Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The file backup service that never was: Mediamax is closing

This is from the unofficial users blog for The Link Up, the successor to Mediamax.

Those checking back to the official The Link Up blog for an update on the 29 June posting (which said the site was down for maintenance, though it was already back up), will have been shocked at the post today, 9 July 2008: "Mediamax / The Linkup is closing". The full post is included below.

The post states: "It was not possible to satisfactorily complete the move of files from MediaMax to The Linkup as we had expected, and as a result cannot offer a service that meets your expectations and our business requirements. This is a very disappointing outcome for us, and we know it has been a frustrating experience for many of our customers."

I would imagine it is frustrating for all customers who have until 8 August to download any files that have not already been lost by this company or were deleted with little or no notice when the switchover to The Linkup began in April.

So far there is no indication of whether those of us paying annual subscriptions will receive a refund. Personally my last payment was in March 2008 and my hosted links have not worked since the switch over in April. This is despite the fact that Mr. John Hood, communications director, posted here on 4 July in response to me raising this: "His statement about the TLU supporting links is a half truth. Yes, there were issues with existing links but that's because they the files that were in users hosted section were some of the last to migrate. We OBVIOUSLY still support embedded links." My files turned up in The Linkup long ago, but still the hosted links don't work. My podcast has fallen silent (and I've given up on it for now in frustration, thanks John), as have other streams.

I first began a blog on Mediamax because of lack of response from customer support when files went missing en masse. Comments were disabled on the official blog, so the idea was people could leave their comments on the users blog instead. It was called: "Mediamax - we need you!" and was an appeal for the company to engage with customers and address the problems.

For a while there was some productive discussion, or so it seemed. But then the transfer to The Linkup was sprung on us, a system still in beta. Those with free accounts on Mediamax were told with a week's notice or no notice at all that their accounts would be closed and all files deleted.

The transfer was a disaster, with a scheduling tool quickly abandoned and the promise that our files would all be transferred by the company. But for many, files have still not appeared. We were told hosted links would be maintained until December 2008. Mine have never worked, despite John's claim that OBVIOUSLY they are supported.

The only good news was that the official The Linkup blog allowed comments and so this one fell silent as many of us left our reports of system failures and appeals for help there. It felt like we were talking into a void, however. Now the comments there have all been deleted.

So The Linkup will soon be no more. Hopefully the warning at the top of this blog suggesting those thinking of signing up to The Linkup wait to see if it resolves its problems will have saved some people their money and the heartbreak many posters here report as family photos and important documents they thought they had backed up are lost forever.

I am sure the closure of The Linkup was not the outcome most people on this blog wanted. We wanted clear communication, a working system and either lost files back or at least an admission that they were gone forever and some form of compensation. Waiving of fees for those of us who have forked out good money for nothing would have been nice.

It seems, however, that it is easier for The Linkup to dump its historic customers.

Perhaps those involved will resurface in another guise promising secure storage and many other things. As it has failed to deliver or honour these commitments in the past, I would be loathe to trust it again. We can have no confidence this team will not be as incompetent in future.

It may not only be the desire to escape historic commitments that has brought about the closure. As has been mentioned in comments here, people were finding the files of strangers turning up in their accounts. While the terms and conditions may protect the company from losing files, breaking the security of personal data is perhaps a more serious issue as it is regulated by legislation in many countries, including, no doubt, the US. Perhaps it is the real risk of customers finding their personal information being abused that has prompted the company to pull the plug.

It is sad to see that the company blames others instead of looking at its own failings. John Hood said he disabled comments on the official blog, not because he didn't want to respond to the comments, but because : "the blog was full of bickering between posters and people spreading half truths. to say there a lot of sharing of information is a joke." See:
http://thelinkupusers.blogspot.com/2008/07/john-hood-disabled-comments.html

In what he billed as his 'last post' just last Friday in a comment on that entry, there was a portent of the imminent closure as he attempted to blame me for running this blog: "My point here is that he's not trying to do anything constructive here. He's just here to try to bring TLU down." He falsely claimed I had never contacted the company. I have the emails to prove it and left comments on the official blog, though John has deleted those.

Mr. Hood wrote: "Don't hide under the pretense that you're trying to provide a forum where people can get information."

Well, it has been no pretense. I hope this blog and its predecessor has provided a useful service. Certainly there has been a lot of information sharing going on. You wouldn't know from the official blog that wayward files have been turning up in other people's accounts, for example. This blog may even help the owners to be found. The Mediamax blog had a series of very useful posting, in my opinion, such as sharing information on file recovery progress.

So farewell to The Linkup. Good luck for whatever your people do next - I sincerely hope it has nothing to do with file storage or customer service. Oh, and please, at the very least, refund our fees.

