The End is Nigh … for WowStead/Curse

It’s been a couple of years now since I left WowStead … running for the hills from their awful customer service, bad attitudes and stuffy, restrictive websites.

As a recap, I joined (for our guild) WowStead back when it was its own entity.  The people there were friendly, it had a family atmosphere, several of us spent many hours on their forums helping other users and each other get the best out of our sites.

The site was then bought out by Curse, which I viewed with some trepidation because, at the time, they had had some bad press, and I’d had some bad experiences with them, both with their attitude towards other addon-hosting sites and with their own “Curse Client” which, several times at the start brought my addons crashing to their knees.

However, the then seperate WowStead owner woo’d us with sneak previews of how polished, pretty and feature-rich the new Curse websites were going to be, and we believed.  We looked forward to it with some excitement.  Then things started going wrong .. they suddenly brought forward the transfer date (“unforeseen circumstances”), the transfer itself was blighted with problems and people were getting more and more annoyed.

As I was used to helping out on the forums of the old site, in my wisdom I thought I’d be able to help, putting things into perspective and, rather than simply “having a rant”, wrote what needed doing.  I even sent them a PM pointing out a major security flaw in their system (their admin panel was showing the username and email address of every WowStead user).

Unfortunately the new Curse team took exception to that and took a major dislike to me.  I got sent private messages from their customer service guys calling me names, telling me I was overstepping the mark, etc.  I backed off.  It shook me that someone who didn’t know me personally would verbally attack me that way.

Eventually, as I mentioned back in my previous posts, I asked a pretty innocent question … I simply wanted to remove a specific widget from my site and was having problems doing so.  I was polite about it and, to be honest, it wasn’t really even directed at the Curse guys, more at the general forum users.  I assumed I’d just missed an option somewhere.

My post got deleted.  Then a lot, if not all, of my previous posts on the forums were deleted.  My WowStead account got blocked and banned.  Despite repeated requests, via their ticket support system (which was the only way I could now communicate), I got no explanation as to why I was banned.

Luckily, I’d already found a new home for the guild.  Some weeks before I’d decided that the worry and sleepless nights over a website was just silly, and decided it was time to review my options.  I spent some time checking out other hosting sites and ended up at Guildlaunch.

By the time Curse had revoked me access to my WowStead website, I’d already moved the majority of the information over to our new Guildlaunch site.

Since then … over two years now … I’ve been exceedingly happy with Guildlaunch.  I’m a confirmed “tweaker/fiddler”, but I’m also useless at CSS, HTML and any of that stuff, yet the options available for me at GL allow me to tweak as much or as little as I like.  If I was cleverer, I’m sure I could do a lot more with it, but regardless it caters for my needs, and then some.

Today, I found an email in my mailbox that literally made me groan out loud in dismay. “Nooooooo …. no no nononononononono …. plllllease don’t do that!!”

The email suggested a joining of WowStead/Curse and Guildlaunch.

I was gutted.  I’d spent hours and hours and hours with my Guildlaunch website.  I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else and doing it all again, but I dreaded any interaction with WowStead/Curse.  I mourned for what was about to happen to Guildlaunch once Curse got their mits on it. Gahhh!

I immediately jumped onto the Guildlaunch forums asking for reassurance, worried that I’d have to start host-shopping once more.  Luckily, they put my mind at rest.  Within minutes I had a reassuring response from them, and virtually at the same time they posted a notice on their site explaining that Curse was ending it’s hosting of websites and planning on simply transferring them to Guildlaunch.

I have to say that I have mixed feelings about it all.

I’m really happy that, hopefully, this will not affect Guildlaunch at all (other than, no doubt, a huge influx of ex-WowStead customers who were either happy with Wowstead and therefore unhappy about the move, or unhappy with WowStead but used to the way they did business (badly, rudely, ineffectively).  Meaning Guildlaunch customer services could be in for a bit of a bumpy ride.

I’m not surprised that Curse have thrown in the towel.  Anyone who treats their customers the way they did obviously really don’t like interacting with customers.  Therefore, they really shouldn’t be providing a service that brings them into regular contact with them.

I’m sad for the current WowStead customers.  Yet again Curse have proved that their customer service is abysmal.  They have sent out one very poorly worded, almost spam-like email to its users which, if I’d never heard if Guildlaunch, I would suspect.  They have provided no further information on their website, nor on their forums (as at this time).  The WowStead customers are starting to ask questions and the only person answering them is a Guildlaunch Rep.  Who WowStead have not introduced and have, in a very short, one-line post, confirmed that the transfer is legitimate, but not confirming anything else.

I’m sad for the Guildlaunch guys who are having to put up with the fallout of all of this due to Curse’s poor handling of the situation (again).  It’s like Curse have thrown in the towel and said “can’t be bothered anymore .. you clean up the mess”.

I am a little excited and hopeful that the ex-Curse/WowStead customers do try Guildlaunch (although some may not, simply because they feel pushed into it), because I’ve been singing its praises for some time and I think the more who try them out, the better.

I did try to help out on the WowStead forums … I have a second account that had lain dormant for some time … simply trying to allay some of the fears about Guildlaunch.

I posted:

I’ve been using Guildlaunch for some time now and, at the risk of being banned (again) from WowStead, I’d just like to say that they’re really nice guys.

The customer service is brilliant, quick and friendly, the amount of options for guild websites is amazing, even for the free ones.

Obviously you’re not forced to join Guildlaunch, you can shop around and have a look at other options, but it does look like you’ll no longer be able to use Curse/WowStead in the near future, so I would recommend, at the very least, giving it a try.

When I left WowStead some time ago, back in March 2011, I tried every guild hosting site I could find.  At the time, there were only a few hosting sites that were anywhere near as polished as I would have liked and, being a cheapskate and very cautious, I wasn’t planning on subscribing and spending real cash anywhere until I was comfortable with them.  Which meant trying them out “for free” for some time.  Guild Launch was the ONLY hosting site at the time (and I’ve had no reason to look elsewhere since) that allowed me so much freedom with my site.

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post a link to my Guildlaunch website, so you can have a look at some of what is possible, feel free to PM me for further information though.

Unfortunately, within minutes of me posting that, it was deleted (I only have a copy of it because someone replied to it using a full “quote”) and my account was banned.

Really?  Even now, when I’m trying to help their customers, which is something they themselves should be doing, WowStead “support” ban me?  Unbelievable.