a HORRIBLE experience with them. And to contact them with my concerns and have the treat me the arrogance and disrespect I now know Blu is notorious for in times of crisis makes it about ten thousand times more insulting.

    I am bulding another site with another company now and will go live with it in a day or two as an emergency measure and will NEVER use Blu again, but they have refused to refund my fee for hosting they failed to provide, and the obnoxious owner told me in an e-mail “We make no guarantees regarding servers.”

    They have an “F” with the Better Business Bureau and you can also find them at the Ripoff Report.

    You live you learn, right? That’ll teach me to not be more thorough next time!

  • http://ambientphotographystudio.blogspot.com/ Tammie

    Hello all, it’s been about 5 months since I posted my first comment on this blog.
    I thought, I would take some time to write about the out come. It’s only fair to Bludomain because they did give my money back in the end. I still think that their customer service needs improvement.

    1. After I disputed with Capital One twice in 5 months and Capital One lawyer talked to Audrea , after she got off the phone she sent me a short e-mail threatening me that I should be expecting a phone call from their leagal team and be ready to make public apology(?). That was last I heard from her.

    2. It’s been 48days since then Capital Once seemed to managed to make my problem go away. I got my money back. So my problem has been solved.

    3. I maybe one of those few unlucky people and I didn’t want to wait around for them to finally get back to me in a week not in 24 hrs. In my case, Bludomain told me that there is no record of me sending them all those e-mails and online support tickets so I would have never gotten their reply anyway even if I waited.

    4. Bludomain provides great looking sites at low cost that’s whyI went to them at first. But their company motto and their business practice is quesetionable. If owners act they way they did with me and the person who wrote above. I am not sure if you can really trust them to help you when you really need them.

    5. So if you have time to wait around and you don’t know how to go about hosting your own site (you can still hire your computer savvy friend to do the job) Maybe bluedomain is for you. Plus they throw awesome party at WPPI. LOL but by all means I won’t be recommanding them to others.

    6. Here are few companies that I am dealing with at the moment:
    Communicating with Jennifer at Portfoliositez.com was a pleasure. I am still waiting for their drop down menu lunching. Only reason that’s stopping me from going with them is that I need to have little more bells and whisles for my wedding website. Porftoliositz is definitely capable of doing it but they don’t offer serious customization service at the moment.
    http://www.portfoliositez.com/
    I’ve learned you get what you pay for.
    so few big name companies : you get advantage of exposing your site to other industry professionals like art directors, buyers and etc.
    http://www.bigfolio.com/
    http://www.foliolink.com/

    So good luck! Oh, always save all of your e-mail correspondence with Bludomain. You may need them in the future. Mine definitely came in handy.

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    Hi Tammie – Thanks for the update on your site.

  • http://sjbweddingsandevents.blogspot.com Shanika

    I hate that I didn’t find this blog before I spent money with Blu Domain. I bought a site w/hosting on 9/23/08 and I didn’t receive an email from them at all. I know it says you’re supposed to receive an email saying the site will be delivered and all of that, but I didn’t get anything. I have contacted them three times via their website and have not received a call or anything from them. I just contacted Paypal and they said they couldn’t actually help me get my money back because, basically they only insure money for tangible goods not virtual items. So for me to work with the seller. I sent another contact message to them this morning requesting my money back so we’ll see what happens. At this point all I want is a refund.

  • Lisa

    Shanika,

    I bought a site last month…it took about 2 weeks for them to finally get things delivered, as I don’t host with them, and the ftp/admin process was a pain. I don’t recommend hosting with them by the way.
    Try logging into their daily chat from their blog. Ask Lisa to help figure out when you site will be delivered. Change to a different host if you didn’t check that off when you signed up.
    I think a lot people find more customer service help and answers from going to the blog and asking Lisa…don’t be afraid to go back day after day to get your answers!

