What’s wrong with Squarespace Support?

In moving my blog to Squarespace 6 I’ve had a lot of contact with their support service. They are ‘just ok’. Yes, they have the usual boilerplate, “so glad you contacted us” and “i think I understand why this is important to you.” Ok, ok. Enough cut and paste.

The problem is that they are probably pretty junior and used to answering easy questions. But when they get at all subtle or maybe even pointing to a bug, they are lost in the woods and give you useless help. But that’s not the  biggest problem.

The biggest problem is that there’s no continuity. Each part of the support email ‘conversation’ is answered by some random other person. And while they probably make a good will effort to maintain continuity, it happens constantly that the new person doesn’t understand what came before and gives you a non-sequitur answer.

Now I have nothing to compare them to, for example, what does blogger.com give in support (probably nothing) and what does wordpress.com give in support? (probably nothing.)

Squarespace: What’s a comment spam filter to you?

You may have noticed that this Blog is now hosted on SquareSpace. I’ve been pretty happy with it so far. While it is kind of a closed system, there are extensive customization features that allow me to get pretty much what I want.

And their support is 24×7 and very responsive. Although not necessarily always helpful. Note that I am not the first to observe this. Joannes Vermorel’s Blog says:

“The feedback from the Squarespace support has always two properties:

  • Extremely fast, my tickets are addressed within minutes.
  • Extremely useless, canned answers constantly suggest trivial but vastly unsatisfying solutions.” (from Joannes Vermorel’s Blog)

But this post is about comment spam. One of the key requirements I had was that the new blog service would have comment spam filtering.

What is comment spam filtering? There are spammers out there that write a script that just runs through all your posts and write comments on them, with URLs pointing back to their site. It’s a pretty standard way of manipulating search rankings and driving traffic to your site.

While SquareSpace insists, and seems to believe that they have comment spam filtering, it doesn’t work at all. I noticed by the way, that I am not the first to observe this. Joannes Vermorel’s Blog also says:

“Yesterday for the 10th time or so, I have been sending a ticket to Squarespace – the company hosting this very blog – support to improve their abysmal spam filter (inexistent actually) for blog comments.

This is rather frustrating esperience to delete about 10 spam comments on a daily basis just because Squarespace can’t manage to do things right in this area. Worse, people have been quitting Squarespace for years for this very reason – spam comment being the No1 reason quoted for the change.” (from Joannes Vermorel’s Blog)

Yes I could password protect or IP filter my comments. But if I want to allow people to easily add comments I open the door to comment spam.

As I write this I am manually deleting hundreds of identical comments, each from the same site, each with the same title and text. Clearly SquareSpace’s spam filter isn’t doing its job eh?

Welcome to my new blog

So after some trouble porting the content I am now running my blog on Squarespace. My main motivation is to get out of the server management business and also clean up my messier and messier self-hosted WordPress.

Jury is still out whether this will be a keeper but for the moment I am happy and really like the fresher look of the blog compared to the previous incarnation. I will certainly keep you posted!

[GEEKY] Possible Decision to move to SquareSpace

I finally got my new blog on WordPress.com working. That should have been the simplest but their automatic spam detector encountered a single post referencing some free iPhone upgrade service I once mentioned. I had no idea that they were not legitimate at the time but anyway, I deleted that mention and all was well again.

So now WordPress.com looks like a good candidate. I know wordpress and I can run my blog, essentially unaltered on their site, for free, and ditch my $25/month server that does almost nothing other than serve up my blog.

Oh but there’s a fly in the ointment. WordPress.com does not allow me to keep my TextLinkAds. And I make over $100 per month on those so there goes the ‘free’ aspect of wordpress.com. It turns out that squarepspace.com has no so restriction, so they are once more in the lead.

Just wanted to update you … and have an excuse to post so I can see how I like this squarespace.com which at $12/month seems like a pretty good alternative just about now. Right now I am waiting to see whether I will be able to import my whole (6 years) of wordpress posts, while preserving the urls so my link juice and ad revenue does’t evaporate on me. I am optimistic.

[GEEKY] Moving away from self-hosted salas.com blog

Running my own Linux server has lost it’s sex appeal. Now I am going for simplicity and so I am exploring simply not having my own server but using one of the several cloud services. It turns out that there are lots of little bumps in the road to move from one to the other:

  • I like Tumblr. But there are no good ways to move from WordPress to Tumblr. Worse, when you move from one to the other, you have to deal with images yourself, in other words, Tumblr doesn’t let you upload your embedded images into their service. Hence I would not be able to Kill my old www.salas.com server.
  • Posterous looks interesting. That’s what you are looking at here. They imported my whole old blog apparently without a problem. But: they don’t have an API that BlogBridge works with (yet) and my other favorite posting app, Marsedit doesn’t support their apis either.
  • WordPress.com is another option that I am still exploring. They accepted the whole thing on from my old salas.com blog, but then promptly smacked it down because their algorithms decided that it contained spam or other badness. So it’s currently in pergatory. Still pursuing that one.
  • SquareSpace: did a very nice job importing my stuff and seems to do a nice job in general. But it is not free. Looks like about $12 per month. Well right now I am paying around $25 per month so it’s less but still, not free.

So you see my friends, things are never simple… I will keep you posted.