Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Finally a bit of disclosure

The following is from the official MediaMax blog (not sure why it opens 'Hi MediaMax').

Finally we learn a little of how our files have been inaccessible due to 'operator error'. The posting finally admits it will take 6-8 weeks to recover files. As you may recall I helpfully told MediaMax how to do the calculation on a past blog as it seemed to be beyond them.

It is a shame getting this information disclosed from MediaMax wastes so much time. They have already wasted so much of our time. So how about rolling on billing periods by 6 months as recompense?

TechCrunch article clarifications

Hi MediaMax,

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch recently did some good investigative reporting and released some details about MediaMax and Nirvanix that were supposed to be confidential information for several more weeks.

On August 7th, the following article was posted on TechCrunch. Now that it's public information, we wanted to post the article here, and also add some additional clarification to ease some concerns that have been raised by our customers.


Nirvanix To Challenge Amazon S3

Look for new San Diego-based Nirvanix to launch in the next few weeks. It aims to compete with Amazon's popular S3 storage web service and provide web developers another choice for online storage.

The company, which is affiliated with online storage startup MediaMax (aka Streamload), should also be announcing a $12 million round of financing in the near future. It's not clear exactly how affiliated Nirvanix and MediaMax are, and the company is keeping the specifics of the relationship quiet for now. There has clearly been a technology swap, though, and MediaMax is now using the Nirvanix service to provide the back end of its storage product. Also, former MediaMax CEO Patrick Harr is now running the show at Nirvanix (MediaMax founder Steve Iverson has retaken the CEO spot at MediaMax).

While the company is keeping quiet about the funding and exactly how it's affildiated with MediaMax, they are saying that they'll be filling some of the perceived holes in S3. Hopefully they'll be offering a service level agreement (Amazon doesn't).

MediaMax, meanwhile, has been trying to pull through a hellish technology transition (my guess is it was related to the changeover to Nirvanix) that plagued them earlier this summer. They've moved their corporate blog to a new site, and are talking openly with users about some of the problems they're facing.

Disclosure: I am an investor and on the board of directors of Omnidrive, which is also in the online storage space and can be considered a competitor to MediaMax and Nirvanix.



The article, in some instances is accurate, but it does contain some inaccuracies that need to be clarified. Streamload was split into two entities in July. The consumer online service became "MediaMax" and a second entity, Nirvanix, was founded as a new and separate company. We ("MediaMax") continue to focus on the consumer online storage space (B2C) as we have done for many years. We can't talk about Nirvanix as they are an independent company; however, we can say that we never changed over to Nirvanix, as the article suggested, and are not using their new system now.

In regards to MediaMax's problems mentioned in the TechCrunch article, this was only partially related to the spin-out process. One issue was trying to do too much, too quickly. Over the last six weeks, we completed a new round of financing and corporate spin out, moved MediaMax into a new office, migrated our web application servers to a new hosting provider, consolidated two other data centers, and have been hiring new MediaMax employees to fill in the personnel holes that were created from the split.

In addition to these major projects that were underway (and impossible to reschedule), we were still recovering from the unforeseen storage problem encountered on June 15th. The "storage problem" was a result of operator error in preparation for the data center move. There was no power surge or hacker or failed hard disk or fundamental technological problem or aliens - we just messed up. Fortunately, it was discovered fairly quickly and the data is recoverable.

If you'd like the gory details, here is exactly what happened (we have always enjoyed reading those stories about NASA probes crashing into planets because someone typed + instead of -, but didn't think it would actually be us): We wanted to manually "shrink" part of the storage system and a database that manages files in closed accounts, trash folders, etc. That is, we didn't want to move files that had already been deleted, but not actually removed from disk or the database. Normally an automated process handles this type of task, but because of the move, we thought we could create a manual process to reduce the amount of data we would have to move. And that's what messed up - this new process that should have just taken out the trash, went far beyond what we thought it was doing. Once realized, the process was stopped but significant damage had already been done. So then we started the recovery; the "shrink project" failed and we just ended up moving the entire database anyways. So the potential data loss (again, it is being recovered) was due to the most common cause for data loss: operator error.