  • http://www.merephoto.com Jake

    Continuing on from my last post……So I went ahead and bought a new website with bludomain on Friday of this last week. I got that auto response email from them Friday mid-day saying that I would be contacted within 24 hrs. They don’t work Sat and Sun, but I didn’t get contacted on Monday. I sent a quick email to Samantha…we worked with her last time we got a website, this morning, and within an hour she emailed back requesting some information. I sent that to her, and she sent me my site a few hours later.

    So I can say that I am still happy with the service I have gotten with Blu, and especially the product. The websites are amazing, and super cheap. I do host with them because that makes things easy enough that my wife can do EVERYTHING. Anyway, sorry for those of you who haven’t had a good experience with Blu.

    My recommendation would be to email samantha@bludomain.com. Be very kind in your email and ask if there is anything you could do to help them get your site to you. It worked for me.

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    @Jake: Thanks for the update.

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    @Shanika: sorry to see you have had trouble with BluDomain. It does appear that the service is getting a little bit better…or at least those who’ve had decent service are stopping by.

    Hope you get your refund…or your site.

  • http://www.AllanandEvaElope.com Eva

    Monday
    September 30, 2008

    Eric:

    I’m reading all of these blogs about Blu and I’m sick. No business issues, just a wedding away from home. We had the photographer upload the photos, purchased the template, and sent out about 250 emails to family and friends and the damn site wasn’t live until today, September 30, 2008. The entire concept was to share the wedding with our vitual family in a timely manner, we eloped last Tuesday the 23rd. We were married over a week a go and we have about 230 messages saying the site wasn’t working as well as 1000′s of spam emails. Blu asks their clients to remove spam filters for better communication. Blu said they site would be live in 36 hours when we purchased the site , I believed them. It was live in 336 hours.

    I sent four ‘go live requests’, 2 requests for phone contact, 2 emails begging for a reaction, and finally two sharply worded emails commenting on thier very poor service and this was thier reply:

    Eva
    would you like a refund because we absolutely will not tolerate emails
    such as this.

    You are live on our end. I can see your site. If you write one more
    scolding email I will refund your money + pull your site.

    Aundrea

    Scolding? More like telling the truth, I was ignored as a customer and had no replies to my multiple requests. None, until I completed a service ticket and within an hour had my vitual hand slapped by Ms. Aundrea for scolding the Blu Team. What ever happen to good ol’ fashioned customer service? It’s my fault for acting appropriately when a company takes my money, fails to meet a deadline, ignores all communication and only replies when they feel unjustly treated? I’m confused, I thought I was the customer and I was the one who was mistreated. Ms. Aundrea missed that really important concept; customer satisfaction. (Business 101)

    This company is a great example of good looking,easy to use web interface, but a very poor example of how to manage a business. Business will not exsist without good customer service and these guys fail at all aspects of customer service. I have wasted so much time dealing with this company, I really wish I had done my homework.

    Eva

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    @Eva: Well put. Blu Domain has some great ideas but their poor service leaves a lot to be desired.

    It seems that whenever people come on here with good experiences, Aundrea isn’t involved….when she is involved, the story turns out like yours (and ours).

  • http://www.AllanandEvaElope.com Eva

    Eric:

    Really was disturbed with the entire Blu Domain situation. Did a bit of digging and was very surprised to find out that Ms. Aundrea Hasselbach is the owner and manager of Blu. I found all their contact information on the Denver BBB site and what a surprise, the company ranked an F. I have learned a valuable lesson; flash and design are not substitutes for integrity and good business practices.

    At least our site is up,
    Eva

  • Melissa

    I like many of you are a victim of Bludomain. Here is my story:

    About 4 yrs or so ago I purchased a template and everything went great. I found a host for my website and up it went. I was so happy with the service at that time that I put two deposits on two more sites but it took me a long time to work on my sites due to working, raising kids, etc…that I didn’t do much to the sites so then my original site that I paid in full was cancelled by the web host because I forgot to renew it. I lost all of the technical info from bludomain that I need to put it back up online so I ask them for it and bludomain refused because I did not finish paying for the other two websites so I have been in a battle with them for at least 4 or 5 mos now. I am now at the point that I am looking in to a legal matter with them. I sure as heck am not going to pay for two other sites when I can’t even get the company to answer my emails or give me my website that I fully paid for. I will never will use them again and will never refer anyone to them.

