Edited: MDG May Contact Your Customer - Bad for Consultants and Web Developers


#1

Yesterday MDG sent my client this email. I’ve removed the client email, name, and domain for their privacy. MDG pulled the client information from somewhere and contacted them directly, out of the blue.

While I have a Galaxy account, I have my own reasons for not moving my client to Galaxy hosting and given the lake of respect to the developer shown in this email, I may never migrate to Galaxy.

Fortunately my client trusts me and we have worked together for years, but not all clients are like that and as a consultant, I don’t need an overzealous business development rep suggesting to my clients that somehow I’ve made a mistake one their project.

I’ve been using Meteor for about 1.5 years, but given all the recent changes to Meteor, I’m already on the fence about continuing to use the platform. This type of behavior by MDG just serves to drive me farther away. If you are thinking about using Meteor, be careful.

Here is the email my client received:

From: Mark Trang mtrang@meteor.com
Date: August 4, 2016 at 2:26:32 PM MDT
To: 'client email address removed’
Subject: Switch your Meteor app to Galaxy: save time, boost reliability (‘domain name removed’)

Hi ‘Client Name Removed’ - Thanks for using the Meteor framework to build your app at ‘domain name removed’. I’d like to personally invite you to run your app on Galaxy, the only hosting platform designed specifically for apps built using Meteor.

Thousands of customers worldwide trust Galaxy to host their Meteor apps and websites; it’s easy, reliable, and scales effortlessly with your business. Galaxy is also built and supported by the expert engineers behind the Meteor framework itself. Many companies have switched to Galaxy due to poor experiences with other providers like Modulus due to their lack of reliability and support.

If you signup for Galaxy using promo code SWITCHTOGALAXY and we’ll make sure your first 512MB Galaxy server is free through the end of August! Galaxy is a pay-as-you-go service starting at $1 per day; there’s no contract lock-in so you can cancel anytime. If you have questions not covered in the Galaxy FAQ, I’d be happy to answer them.

Hope to see your app running on Galaxy!

/Mark

P.S. If you’re not the person responsible for (domain name removed), please forward this email to the person or team who built the app and we’ll help them migrate to Galaxy!


Frankly, this email pissed me off and I have a lot more I’d like to say, but I want to show MDG more respect than I feel they showed me as a developer, so I will end this message here.

Charles McKeever
Web Developer & Independent Consultant


#2

Wow. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, MDG reaches a new low.

Any theories as to how MDG obtained your client’s information in the first place?


#3

Based on the email used, I’m guessing they referenced the public DNS records using a whois lookup.


#4

This appears to be a salesperson doing what salespeople do: selling things. MDG presumably wants everyone who uses Meteor to also use Galaxy, since Galaxy is what funds Meteor development. If you think that sales is predatory, your business is rather precarious. You say yourself your client is happy and trusts you - so presumably contact like this is of no threat to you. How exactly did MDG wrong you or your client?

Disclaimer: I don’t work for or with MDG, just clicked click-bait title and was disappointed with the content.


#5

Thanks for sharing your opinion. I don’t agree with you. The title of the post is not click-bait. It is a legitimate concern from someone who has been an avid fan of the platform, but doesn’t appreciate having his clients contacted by the parent company ( MDG ). Consultants and developers work hard to build relationships with clients, and not for the benefit of MDG. The fact that they snooped out the details to contact my customer is in poor taste.


#6

Soliciting a distributor’s client without prior consent is a troubling practice. I’ll leave it at that.


#7

They probably did it progmatically and had no idea. Should you assume WHOIS data is a distributor’s client? I feel their sales team is acting in good faith here.

But to be fair, if you already set up your infrastructure and aren’t on galaxy, you probably aren’t going to want to put even more time into switching over. Unless your site gets super popular and you can’t scale as fast as meteor can.


#8

My guess is they did not get the email address from WHOIS, but if they did, that is public info. Are you sure your client at sometime did not register for a Meteor Account? In any case, this is not a “predatory business practice”, but just standard sales operations in the high tech business world. I know as I’ve been a VP of Sales at multiple software companies including a large public company. Jeez relax! I get 50 of these type of emails everyday.