To prevent this from ever happening again, we have put in place an even more rigorous code review process for any project that has a potential for affecting customer data like this.

So, that's the short story behind the story in the TechCrunch article. Spin off done, and data recovery is in progress. We have brought in as many additional resources as possible to help accelerate recovery, but it will still take an additional 6-8 weeks.

Over the years, maintaining the ever growing infrastructure to run MediaMax has become a distraction from our core business - to build the absolute best-of-class consumer storage applications. With this new corporate structure, we can fully focus on MediaMax.

We appreciate your support and patience and we'll continue to update you here.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a pack of bastards. For about 2 months they've known what went wrong but they kept us thinking our files might be available 'any day now'. In the mediamax time warp '6-8 weeks' probably means 'never'.

Anonymous said...

Despite requesting account cancallation regarding our company account over a month ago and getting an email stating -

Hi David,

Thank you for your email. I understand you'd like to cancel. We just hate to see folks cancel. We've made huge strides in bringing service back up to speed just this weekend. Since we transferred the data to Chicago from San Diego, things have been a little slow. Just as soon as the final kinks are ironed out here shortly, I'm certain you'll be happily surprised.

I'd like to make one last attempt to retain you as a customer. Can I persuade you to give us another shot with one free month?

If that doesn't sound like something you'd like to consider, just let me know and happily cancel your account.

Thank you kindly.

Best regards,
Esteban

I was suspicious as they never actually acknowledged that the account was cancelled and our credit card details removed from the account.

I have now just been informed our card was charged for 0n the 25th July.

This is theft.

I have just sent Mediamax the following email -

I would suggest you do your homework and you will see that I have already had this email some time ago.

No I'm not interested in your offer as the service never works, why would I want three months of something that never works.

What I do want is a refund of the monies you have taken for the last year where Mediamax has not worked.

I also want confirmation that our account is actually cancelled as per your ticket number - #DJX-17703-839 almost a month ago.

Please credit our credit card with a year's refund, remove our credit card details from the account, and acknowledge that you have cancelled the account and will no longer be billing us.

If these steps are not taken, you will leave us no option but to consider legal action.

Username - **********

Don't send me this email again, just do what I am asking.

Dave.

Anonymous said...

Mediamax need to stop telling lies for a start.

This isn't about the mythical 6-8 weeks of downtime.

It hasn't worked since August 06, and by my calculations, that's 52 weeks of downtime.

WillTRiker said...

While I understand MM unwillingness to disclose that they've screwed up royally ... again ... from customer perception it would have been far better if they had told us from the beginning.

I sure hope MM has given themselves a WIDE margin for error as up till now meeting deadlines is not exactly their forte (I wish I was joking here). I also hope this recovery process goes alongside the other things they need be fix, because 8 weeks of waiting only to see files restored without any other developments would be rather dissapointing indeed.

Anonymous said...

"...this new process that should have just taken out the trash, went far beyond what we thought it was doing."

In other words...WE TRASHED YOUR FILES.

I won't be holding my breathe to ever see my files again.

MIKE said...

I am so glad I cancelled my account.

Anonymous said...

So - yet another stupid 'human error' mistake at Mediamax. They are serial offenders! They don't learn. They won't change. According to various blogs they have been making stupid mistakes for about 2 years. They will go on making mistakes and cheating people because they are stupid, lying, thieves. Thats not just my anger speaking. It's a fact. They could not dispute it in a court of law. They are taking money for a service that they simply do not provide.

Peebs said...

Something resembling the truth has popped up!

Oh dear files, how I shall miss thee! Let me count the ways.

Sarcasm aside, I'm glad I reported my credit card as lost just so MM wouldn't charge me for a service that I can't use. I knew that it would be nearly impossible to get that money back from them because 1) they don't reply to e-mails sent to support and 2) they don't reply to e-mails sent to billing.