  • Sam

    Hi guys!
    Having the following problems with blu, sent an email to them requesting to provide the information about the admin panel where I can manage the site before the purchase, still got no response, 4 days left :(
    I need to know what features I will have to modify the site.
    Can anyone make a screenshot or gain temporary access to the admin panel.
    Thanks.

  • http://www.merephoto.com Jake

    Sam,
    If you want to email me I will give you my admin login website and password so that you can see it for yourself. You can click around, all I ask is that you don’t make any changes. My email address is jeikeskate@hotmail.com.

  • Sam

    Hi Jake!
    Just sent an email to you.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Peter

    If you are considering a website from Blu Domain…RUN THE OTHER WAY IMMEDIATELY!!!! What a horribly terrifying operation they have going. I purchased a website from them in April 2008. They emailed me asking for my website information including user name and password. I emailed them the information immediately. They responded by telling me my user name and password wasn’t working. Um, yeah…it is. I use them almost every day. They kept telling me it wasn’t working. I asked them 50 times to call me so we can discuss the problem over the phone instead of emails. They never called. WEEKS and WEEKS went by with me asking them to call me…nothing. After 2 months I emailed them again asking them where my website was. They responded by saying “please provide us with your website information including user name and password”. The email was worded like I was a brand new customer. It was RIDICULOUS. Another week went by with me trying to contact them. I left messages on their blog but again…nothing. Finally I emailed them saying if they didn’t call me within 24 hours I was going to call the Denver Police and Better Business Bureau. “Aundrea”, emailed me saying “We don’t tolerate threats. We are refunding your money because we don’t want to work with you”.

    The whole situation was utterly ridiculous and it certainly left me with a very sour taste. Although they have nice website templates, it’s certainly not worth the trouble dealing with them and there are many other companies with nice websites and much better customer services.

  • http://www.urbanphotosite.com leslie

    OMG… I just found your blog entry. Blu SUCKS!!! I keep buying their templates bc they’re pretty, cheap, and easy. (The templates, I mean!) But I am about to pull my hair out now.

    I have 4 websites with them. As of right now, one of them I can’t login to and cant get them to send me a password, one is being redirected to another site, and a third pulls up some random weird blue page when you type in the URL. I have emailed them for over two weeks AND requested a phone call. Nothing… ohh, except for one email response from Aundrea asking what problems I’ve been having and at the bottom of that very email was my original email with the problem!! Uhhh, did you not read my problem before you hit “reply”? I don’t even get it.

    So now..I wait….losing business day by day…people calling telling me they cant view the website.. etc. etc. Thankfully ONE of them is working properly.

    OOppS. I probably just jinxed myself.

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    @leslie: sorry to hear about your problems at blu. Sounds like they are still having issues with their ability to service clients.

    You’ve got some great pictures on your website.

  • http://www.jpsouthpacific.us JP

    Wow… Scary! Glad I found this blog. I was just about to place an order with them!

  • http://SportsShotz.comPortraitsbyFlash.com Bill Flaspohler

    Absolutely without a freaking doubt the worst customer service ever in the history of any company….not only do you NOT GET TO TALK TO ANYONE….you don’t even get any help for what you submit….or it falls off into never never land or maybe they think if you wait long enough you will just go away…..Submit a request for an urgent issue and wait 36 or more or never to get an answer…….many times NEVER. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND DO NOT BUY A BLUDOMAIN WEBSITE. THEY AFORE CHARACTER IS A PERIOD….LET ME REPEAT…..TERRIBLE COMPANY

  • matilde

    hi, your blog is invaluable to me! i love bludomain designs, but i am far too weary about them now to go ahead. i cannot count on being the lucky one:( their designs are so beautiful and i couldnt find anyone else who would have templates like them. would anyone be able to recommend similar sites with very very similar templates? or do you think i could get their template but use someone else to host it? can they withdraw the template after it is running under the wings of another host? oh, im so puzzled?;)
    i would be so so grateful for any help:*
    thank you

  • Eric D. Brown

    @matilde:

    I’d recommend portfoliositez. We have been using them for about 6 months and love them. Service is wonderful and the templates are great.

