[photo] Mark Jeftovic

easyDNS CEO, Career Contrarian & AntiGuru

Do Business With easyDNS…or the dog gets it.

I’m posting this under “How to lose customers”, but given the circumstances behind this post, perhaps I should post it under “How to lose employees“. Now that the new easyDNS website is finally launched, I have been reviewing the content with an eye toward readability, clarity and general usability.

I came across an archived page that didn’t “make the cut” when we launched the website, basically because it offended nearly everybody on staff and they made no bones about telling me. They felt that it went too far, it was too over the top and it was downright offensive.

This is not the first time they ganged up on me in a near mutiny. The first time was shortly after I bought out the partners and in a rush to roll out new services I hastily signed a contract with an outsourced email and web hosting supplier to private label those services under the easyDNS brand and sell it to our member base.

After some testing on the platform they basically came together as a group and delivered a message to me: “this thing sucks” they said, “and we can’t sell this crap to our customers”. I took a step back and looked at it. They were right. The platform wasn’t up to our standards and we probably would have seriously damaged our credibility with our members had we rolled with it. So I canceled the contract and we decided that henceforth, any services we added on would be something we build ourselves, so we could sell it with a clean conscience (it took us a few years to finally deliver easyMAIL, but it’s ours, it integrates with everything else here….and it works.)






I have a history of coming up with marketing messages that seemed a little too extreme for my colleagues. Back when I was in Landslide I was given the task of writing the cover letter for our second demo tape to the record labels and I made the salutation “Dear Corporate Pig….“. A couple of my bandmates were enraged and we never did get signed. I’m unsure if there is a correlation.

Later, when easyDNS became a .CA registrar I wanted to take out full page ads in Canada Computes with the headline What Has Your Registrar Done For Lately? and a picture of some sleazebag holding a fistful of money and giving the one-finger salute. It’s basically how I felt about a lot the more underhanded tactics I saw going on in industry, but the idea was vetoed by the partners.

So when I came up with this idea, I was elated. I was in control and there was nobody, nobody who could stand in the way of my in-your-face marketing message. Until of course, the staff threw cold water on it. They tend not to get worked up over things very often, so when they do, it gets my attention.

Still though, I really thought this encapsulated in a sarcastic way the hardball tactics some of my competitors employ in the DNS Hosting business. We were basically the only DNS provider with anycasted nameservers that was not charging based on query usage but we knew we had to change this. When we did, we wanted to be the antithesis of hardball, lock-in, screw-you heavy handed and I thought this delivered that message – and it might make you laugh while we were at it.

Or maybe not. You tell me. Was I out of line coming up with a twisted marketing message like this?


3 Comments to Do Business With easyDNS…or the dog gets it.

  1. July 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Your survey options just don’t cover my feelings/thoughts on the “gun to the dog’s head” advert.

    Naturally my first thought is what did the dog do to deserve that, but on reading the rest of it just had to laugh as I love the message and it is certainly an effective message for me, but the immediate next thought was that there are too many simpler minded people out there who won’t understand this ‘complex’ a message and simply be offended but the threat to the ‘poor doggy’ and not be able to get past that image.
    Since we don’t have a technology to stop things from being seen by easily offensible people, I’d be part of the bucket brigade of cold water on you for this.
    Remember that there are many people who buy books just by the cover art, and we do have deal with their limits in real life.

  2. Peris Brodsky's Gravatar Peris Brodsky
    July 29, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    This brought back fond memories of my NatLamp collection, back in the day…

  3. Graeme's Gravatar Graeme
    August 13, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I do not find the dog add in the least offensive.

    I would find the “one finger salute” ad inappropriate if I saw it in a mainstream publication, but acceptable in a context where I expected that sort of thing.

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