Wanted to document something I come across quite often. People, often from the USA, referring to “overseas”, or “outsourced” technical support as something that is inherently bad. To illustrate that – I included a Reddit discussion – which resulted in me being practically called out for shilling by a moderator. Original link (think my comments have been deleted/censored – a friend I had asked to take a look and tell if I’ve been out of line couldn’t see them).
I’ll let you read the discussion, before giving my thoughts on it. Of course, my posts are under the “bikegremlin” nick, in case it’s not obvious.
1. The Reddit discussion
Posted by u/froddo7
Opening new WordPress website, newbie to WP what hosting to choose?
Hi so I’m opening a new website with my own domain using WordPress. What’s a good hosting service to start with? Should I go with wordpress.com itself? They only have yearly plans it seems.
My budget is around $20 per month. I do have some tech experience with website management but I want hosting company to manage updates etc.
I want control over CSS code but I want access to popular WP themes I can install especially mobile themes, my own ads, branding, WP plugins, and my own domain (no domain.wordpress.com). Some advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Did you check out any of the sidebar hosts? Siteground uses entirely offshores support and the rate you pay doubles after your initial payment. I can’t speak to A2 hosting.
The “and” between the offshores support and the rate increase leads me to conclude you are implying that “offshores support” as something inherently bad?
WordPress.com has a rather good technical support from what I’ve heard (haven’t used the service yet) and I’ve met a guy from my city (Europe, Serbia) who works for them – he is a very good expert.
Siteground’s support is also rather good – can confirm this from my experience. Polite, professional and fix problems quickly.
Neither of the above noted companies is my first choice when it comes to hosting, just using examples to point that hiring people remotely gives a company a choice to get any competent, good quality person from the whole world. Not just those who live in “the right country”, or are willing and able to move a continent away for example.
Also, people staying with their friends and family probably makes them happier – which should be a good thing, even if one is concerned with productivity alone.
Back to the topic, this sums up my thoughts, considerations and recommendations when it comes to hosting:
Your website is full of affiliate links.
My website is free, informative, one I’d like to have had to read when I was starting.
When I recommend a service, IF they offer affiliate program – sure, I use affiliate links. But the affiliate links are not what the website is about. When used, affiliate links are clearly marked as such, by writing just that: “affiliate link”. Think that’s fair.
Do you not see that? Have you read the articles, apart from the affiliate links?
Anyway – are affiliate links the only problem you have with it, or do you think that the linked pages are not helpful and/or relevant?
Would you still post your site it it had no affiliate links?
I haven’t included any affiliate links from the start. It came later, after some advice from a friend, like: “you are giving good quality info for free. Does it harm anyone if you make some money? At what cost to them? None.”
So I added both google ads, in parts of pages that aren’t used – my adsense experiment (no affiliate links on that page).
I also started using affiliate links for services that I like, use and would recommend.
Now, I understand how tricky it can be moderating… anything on the Net.
Don’t want to be causing problems to anyone. As far as I’m concerned, I can stop posting any links (website is not something I make a living out of – this is my philosophy – as far as the website is concerned). Not posting any links would not do me any harm – not that I can think of it. Really.
So – if you think it’s still a problem, fine, no problem. I can stick to reading what is interesting and asking questions on stuff I don’t know. Would reply a lot less, since I don’t like writing same stuff over and over again. Which can be a good thing. While I think most of my articles are good, can’t say the same for my average posts. 🙂
2. My thoughts on website linking
Relatively subjective stuff. First to get this out of the way. I understand how difficult it is to moderate anything on the Internet – whether it is a forum, Facebook group, or a Reddit community. There are millions of people on the Internet, suppose every 1000th one is a nutcase. So when moderating any popular place on the Internet, you are bound to deal with hundreds of difficult, rude people every day. Along with spamers and shills.
I’m also aware that many people are not very objective. So, it could be that my website is a poor quality one, just used for shilling, without me being aware of it. That’s for you to judge.
However, even if that were the case, the links I had posted were:
- relevant to the topic
- helpful and informative – as has often been commented by the people those links were sent as a reply to, by saying things like “thanks, that was helpful”. Doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it?
- 100% free – with no ads flying over the page, making it difficult to read. With each affiliate link posted, clearly marked as such (literally writing: “affiliate link”).
It is also my policy to not recommend services I don’t really think are good. But I’ve explained that in more detail in the above copy/pasted discussion.
That is why I felt it as an injustice to practically be called out for shilling. Twice. By no less than a moderator, who should be setting an example and refraining from getting too personal (I know first hand how difficult it can be).