  • Melissa

    Trust us and stay away from bludomain. No matter how much you love their templates. This is what drives customers in and then they rip you off in some way or another.

    Yes they do withdraw their websites from your hosting site. They did that to me.

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  • Roy

    Bludomain has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, and their phone has been disconnected.

  • http://www.edit1media.com/blog Laura Randall

    Bought a site with Blu on the recommendation of my friend Joshua. Promised a site within 24 hours. 10 days later and after multiple excuses on their end I said I hired someone else, they are fired and I wanted my money back. MAGICALLY they gave me a link 4 hours later. I said "Too bad, I already asked for a refund". They refuse to refund my money, I do not have a site and BUYER BEWARE….PayPal won't intervene because they say it's an "intangible product". They have an "F" rating on the Colorado State BBB site with 14 complaints that they have never even bothered to respond to. Basically I think they are greedy and could care less if they have people who are not happy with them. This is a prime opportunity for some good competition to step in. They are just template flash sites, it's not brain surgery.

  • Melissa

    I used to work for one of the most highly visible and famous wedding photographers on the planet and they knew it because they did business with him. So I was regularly in contact with them and knew them well. When I wanted to use them for myself, they treated me like absolute crap. Literally night and day. During the day at my job they were great and would be nice to me – at night when it was me, forget it. And it was like they had amnesia the next day. They make a brilliant product but their customer service is beyond bad. Beyond ridiculous. I had so many excuses thrown my way it was laughable. "We didn't get your email" (this was my favorite since I *always* got an auto-response email as confirmation), "you didn't give us the information", "you didn't read the instructions", etc. And they knew that I was in a position to refer them to the photographers who took our workshops. AND THEY STILL DID NOT CARE. If you have an insanely high tolerance for total b.s., use them. If you're a busy photographer who doesn't have time to play games, I highly suggest finding another company.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ericbrown Eric D. Brown

    Hi Melissa – Thanks for the info. There seem to be much more people that have had bad service from Blu Domain than those that have had good service.

  • jon

    I paid for my site over a year ago and it is still not up. No response to any of my 100 plus emails. They took my money and gave me nothing in return. BluDomain are LIARS AND CROOKS!

  • http://Www.jbund.com Justin Bundschuh

    I just have to say this because I feel bludomain is getting a bum rap. I bought a $100 web site from them yesterday and today the whole thing is up and running. There was a small glitch an I was able to get ahold of tech support via the website. It was resolved in about ten minutes. My experience with them is amazingly good. I would recomend them. Who knows mane the days of bad service you guys grip about are over.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ericbrown ericbrown

    Hi Jon – sorry to hear that….it seems a lot of people are having trouble with BD. How they can remain in business is beyond me. That said, a recent poster (Justin) said he paid for and received his site within an hour of paying…I wonder why there are differences in how people are treated? Could it be the person(s) they are dealing with? I know that was a huge problem for us….the person we dealt with treated us like trash.

  • Maria Angela

    try showitfast.com
    I have had it for a few months and love it. The software is a bit slow at times but it allows you to fully customize your own flash website with ease. You do not need to know HTML or CSS. They also allow you to do a trial run plus they only charge you $39/month and no set up fee. :)

  • http://www.piicx.com Nana Aikins

    Did you have get your money back? I am having the same issue.

  • jon

    Nana- No I never did get my money back, or even a response to the several emails I sent them. I am going to be reporting them to the BBB. I think that you should too, if you are unable to get a refund. Hopefully it will help other people from being ripped off. BOYCOTT BLU DOMAIN! Spread the word BBD!

