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Otto Responder Loses A Friend

A few weeks ago, I decided to change my Web Hosting company.

Big mistake. Will I *ever* learn?

My new Host came highly recommended. Their Website Copy was so easy to understand, that even a lunkhead like me could follow it.

Signing up was simplicity itself, and they quickly informed me that they would make the necessary request to have my Domain name transferred.


Enter Internic!

Remember them? The soul-less monster that refuses to make it easy to do business with them?

Into my mailbox dropped a gibberishly written document.

No problem. It only took me 10 minutes to translate it and I finally worked out that I had to approve the request to move my Domain to a new Host.

Simplicity itself. The translation read .....

*If you agree with the request, as it has been submitted please enter Y or YES or if you disagree, please enter N or NO (to the right of".........:" ) in item 0a*

Trouble was, there were TWO 0a's and I was told to only enter once.

So I guessed.

Mistake number 2!

Whoosh! Into my mailbox lands the identical form, written in the same gibberish. No explanation of course!

It was from Otto Responder. You may remember I wrote about him a while ago.

So this time I entered Y in the other box.

Whoosh. Back came Otto again. Still no explanation.

But this time he asked me to *enter A(or ACK) or N (or NAC) to the right of item Oa*

So I guessed again.

Whoosh. This time enter Smart Otto with the same request

And so on... And so on... And so on!

By this time I was rather upset. Actually, I was sobbing!

Knowing that you should never send an email in a distraught state, I paced the floor for a few minutes and sat down again.

With trembling fingers I cleared away the clumps of hair from my keyboard, and typed out an email....

Subject: 'Human Help Please.'

Whoosh. You've got it. There was Otto, sat in my in-tray with a sarcastic smirk on his face.

*This is an automatic reply from Network Solutions to acknowledge that your message has been received. Blah, blah, and more 'Techie' blah!*

2 days later I telephoned Internic.

Over 3000 odd miles of sub-Atlantic fiber optic cables, my cry for human help sped at the speed of light.

For 3 minutes I negotiated the voice mail box before being connected to the correct department

Then the 'phone went dead!

"Rather unfortunate" I thought. Or words to that effect.

Tried again.

Another 3000 miles of instantaneous data transfer. Isn't modern technology wonderful? Another 3 minute War Game. Then a female robot informed me that the queuing time was 84 minutes. 84 minutes??? Click.

24 hours later I nervously made another attempt.

Hands shaking, upper lip twitching, voice trembling and hollow eyes misted over, I fumbled with the phone key pad.

I survived 3 minutes of psycological warfare before being informed there was a 6 minute queue. Only 6 minutes! I was elated.

Then a female robot greeted me. "Oh no, please. Not again" I sobbed. Then the robot greeted me again! "Funny I thought, a robot that talks back".

She was actually a human being. But as it turned out, she had less personality than Otto.

I told her my story.

No feedback, no empathy, no "I'm really sorry to hear that Mr. Robson, come and cry on my shoulder, because this has never happened to anyone else!"

"Your tracking number?"

Stupidly, I tried to break the ice with a smart quip ...

"I have 11 to choose from. Which one would you like?"


"Your tracking number?"


So I guessed.

Mistake number 4 was greeted with 20 seconds of silence.

"This request cannot be processed"

"Why not?"

"The incorrect Request Form has been submitted"

"Now what"

"Submit the correct Request Form, and it will be processed".

That was the moment when I finally decided to stand up for the rights of every Internic customer. (Did I say customer?)

You've got it. I groveled!

"Will you please check this *first* tracking number"? and I blurted out Otto's first number.


"Your request will be processed sometime today".

No explanation, no apology. Just silence.

I was stunned and elated.

"Do I have your word that everything will be completed today?"

"Your request will be processed sometime today".

I was so delighted, I actually *thanked* her!

Sure enough, that evening my new Host did me proud, and everything was up and running. I had terrific stats, unlimited autoresponders, secure server...all the bells 'n whistles.

The only thing left to do was make a couple of entries to have my email redirected .......

Mistake number 5!

But you don't really want to hear about that do you?

You know, life would be so much easier if only everyone else was as perfect as me!

P.S. 8 days later, Otto contacted me again to say that my request for human help was being attended to. Trouble is he forgot to tell the 'humans' because they still haven't responded. They're probably too busy drumming up testimonials for their terrific customer service department.

Copyright 2003 by Joe Robson * All rights reserved

Joe Robson is co-author of 'Make Your Words SELL' with Ken Evoy. Joe and Tom Glander own The Newbie Club which is bulging with unique NET and PC Newbie tutorials and eBooks. CLICK ON OVER to and look at their very professional Affiliate Program. It's BIG! Joe's Copywriting site is at


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