Unlike WebHostingTalk forum, the Reddit community in question (/webshosting) doesn’t explicitly forbid posting links to one’s own site. Here are the rules on the date of posting this:
This is a place to discuss everything related to Webhosting. From shared hosting to dedicated servers, and everything in between. Post reviews of your current and past hosts, pose questions to the community regarding your needs, or simply offer help to your fellow redditors. And, as always, keep it classy.
Within another post, I’ve discussed the WebHostingTalk forum policy (in the linked chapter 3.2). It is clear and understandable. However, in the /webshosting Reddit community I don’t see shilling that would warrant such policy. While my posts are, in my opinion at least, clearly not that. If moderators wish to make life easier for themselves, sure they could edit the community policy and enforce it. For me personally – it would mean replying a lot less, since I hate writing the same stuff over and over again. I do consider my replies to be helpful to the community, but it’s not up to me to be the judge. Leaving that to other members – and, of course, the moderators. The fact that I think that this particular moderator is out of line is still only my opinion.
OK, rant over. Now to the more objective stuff:
3. Outsourced / overseas support
Note: although trying to be as objective as possible, this is based on my opinions and my experience. Different people have different experiences, so their opinions differ. The most subjective part I can think of in this writing is that I don’t tolerate injustice. Prejudice. Racism, sexism, nationalism and – locationism?
A bit of background:
I happen to have been born (and still live) in Serbia, Europe, planet Earth (hope in the near future this last reference will become relevant as well – in terms of determining location of various humans… and dogs 🙂 ). For decades I have worked in the IT industry, as a systems administrator and technical support. During those times, I’ve worked with many top class experts. Who were also born and many still live in Serbia. You can judge my English from reading this – many of the aforementioned experts are no worse at it.
To the point:
Many people, including hosting experts, are quick to judge experts that come from “overseas” and/or work as “outsourced” technical support / systems administrators. It is often implied (as in the above copy/pasted discussion), though sometimes even explicitly pointed. Instead of saying: “this company has bad technical support”, which is more than fair to point out when it is the case. Many people, some of which are (or advertise themselves as) hosting experts will say: “beware of companies that use overseas/outsourced technical support”.
Do you see the problem there? It gets even worse in terms of racism if, when the claim is challenged, the “justification” is: “oh, I meant the Indians”. Are there no competent people in India – the land I associate with top class mathematicians?!
To be perfectly objective, in Serbia I often hear: “Americans are idiots”. Really?! The land of the brave, frontline pioneers, many technical advancements?! You see a few nonsense YouTube videos and draw a blanket statement based on that?! “Yes, but you saw that video where people interviewed in the street couldn’t name the capital of France.” OK – do you know, without Googling (US company by the way), the capitals of Texas, or California? Are you stupid?
After that digression, back to the point. If you could choose a competent person for the job, does it make sense to limit oneself to only whites, only Swiss citizens, only males? When assembling a team, would you rather be allowed to pick anyone that is good and fits in, regardless of their nationality, gender, skin colour, or religion for that matter? Do you think all the old people are stupid, or all the young people are irresponsible? Does diversity offer new ideas, new insights, different points of view and help make a company better?
Many good experts I’ve worked with make a living by working as “outsourced”, “overseas” hired support, consultants, programmers, systems administrators, or technical support. Using the benefits of the Internet to negate the geo-distances is not just a cost cutting policy. It is a top talent acquiring policy. Another benefit of remote work is that you get to stay with your friends and family – in your home town. No money in the world can compensate for that – at least to many people.
Sure, some companies hire incompetent people (and pay them very little). But the fact a person is “foreigner” doesn’t mean, nor imply they are any worse, just because of their country. Among the people who made remote work possible, are the notable emigrants like Nikola Tesla and Mihajlo Pupin (to note the two from my neighbourhood). In that regard, the disregard of the “outsourced” workers is a bit like going back to the 19th century.
For example – my experience with using the services of SiteGround’s technical support is very good. I don’t care if they work from USA, or Bulgaria, whether they are wearing a dress/suit, or sitting in their pajamas – the support they offer is competent, fast, polite and they get the job done.
Finishing with a link (not my website and not affiliated – 100% no shilling 🙂 ) with this informative read on remote workforce.
P.S. See how I colour coded moderator’s responses in red – in the above copy/pasted discussion? Red implies something wrong/bad. This is also a kind of prejudice inducing propaganda. See how easily it can be abused, without getting noticed?
P.P.S. What do you think?
Was I shilling – was posting the website links out of place?
Is it bad to hire people from “overseas”?