  • Mark

    BluDomain is the most childish, most arrogance ridden company I have ever had the complete displeasure of dealing with in my life. Never…EVER… would I even begin to think about treating a customer the way that they do – and all comes so naturally as if it is actually a required course in their CS training! If you are here researching this company before you purchase a web site, consider yourself one of the lucky few who was warned and just listen – they deserve to be banned from ever doing business again. They are simply lazy and non-caring and I truly hope they begin to realize that 1) competition lies in wait; 2) people talk, especially when really ticked off, as evidenced fully here; and 3) when they are completely "realized" within the photography world as having a customer service that would make a detour into the 7th circle of hell a welcomed and desired experience in comparison. Never in my life have I been belittled and made to feel as if it is they who deserve the service from "us". Absolutely unbelievable. DO NOT GIVE THEM A DIME! There are plenty of choices out there now. They will dry up in due time. Just watch… you'll see.

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  • TnT

    I too am experiencing their wonderful (NOT!) customer service. Am at my wit's end on how to get a real site from them. (I bought one extra, and hey were supposed to give me one, but it's been over a year and I still can't get questions answered. I am now asking them to turn the hosting over to someone else. Still don't have a live site either. And they want me to pay for another years hosting, after having taken out my site over a year ago. Promised to "get me any site I wanted up and running ASAP!) over a year ago. DON'T IGNORE WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT THE BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE! If you've not experienced it YET, you are just lucky. It will hit you.

    No site is worth this much trouble!

  • blusucks

    let's seriously file a class act lawsuit! you are not alone. i am a victim of their scam too.

  • blusucks

    let's seriously file a class act lawsuit! you are not alone. i am a victim of their scam too.

  • blusucks

    let's seriously file a class act lawsuit! you are not alone. i am a victim of their scam too.

  • http://www.jessicashepard.com/ Jessica

    I just dealt with the same person. Though I was told when I got my site, it could be moved to another host after paying for the first year of hosting with blu, I am now told there is a fee to do so. The worst part was the attitude I got, and no offer of explanation. When I asked to speak with her manager, she told me she owns the company!

  • Name

    Same problem with me, I've purchased a site last week of September 09, and still havent received nothing more than an email with their “office hrs” even after tons of inquiries. I'm calling my credit card tomorrow, hopefully they'll be able to give me my money back

  • http://www.sfwbride.com/ Fontaine

    PEOPLE. You're emails from BLUDOMAIN are obviously going to SPAM and not getting to you. I am a photographer who has TWO beautiful websites through them, and they have been nothing but super fast and professional! I don't understand where all the bad reviews come from? These sites are awesome for $100-$400! You can't beat it. I just finished building my new wedding website and it was literally finished and live within four days of purchasing. I also pay $100 to host through them, which is SO much easier than hosting elsewhere. I feel like so many people are skeptical to use them, but I think they're awesome, and they return all my emails almost immediately. They also state that if you have filters, check your spam as they have had issues in the past with people thinking they were being ignored.

    • http://markhayesphotography.com Mark Hayes

      Fontaine – I hope BluDomain doesn't realize you have TWO websites with them and only 1 hosting fee.
      Seems that according to their tech support an add-on domain (which they offer 5 of in their FAQ) is really the same thing as a parked domain. If I want to have two different domain names going to two different templates among those I've purchased from them I need a separate hosting account for each.

      The worst part is getting into a discussion (via their support form) with a supposed tech who either really doesn't understand the difference between parked and add-on domains to just refused to admit there is a difference.
      My recent post Friday Favorites – Here Comes the Bride

  • http://ericbrown.com ericbrown

    Fontaine – I'm glad you are having good luck with BluDomain…but telling multiple people that they aren't getting emails from them is ridiculous. The company has problems as seen from the many many many complaints about them. Don't take my word for it…do a search around the web and you'll see there are many more people with the same problems with BluDomain.