#9

It doesn’t matter if they were acting in good faith or not. The letter implies the client is using a suboptimal solution, and MDG alone can fix it. I’m too busy to detail concerns about potential ethical and privacy surrounding harvesting client data.
A smarter way would been to introduce something akin to an affiliate program for integrators like @codewords . How this for click bait:
“Integrators: Bring your client to Galaxy, earn % of the sale, and your client gets X months of the service for free. Win-win-win”.

This is marketing 101.


#10

If it is public data it is fair game. Sending an automated marketing email like this is standard practice in the high tech sales world and has been for the 20+ years of my career.

I believe MDG already offers approved partners a discount program for Galaxy that they can resell to their clients.

In any case, there is nothing “predatory” or “potentially unethical” about sending this email. You guys are way off base.


#11

Thank you, but I disagree. I am MDG’s customer. My customer is my customer. If had known that MDG would automatically or manually track down my customer, I would have never used the platform to begin with. Justify it however you like, it’s not something that sits well with me.


#12

@codewords

I’m in the camp that thinks this title is sensationalist and complete garbage.

“Predatory Business Practices” implies they are operating in an anti-consumer or anti-client way. If you had provided any evidence whatsoever that they violated a privacy agreement or crossed some sort of ethical boundary to be able to send this email then you might be on to something.

What is your specific issue?
That MDG should have known that you developed this app for a client and thus they shouldn’t have sent an email to your client that could contain any pretense of your chosen hosting solution being any worse than the hosting platform they chose?

That MDG should not try to sell things to people using the Meteor platform? Or maybe that MDG should not sell things by targeting people with Meter based apps?

I can see you posting on the google forums too. “GOOGLE Predatory Business practices”

Why the people ask?

Well you see. I use google Google’s adwords on my personal product. And I integrated a different ad platform on a client’s website. And then Google had the GALL to email my client suggesting they use Google adwords. Fricken predators.

Long before Galaxy even had a name, MDG was open about how they would monetize through a hosting platform. If you didn’t think they would sell that platform by targeting people implementing apps with the Meteor stack then you are way too naive.


#13

Adding @marktrang to this thread as his handler is not explicitly mentioned.

Personally, I wouldn’t be upset. It’s a marketing email, to tell your client that there are better hosting options. So the client calls you up and has a conversation with you.

Remember that Meteor is open-source for a reason and we have to be part of MDG’s business plan to make the ecosystem work.


#14

Thanks, funk for trying to make it personal, but I’m not taking that hook. Cheers.


#15

Hi ramez. I’m glad you are not upset. I don’t think telling someone to relax when they express a concern about something is effective as you might think.


#16

So, while I disagree with several commenters on this thread about the ethics of contacting someone’s customers (intentional or otherwise), I did think it reasonable to modify the title of the thread.


#17

@codewords,

I didn’t tell you to relax, I am explaining the other side of the coin.

For instance, did MDG know this was your client and was no-limit? Is this a standard practice they follow with sites / apps who are externally-hosting Meteor? Is it reasonable what they are doing given the platform is for free?


#18

No, you didn’t tell me to relax. That is true. You told me, “I wouldn’t be upset.” and honestly, I’m beyond the state of being upset. I’m disappointed. I shared information with MDG, in the form of signing up for an account, who then used that information to contact my client. I’m also disappointed that others can’t see the issue with this. I don’t have all the details to connect the dots on how this took place, but it did and I don’t approve of the practice. I don’t know if I was the only one, but I think it’s worth bringing up so others can make their own decisions about what it means to them.


#19

Just having a little fun responding to what I saw as trolling with a little trolling of my own. I’m glad you didn’t take the bait. Cheers


#20

Maybe OP shouldn’t have put his client’s information into WHOIS and should’ve bought domain contact information protection-- since after all, it is his client.

If he’s publicly putting his client’s information out there, there’s a possibility of this sort of thing happening.

Privacy is important, and that’s your responsibility to your client.

However, if OP doesn’t actually own his client’s domain, but they’re merely pointing it to MDG’s servers, probably not much he can do about it.