Here then is the posting from the official blog telling us our files are soon to be deleted forever. See:
a href="http://tlublog.blogspot.com/2008/07/mediamax-linkup-is-closing.html:

---
MediaMax / The Linkup is closing

We regret to inform you that we will be closing The Linkup service on Friday, August 8 at 5:00 pm PDT.

The Linkup is no longer accepting any uploads or new accounts, and no further charges will be made to your credit card. After August 8, your account will not be accessible, all your personal information will be deleted (username, billing information, history, etc), and your files will be deleted. Please download any files that are in your account that you wish to keep before Friday, August 8 at 5:00 pm PDT.

It was not possible to satisfactorily complete the move of files from MediaMax to The Linkup as we had expected, and as a result cannot offer a service that meets your expectations and our business requirements. This is a very disappointing outcome for us, and we know it has been a frustrating experience for many of our customers.

We are very sorry that we have not been able to rebuild our service as we had envisioned. We sincerely appreciate those of you who stuck by us and held out hope for the return of a great service, and apologize that things did not work out better. And also a special thanks and apology to those developers who have been developing applications on The Linkup API that can no longer be supported.

Sincerely,
The Linkup Team
---

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

i am totally fucked up by this fucking company...a piece of shit.

Anonymous said...

Steve Iverson is in the process of declaring bankruptcy for the company so forget getting a refund.The shutdown of the site is due to the migration of files that another company was handling.Plus the income issues.With so many folks cancelling it was hard to maintain the company

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm delighted, overjoyed, ecstatic. They got what's coming...

No company can provide such an appalling service and stay afloat. The fact that they couldn't learn from past errors was the deciding factor. I left Hood a post asking if he was fearful that, given their past record, this final upgrade to TLU would be an unmitigated disaster. He responded with a breezy refutation. But everything I predicted in that post came true.... and then a hell of a lot more! Given their history, why didn't they build a 3 month buffer zone into their own deadlines - then they might have survived. The only thing stopping them was self-delusion and arrogance.

On top of that, the Link Up was a mess. I sent customer support a message asking them what exactly it was for, where were the features we were used to, and what in Christ's name had any of it to do with social networking. I got a form letter back 6 weeks later explaining nothing. I'd stopped using it. It didn't make any sense. Nothing was user-friendly or intuitive. And it was completely stripped bare of the bells and whistles (or even basic functions) that made Streamload a joy to use. Remember those witty little messages when the Streamload system was processing a command? It seems quite a while ago now...

Anyway, damn them all. Unemployment is what they deserve. Having Mediamax or TLU on their CVs will hopefully mean that they never work again. They've caused us endless grief, and occasionally jeopardized our jobs with their incompetence.

So, thank the Lord that its all finally gone under. We can stop hoping and move on. I'm beginning to feel a whole lot calmer already.....

AndaD.

Melody said...

None of my files were transferred, at least you can still download them. I really wish someone would sue his ass.

AnthonyG said...

Luzo, thanks for providing a way for users to comment on TLU and its predecessors. I'm sorry it's ended. I loved Streamload, and built a wonderful collection of radio programs kindly made available by others. I never entrusted my files to any online service so have lost nothing, except the chance to download and share more programs in future. So here's hoping a decent succesor comes along with a proper business model that makes it possible for us to get a good deal and them to make a reasonable living out of it so that they can provide good customer support.

Viper1259 said...

For those of us who have paid annual fees, we should keep in touch here about refunds. If we don’t here back from TLU/Mediamax, we should file a class action lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Yes, definitely time to start thinking about a lawsuit or at least filing a claim with the bankruptcy court.

evangelmike said...

Greetings! I had just paid $99.95 for another year of Streamload back in April 2008. Perhaps there is some way we can all get refunds. Please feel free to contact me. My contact info:
Name: Michael Fitzpatrick
email: gopatent@msn.com
inventions@juno.com
Phone: 516-414-7930

evangelmike said...

Greetings! I had just paid $99.95 for another year of Streamload back in April 2008. Perhaps there is some way we can all get refunds. Please feel free to contact me. My contact info:
Name: Michael Fitzpatrick
email: gopatent@msn.com
inventions@juno.com
Phone: 516-414-7930

evangelmike said...

Greetings! I had just paid $99.95 for another year of Streamload back in April 2008. Perhaps there is some way we can all get refunds. Please feel free to contact me. My contact info:
Name: Michael Fitzpatrick
email: gopatent@msn.com
inventions@juno.com
Phone: 516-414-7930

July 22, 2008 10:51 PM

Anonymous said...

Media max and all those who DID NOT WARN ME AT ALL should DIE!!! I'm pissed! I lost a lot of important files, WITHOUT WARNING!! ARGH!! I want my stuff back. HISS >:^/ PISSED PISSED PISSED!! That's the G rated version.