  • scottgruber

    I purchased a web-site from this company and they never sent me my web-site. I e-mailed them repeatedly but i never heard back from them.

  • http://ericbrown.com ericbrown

    Hi Scott – Sorry to hear that you are having trouble with Blu-Domain. Hope
    you get the issue resolved.

  • Jenny

    Ugh, I purchased a website, domain name and hosting with this company and I am already regretting it. It's been 3 weeks since the purchase and I have yet to gain access to FTP, I was given the wrong template and there has been NO response to my ticket or e-mails sent. I'm giving them another week (it's been holiday season after all) and then I will attempt to do what you did.

  • http://ericbrown.com ericbrown

    Hi Jenny – sorry to hear about your Blu Domain experience. It seems that they've not gotten any better with their service.

  • calligraphychic

    Hello! I am looking for a good company to work with in regards to my website. I like the looks of the bludomain flash sites with the shopping cart option, but have read so many bad reviews that I am not going to go that route. Do you have any suggestions on another company similar to them? Thanks!

  • Tory

    **** {editor's note: profanity removed} BLUDOMAIN, they are crooks! We bought 2 sites at once, guess what we are out $800 and have nothing to show for it. We will also be filing a dispute with paypal.

  • http://ericbrown.com ericbrown

    Sorry to hear about your issues with Blu Domain. They definitely have issues. FYI – I've edited your comment to remove profanity.

  • Avery McConnell

    If any of you have a facebook you can become a “fan” of bludomain and comment on their site…at least they will have to keep deleting our messages. I have had the same problem…was promised a call over two months ago and of course NOTHING and now the number is disconnected…SURPRISE!

    ARRR..so freaking ticked off.

  • naliny

    Same experience here! Still waiting. Money has been on their account for over 2 months.

  • http://www.martincrombie.co.uk mcrombie

    That name Aundrea will go to the grave with me 2-3 years ago. Only went there because the Boutwells recommended them!!
    Been there bought the T-Shirt, got fcuked over website downtown, IP address choas in the end the site just didnt bring me no work in too big and clunky. Just pulled it in the end.
    Havent really seen much that takes my fancy in the mean time however other than bigfolio look pretty decent. You heard of AOL Hell, Blu is how you feel with BluDomain

  • jasminemarsden

    I had a similar problem. Wouldn't refund my money. I'm scared. I'm out $115.00. I contacted paypal. They didn't intervene. I contacted Bank of America and assured me that they would intervene. This guy Daniel has been such a jerk to me. Told me to e-mail his boss… telling me she would no "no refunds" as well.

    Should I contact the BBB next? HELP!!!

    Thank you for this blog.

    • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

      Sorry to hear about your problems Jasmine.

      Did you pay with a credit card through paypal? If so, contact your credit card company for a refund.

      If not, send an email and also a registered letter to Blu Domain and then file a BBB compliant. Keep track of any correspondance with BD and if you aren’t refunded just keep up the correspondance. It took us a good month to get a refund but we had to keep hounded them. Be professional and courteous but forceful.

  • http://everydaydream.com donny

    Dang, I found all of this out too late. BluDomain took $200 from my fiance and I over a month ago. We keep emailing and we keep getting responses that someone will contact me in 24 hours. We checked out Better Business Bureau and found this whirl-wind of mess.
    I don’t think they realize how stretched financially many of us are. And we get our hopes up thinking their product will give us that leg up in the industry.
    Instead I have wasted 6 weeks of time I could of had a site up and hopefully some more work coming in.

  • joe

    I’m having a different issue than most of you appeared to have. I originally purchased my website from them, and that part has went fantastically. I’ve never had an issue. I have grown my business though, and it’s become possible for me recently to build a custom website. I didn’t realize that the blu domain owned my domain. They won’t respond to my requests to transfer.

    needless to say, i’m growing more impatient and angry by the day

    • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

      Sorry to hear about your troubles Joe.

      The biggest issue I had (and it seems most people had) with BluDomain is their customer service.