Now my account says 'out of downloads' but that's okay. I will never trust another online storage "business" to keep their word, answer e-mails and keep their service working.

My only comfort in all this is that karma has a way of coming back to bite you in the behind. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Over the last couple of days I have been in contact with Mediamax in order to get back some of the money we have paid over the last year, and to get confirmation that our account is finally closed after requesting closure over a month ago.

This is the latest email.

*******************************

Hello David,

Thanks for writing. My apologies for Esteban's miscommunication. I have closed your account, blacklisted your credit cards and refunded your payments for the last two months. I can't refund for the entire year because you were able to use the account except for the last two months as our records show below. You were also previously compensated for on January 5th of this year for a month's worth of service.

Best Regards,

John Hood

Download Credits - *******


Valid Dates Size Used
7/24/2007 - 8/24/2007 50000 0
6/24/2007 - 7/24/2007 50000 190
5/24/2007 - 6/24/2007 50000 5395
4/24/2007 - 5/24/2007 50000 9393
3/24/2007 - 4/24/2007 50000 12202
2/24/2007 - 3/24/2007 50000 12272
1/24/2007 - 2/24/2007 50000 7825
12/24/2006 - 1/24/2007 50000 6131
11/24/2006 - 12/24/2006 50000 15896
10/24/2006 - 11/24/2006 50000 9100
9/24/2006 - 10/24/2006 50000 4437
8/24/2006 - 9/24/2006 51024 419
8/24/2006 - 9/24/2006 50000 3783
7/24/2006 - 8/24/2006 51024 1733
6/24/2006 - 7/24/2006 51024 1578
5/24/2006 - 6/24/2006 51024 2263
4/24/2006 - 5/24/2006 51024 2313
3/24/2006 - 4/24/2006 51024 12
2/24/2006 - 3/24/2006 51024 16
1/24/2006 - 2/24/2006 100 0
1/24/2006 - 2/24/2006 51024 2579



**********************************

My Response to the above email -

John,

Unfortunately we weren't able to use the account with any consistency as Mediamx has not worked properly for a year.

Now, if I pay for a service I expect that service to work for the month I have paid for, not for 2 days out of every month as has been the case with Mediamax.

I know this to be a fact as I have just cancelled my home account with you and I have checked everyday to see when files have been streaming from your hosting on both my home account and this work account.

Now by your calculations, we had available a total of 1008292 to use, yet we have only used a total of 97537, I wouldn't expect us to use the full amount, but considering our website gets 11 million visitors a year I would expect the figure to be much higher that what it is.

This means that over a period of 21 months we have only used 9.7% of the capacity that was available to us, and only 13.8% of what has been available over the last year.

The reason the figure is low is because Mediamax hasn't worked for a year and is still not working now.

Considering you have credited us now with a total of three months, that still leaves 9 months where we have paid and you have not delivered the service you advertise.

By my book this means we are still owed some money.

Now you have two choices -

1) You can either workout what we have used since August 06 (which = 601024 - 83260 = 517764 unused/unavailable) when Mediamax died and charge us pro rata and refund whatever is left, minus the three months already refunded.

2) We escalate the case and begin legal proceedings against Mediamax.

I would suggest you get your Customer Services department in line John and get them all singing from the same song sheet, it would appear Esteban is forever giving out the wrong information, he either doesn't appear to be very good at his job, or the script he works off is wrong.

I await your response.

Dave

Anonymous said...

Apparently the CEO of Mediamax has let his phone number slip -

Call Steve Iverson at his extension.
The number is 619.233.9914 extension 21

hector said...

You know what "anonymous" says is right. It is theft. I had the service for close to a year or more. I was barely able to use it. I am trying to cancel now and all they do is offer me extra months. It is "Supposedly" cancel, but my account still shows that they're going to charge my card next month.

