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:

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Melissa Moore
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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… Read more »

Eric D. Brown
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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… Read more »

Allison
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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
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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… Read more »

Shell Smith
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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.

Tammie
Guest

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.

Eric D. Brown
Guest
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.

Tammie
Guest

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

Eric D. Brown
Guest
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.

Tammie
Guest

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… Read more »

Jody
Guest

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!

Eric D. Brown
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Eric D. Brown
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Eric D. Brown
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Eric D. Brown
Guest
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!

Eric D. Brown
Guest
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! 🙂

Cybercelt
Guest

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

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

Eric D. Brown
Guest
Eric D. Brown

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

trackback

[…] Perhaps you’ve read my rant on Blu Domain…maybe you haven’t.  If not, feel free to click over and read it here. […]

Scott Baldwin
Guest

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… Read more »

Eric D. Brown
Guest
Eric D. Brown

@Scott Baldwin:

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

Thanks again!

Gary
Guest

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… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
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!

serena taylor
Guest

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
Guest
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… Read more »

Jake
Guest

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… Read more »

Eric D. Brown
Guest
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
Guest
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… Read more »

Tammie
Guest

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… Read more »

Eric D. Brown
Guest
Eric D. Brown

Hi Tammie – Thanks for the update on your site.

Shanika
Guest

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… Read more »

Lisa
Guest
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… Read more »

Jake
Guest

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… Read more »

Eric D. Brown
Guest
Eric D. Brown

@Jake: Thanks for the update.

Eric D. Brown
Guest
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.

Eva
Guest

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… Read more »

Eric D. Brown
Guest
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).

Eva
Guest

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
Guest
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… Read more »

Sam
Guest
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.

Jake
Guest

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 [email protected].

Sam
Guest
Sam

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

Peter
Guest
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.… Read more »

leslie
Guest

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… Read more »

Eric D. Brown
Guest
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.

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