  • AprilC

    Sorry to hear this news. I was told Blu is great and bought two sites for my photography business and I have never has a problem with customer service. I bought 5 more for friends (they paid, but I did the work) set them up, and I never once had an issue. I even had to transfer a few domain names to them and I didn’t understand how to do it, they walked me through it all. Maybe they are improving on their customer service in the current years.

    Maybe suggest some alternative sites to use for your readers. I did a lot of research and I didn’t find too many good sites to use. But, I have seen some photographers that have produced some good sites using SmugMug.

    Thanks for your post!!

    • Sara

      I too have had a great run with them. I have two sites myself and have set up 4 for other people. It has always been very easy and I have delt with many of the different people there and have always replied and responded. If anyone needs help with getting their site up and running that they got from BluDomain, I am more than happy to take a whack at it. Please contact sara_schaffer@yahoo.com

  • sarahr8852

    Wish we could have been around when you had these problems. Check out plebu.com if you are ready for a new website! We will be launched soon!

  • cyn

    Hi Eric, I really wish I had read your post several years ago before I became a customer of bludomain. Yes, I too, was wowed by the templates as so many other photographers have been. But their customer service is really pathetic. I regularly encounter problems with my image uploads to Client Proofing Galleries. Since they do not offer any live customer service, I filed a detailed Help Desk Ticket and waited. During a portion of my email, I inquired about whether the image resizing can be done solely in Lightroom, and wanted to know about the quality, pixels, etc., that they would recommend, as LR’s specs are worded differently than blu’s. Rather than offering any type of assistance, they stated, “You can use any program you want to size your images but ultimately, how you do that is up to you. We do not provide support for third party programs…” That type of answer is clearly a way to avoid offering ANY service.

  • cyn

    My second main complaint pertaining to customer service is that the company is totally UNavailable and seemingly nonexistent unless they perceive that their client owes them money. I received an odd invoice from Aundrea Hasselblach, stating I owed the domain billing department for three years. Upon researching it, my credit card receipts showed that I only owe for 2010 to 2011 and then 2011 to 2010. It is odd that they never sent me an invoice last year. But maybe their billing department is asleep too. The frustrating part is that instead of being able to communicate this directly to the billing department, there ensues a string of emails with each response from bludomain arriving days apart from my inquiries. The latest email is from Marlene, and a portion states, “Originally I was assisting with your domain renewal fees but have come across this information on your hosting fees in arrear. Auditing will catch this when it does occur but I seem to have found it first. :) thank goodness I have because what usually happens is the accounts in arrears are put on a terminating list to remove off our servers due to non-payment status.” Their tone of condescension and “we are so right and the customers are so ignorant” is a little sickening. It would be nice if they had some business sense and left room to save face. In this case, my records show I again paid for last year’s hosting fee. However, the only way to communicate this to them is through email. And the reply from Aundrea or Marlene will undoubtedly take a few more days. In addition, their billing system is very shoddy. There should be a set time of year that all payments are due.

    I will definitely be searching for a new website provider.

    Do not be wowed by their cool templates! Their customer service is really awful. And I am the type of person who goes out of my way to ask to speak to a supervisor nearly every time I have a great customer service experience with any company. I know how customer service can be a thankless job. When I do not have a question and do not need any type of assistance, I think I’m satisfied with bludomain. But when I have the smallest technical question, I face disappointment with emails that arrive days later and always evade answering my questions.

    If you choose a company partly based on good customer service, you can X bludomain right off of your list of choices.

  • http://www.landrymajorphoto.com Landry Major

    I just had an even worse experience with Bludomain and specifically with Aundrea!! After three days of asking for help with one issue and being told on their chat support some one would fix it. I complained on chat and was told I would be Blocked. I then posted my complaint on FB and Aundrea quickly deleted it. I complained on Twitter and got an email from her saying she couldn’t see me FB comment. I emailed her back, and quoted the rude comments they had made to me on Chat support. At no time was I rude in my email. This was her response to me: Wait Landry — your right I did delete it — I can see your post when it came in.