Not Good.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know if someone is actually taking legal action? I have lost nearly all my files, over a 1000 files, some of them were the only copy I had. It says all over their website that they guarantee 100% safe storage and no data loss. Even now, after all this, they are still advertising the same.

Why the hell should I pay for a service that hasn't been working for months and has thrashed my files?? Is someone actually getting free months?

Peebs said...

I just tried looking at my files ('cause I can't download them) and I get a screen telling me update my payment information. So I click on the File Manager tab and I get the same screen.

I can't even look at my own bloody files anymore! I sent them another e-mail (the fourth one) to the billing department. I am seriously considering contacting the Better Business Bureau to get this taken care of. If that doesn't work, I can easily contact the State's attorney. This charging us for a service we can't use and haven't been able to use for months now is really getting out of hand.

JD said...

When they have a data loss at june 15
we are now 2 months from that point. Suppose they can recover minimal 1 Mb per second then they could have recovered 5060Gb by now.
My account is blocked because my card has expired, I am not getting any response at all from support or billing or Steve Iverson himself. I was also offered free downloads to which I responded what use would they provide if the service doesn't work and the forums which provide the content are dying out. Still waiting.
About the financials, either block your card details, report fraud to the credit card company. The only ones who might get a reaction from mm are the ones who threaten to cancel. Please also try to write to magazines, reviews on the net about. Publicity will help to put the pressure on mm to improve on communication and service, the more the better

Anonymous said...

Everyone needs to stop paying them for this service.Thats the only way they will fix things.STOP GIVING THEM YOUR MONEY

Mark said...

It has been interesting reading these comments and my experience has been very similar to those mentioned and I too have also gone through similar emotions expressed depending on which side of the bed I got out of this morning. Mediamax is not a source of back up for me I still have my original files but it is more a source/ease of distribution and as 500 of the 1500 of them are "missing" I have been doing a bit of "lateral" thinking and came up with a plan that meant that I didn't have to wait another 8 weeks for them to find/retrieve my missing files(I first contacted "Support" on June 18th about the "Missing")
I could just upload new copies of the "missing" files to another "new" mediamax account and work from that. Simple or so i thought until I tried it. Set up a new (1st free) account was fine and upload a new mp3 of myself also worked fine so i eagerly started to upload the "missing" files but unfortunately none that had previously been uploaded to mediamax (to my other account) would work although they would get processed and show and be able to be moved to the hosted folder they would still be unavailable to download, thinking it was to do with the name of the file I did the same again with the same file renamed, but the result was still the same so i would assume that "mediamax" are recognising something deeper in the file , I even tried it from a different computer IP address . I have asked "support" for clarification because from my point of view if I needed to re-tag or do something to my mp3s and videos I would be happy to do it because I could do them all in 24hours. I haven't had a response to the last 3 emails not even the standard "no need to reply...."
Frustration is the word but I am reluctant to "throw the baby out with the bath water" It has been a "muck up" It has been very badly handled , PR is appalling , and the indifference shown is outrageous, however if the "missing" could be sorted really quickly it could still all come good in the end but my unsuceessful experience of the re uploading the "missing" from a seperate PC to a new account makes me think that there is still things we are not being told !

Luzo Orbit said...

Hi Mark,

We did manage to get to the bottom of the problem you refer to. If the same file exists anywhere on Mediamax, even with a different name, uploading a new version won't replace it. The only solution so far is to change something in the file so the checksum will be different. See the 31 July entry included in this blog entry:
http://mediamaxusers.blogspot.com/2007/08/is-there-mediamax-cover-up.html

So basically you cannot replace missing files unless you first edit them to change something. I have the same problems with missing mp3s. I keep checking back to one that has been inoperable for months and was re-uploaded. It still doesn't work, which suggests either I am towards the end of the list of files being processed in '6-8 weeks' or that is, indeed, a load of rubbish.

Luzo Orbit said...

Further to that, Mark. I'm using another service to host my mp3s now. It is http://www.box.net/

Mark said...

