This type of promotion really aggravates me. I'm not just saying this only about the announced GitLab/DigitialOcean partnership, but rather as a general comment as I see this customer acquisition ruse quite a lot elsewhere too.
I spend money with DigitalOcean. I don't feel particularly rewarded for my loyalty when I can't enjoy the same promotion as some new customer, who may never spend another cent with DO.
We’re truly sorry if this came as a surprise.
As of March 2015, we revised our Terms of Service
announcing that we’re no longer able to offer credits
that do not expire, and any unused credit added to your
account more than 12 months ago will expire.
This also creates a perverse incentive to burn the credits in a blaze of glory. I'm restraining myself, but I can only image the headache this will create across all users.
If a siteowner is willing to hand over a data export to archive.org or another archival site they don't have to do that, but not many do.
But I do not wish to sue, as it would just cause me a lot of trouble, and I’d rather spend the money on a hoster I can actually trust. Instead of a hoster violating laws and frauding customers out of their legal credit.
Drop them an email pointing out that they're not complying with the law and ask for your expiration to be extended to the right date.
Odds are customer support will do a quick googling, say "oh crap" and then update the expiration accordingly with a polite sorry note.
Worst of all, I had to pay 5€ actual money to activate the 100€ of promotional credit.
I made a purchase, which contained at the moment that I'd get 100€ of promotional credit for an unspecified time (therefore 3 years), and instead I wasted 5€ on nothing.
EDIT: I should probably just to a chargeback via PayPal.
that is simply not true... Now for DO it might be because they have EU possibly even German Data centers but simply because a Citizen of Germany visits a web site and signs up for a online service does not automatically make german laws apply to that business.
Now it possible you could sue in Germany, the American business would ignore you, and any judgment you got from a German Court would likely be unenforceable in the US
Are you saying this because you are extrapolating from American law regarding whether a company has a 'nexus' within a given state, or perhaps thinking about taxation?
In those specific cases, what you are saying is true, but in general national-level governments do not care that foreign companies are not actually headquartered within their borders. They demand (arrogantly one might say) that all companies doing business with their citizens follow X,Y,Z rules or else they'll try to sanction the company.
Granted if a company is truly foreign then any sanction would be pretty limited in scope.
However, easy sanction is to stop credit card processors and banking agencies from dealing with a foreign company thus stopping your citizens from easily giving them money.
I as an American citizen am in no way bound by German law
For example If I put a website selling digital Nazi Merchandise, and a german citizen buys it, I am in no way violating the German ban on those things because I am not bound by german law, any attempt to enforce germen law upon me would quickly be squashed by American Courts as a violation of my free speech
Now Germany can forbid it citzens from going to my site, it can attempt to have that site blocked from Germany, it can even prevent other german businesses from doing being with me (including credit card company as your example) but it can never compel me directly as I am not under their authority at all
Germany probably could not stop people from visiting their website, but stop payments would be just as worse for DO.
Yes, I’m pretty sure if they interact with a German customer, they are bound by German laws.
Would be a shame if their data centers were seized if they wouldn’t comply...
(I’m not sure if German courts use this technique, but it’s commonly used by US courts to force German companies to adhere to US laws, like in the many "Germans can’t sell Cuban cigarettes to Danes in Germany due to US embargo of Cuba" cases, so precedent exists.)
> (I’m not sure if German courts use this technique, but it’s commonly used by US courts to force German companies to adhere to US laws, like in the many "Germans can’t sell Cuban cigarettes to Danes in Germany due to US embargo of Cuba" cases, so precedent exists.)
Could happen, but not easily. If they got sued, lost and had to pay, ignored that as well, then a gerichtsvollzieher would try to force giving over existing assets. In the most extreme cases that would include a data center, it happened for example that they tired to size an airplane when an airline did not pay a (comparably small) fee.
Of course it won't happen as no one will sue (I could've, but had way too small an amount in credits and asked for a prolongation of the deadline instead), and I'm sure DO would react in such a case.
Still: To have promotional credits run out after some time is not customer friendly, and this discussion shows that the dollars they save pales in comparison to the amount of goodwill and thus business they lose. I told them so.
I thought about going to the Verbraucherzentrale, I mean, it's their job to do this.
Prolongation of the deadline wouldn't help me much either, though, because I'd need at least half a year — which they definitely won't give me, I've already asked.
And I was actually planning to switch a new hoster with my servers this month. Won't be DO now.
For what it's worth, they gave me a year.
(As I don’t have a credit card I had to pay the 5€ activation fee through PayPal)
EDIT: I also sent a message to GitHub’s student contact mail, warning them that they might be on the hook for promising free $100 DO credit for unlimited time, and they might want to ask DO to fix it, or change their advertisement.
I see others in this discussion have done.
Also based on my experience with DO (small ex customer, on aws now) it absolutely wouldn't seem out of character for them to fix that.
I checked my emails as well when I got that. There was no notification in March or since of that change.
Admittedly, having that many boxes has been kind of fun...
Just to be clear, we are powering free CI runners for all GitLab.com users. In all honesty, the promo code was a bit of an afterthought.
My company paid for their instance of gitlab, I'm not a paying user though ( yet - too small), so this hasn't got anything to do with gitlab ( referencing the answer of gitlab themselves :) )
You get the (new) additional services being provided in part by DO. You're literally NOT in the dark. As an analogy my parents have a house alarm system. It was installed 5+ years ago and they pay a monthly fee. You can bet that the newer television ads for this nationwide company (cough ADT *cough) show WiFi enabled controls and whizbang stuff on the master panel -- their alarm master panel is the same panel for the last 5+ years and has never been touched by a technician.
I can give the same example for my Comcast cable box. It's the box I got when i got the initial subscription. Typically promo codes are for new customers, OR new promotional offers wherein you'll migrate your whole account to a new tier of service.
They aren't going to hand you $10 to simply continue to use their (updated) service for them. While you benefit from the new services anyways.
Here's our point of view:
I'm a small DigitalOcean customer. If you want the promo to be cost effective, limit it to the first 250 users or whatever. I don't think anybody here would give you a hard time about protecting the financial integrity of a program. But don't hide behind that if it's really just a way to get a few new users in the door (which is fine!) - just be honest about it.
You'd probably get more mileage at complaining to DO than you would to GitLab.
> @fweespee_ch: if they're not reading HN, they're doing it wrong anyway.
Fair enough. I just think trying to force a response out of GitLab employees is the wrong route to take when they have no power over the coupon.
Rewarding only new customers is mobile phone operators style bite that decreases value of the brand and product. In this situation hosting company knows its not easy to move the servers to different host (at most cases) and uses that as an advantage to milk the customers more.
If they ever would actually release promo on their anniversary or something and give $5 to all registered members, they would get more good press than they could have ever dream of.