    Second — if you want to write me back with a respectful email telling me what I can assist you with then I will.

    I will not help you when you approach me like this.

    As you know I am not aware of what is going on nor have I helped you

    So you need to have some respect in how you are speaking to me.

    I will await your email with your link and the exact questions you need me to help you with.

    Aundrea

    In my email to her I had explained the problem, that I had spent 3 days on chat trying to get help. She ignored it. When I asked for the contact info for the owner of Bludomain she replied She was the owner. According to their web site she is the marketing coordnator and guy named Don is the owner. They have refused to give me his contact info. Any one considering them for a site …Don’t! Run!!! They are not only bad, they are Rude!!!#Photography #bludomain

    • Eric D. Brown

      Landry –

      Sorry you went through this with Blu Domain…they are horrible when it comes to service. Hope you’ve gotten things straightened out and/or moved on from them.

  • Veronica

    I am trying to redo my website and as a makeup artist entering my biggest season I need something done QUICKLY. Furthermore, I work as a project manager and quality assurance manager in advertising for digital deliverables LIKE websites so this is just my thing. I purchased a site from them. Received the email confirmation quickly, received my links quickly. Too bad I am not the average joe so I performed my usual QA on all 3 sites (flash, html, mobile) and they are riddled with bugs and issues. I sent them a DETAILED list of everything wrong with it and asked that they let me know when these issues would be resolved. I HAVE GOTTEN NOTHING! I am 5 minutes away from calling my credit card company and going with someone else! Not sure what to do but I will say this….a company that depends solely on email and iChat (where nobody is ever signed in TO ACTUALLY CHAT) is not professional and should not call themselves a business! Does anyone have any recommendations for other sites like this?

    • Eric D. Brown

      Hello Veronica –

      Take a look at photobiz.com, Photoidenties, FolioLinkm BigFolio…there are others too. I’ved used Photobiz in the past and we really liked it. We have since moved to WordPress to host both photography sites.

      Drop me an email if you have any further questions.

    • BW

      I know this conversation has probably died , but its insane. Aundrea has done nothing but lied to me as well. Been trying for over 2 months to get an issue resolved. Its horrible. I am debating a submission to Anonymous for help.

  • Jesse

    It appears that many have shared your experience.

    Aundrea Hasselbach of BluDomain.com attempted to scam a client of mine out of additional payment when we tried to move her domain out of BluDomain. When pressed further she did not hesitate to lie to me in order to attempt to justify her scam. Worse yet, Aundrea never attempted to verify my involvement with our shared client, simply accepting my word that I was working on the client’s behalf, which poses a very significant and very real security concern for any current and potential BluDomain.com customer.

    This company will not follow their own terms of service, and absolutely will attempt to scam you at their first opportunity. They will also allow anyone at all with passing knowledge of your website/domain to write in and make changes to your account. Do no, under any circumstances, sign up with BluDomain.com.

    • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

      Jesse – sorry to hear that things are still bad at BluDomain. We had horrible experiences with them and I know many others who have had the same bad experiences.

  • K

    I’m having the same issues right now. I was not notified that my domain needed to be renewed, as I hosted with bludomain. My domain entered redemption, and I still had not been notified. Aundrea lied to me and said my website was taken down in August to let me know payment was due. My website did not go down until October. When I told her that the domain didn’t expire until October, even according to WHOIS, she stopped replying to my emails. I have sent numerous emails and no reply. As of now I have a new website template that I invested in, yet no domain name to host with and she doesn’t reply to any emails. HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE. I am seeking legal counsel. Ridiculous. Better Business Bureau rates them an F, had I known I would I have created my own website and invested in that instead even though it’s time consuming.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ericbrown Eric D. Brown

    Hi Justin – glad you had a good experience with BD…but I think the majority of folks that have commented are saying the opposite. I think the history of the BD's customer service shows a lot of room for improvement…hopefully they have figured out that service is key.

    Thanks for stopping by.