Hi Luzo Orbit
Thanks for the info you have confirmed what I suspected but didn't know enough about it ! I have looked at http://www.box.net/
as an alternative and it does seem very easy too use and I signed up very quickly however if I do decide on that route i will have to change the urls of 1500 files and I'd rather not do that. I am investigating ways of changing the checksum of the mp3 easily to make it unrecognizable (to mediamax)as a previously loaded file and if I can do that with the minimum of effort i can upload them all again without having to change anything else I will let you know what happens when I get a result. I'm on a mission :-)

Anonymous said...

This morning I got four...count em....four....THATS FOUR emails from the Rip Off....Ooops, Mediamax Billing Department asking me to update my Credit Card details.

This is despite the fact that I still cant get my .flv files and Mediamax hasn't worked for a year,
and to top it all I'm now out of downloads!

John Hood...I hope your still listening....?

It's turning in to a bit of a farce now isn't it, still taking peoples money and not giving anything back.

I would say it's just a matter of time before someone has you up in court.

Ohh and by the way...Hell will have to freeze over before I give you my Credit Card details again.

Dave.

Aoi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peebs said...

I have lodged a complaint through the BBB's website asking them to settle this for me. It occurred to me that not paying the monthly $9.95 and still "having" 24Gb this month of August for bandwidth, I couldn't download any of my files even if I could because everytime I go to my account they ask me for credit card info. And because I'm getting this phantom bandwidth, Mediamax will take me to collections. They are scared now that we don't want to pay our monthly fees.

I would suggest to all of you to go through the Better Business Bureau first. If that doesn't work, somebody somewhere in this world will get a class lawsuit (is that what it's called) against Mediamax. It's bound to happen.

Anonymous said...

Luzo orbit. I'll save you the trouble and delete most of my message myself. Mediamax are a bunch of xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxx xxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxx xx xxxxxxxxx xxx xxxxxx x xxxxxxx crooks.

Beau said...

They've having massive problems, but they havent posted a message on their blog since the 13th! Are they about to do a 'midnight runner'? Something tells me I better download every file I can still recover.

Mark said...

Mission Accomplished!
For those of you that don't want to wait another 6-8 weeks for MM to re-instate your "Inaccessable" files:
Luzo had said this "If the same file exists anywhere on Mediamax, even with a different name, uploading a new version won't replace it."
I had found this out too as I have my files at this end and use MM purely to distribute them.
Luzo pointed me in this direction
"The only solution so far is to change something in the file so the checksum will be different. See the 31 July entry included in this blog entry:
http://mediamaxusers.blogspot.com/2007/08/is-there-mediamax-cover-up.html"

Well I got stuck in and after several botched efforts I found that all you need to do is change a couple of tags. In my case I changed the artist and album tags (which were previously blank) and they uploaded and processed with no trouble whatsoever,
however I did have to upload in smaller (20-50) batches as something kept crashing but that could have been a dodgy file at my end!
I tried allsorts with fancy mp3 utilities but in the end simply changing those tags with Musicmatch did the trick and I did 1000 in one go.
This worked easily for me as all my Mp3s are of me anyway so changing the tag info to Mark/My folder is irrelevant but other info/tags I assume will work as well.
Hope this helps but mail me mark@guitar.gg if you need further info

Anonymous said...

Class action lawsuit, anyone?

I'm serious - Mediamax needs to pay for their scams.

Anonymous said...

I'd be down with a class action lawsuit. I never used the service that much because 1) it was either too slow or 2) it never worked

Anonymous said...

Mediamax will Never get their act together, I have been a customer since 2002 decided to cancel after they doubled the amount that I usually pay each month and then DOUBLE billing that amount to my checkcard effectively overdrawing my bank account. This wasnt the first time they have overcharged me but it is definately the last time.

ML said...

RIP OFF ALERT, upload all you want but we'll hold any file hostage over 10 mb until you UPGRADE

You're attempting to download a file greater than 10MB.Need to download files greater than 10MB? Click here to upgrade your subscription and get unlimited file size downloads.