An open letter to Bluehost: Your values matter

I’ve been a good Bluehost customer for years. They host this website. I’ve used them for almost all of my websites and have recommended them to countless clients and friends. It’s time for them to step up. Values matter.

Dear Bluehost,

I understand from Ethan Zuckerman that you recently disabled Kubatana’s blog, despite the fact that they explained to you who they are and provided supporting documentation, including a letter from the US Embassy in Zimbabwe.

I’m a longtime Bluehost customer and have been, up until now, very pleased with your service. I am terribly dissapointed that you did not step up and support human rights and free speech. We consumers have choices, and in these difficult economic times your values matter more than ever. Please re-consider your decision and take a stand. Apologize. Support human rights and free speech. This affects all of us.

I look forward to your reply — and to remaining a loyal Bluehost customer.

Sincerely,

Christine Prefontaine
Montreal, Canada

If you have a Bluehost-hosted website feel free to copy my letter and send it on.

14 Responses to An open letter to Bluehost: Your values matter

  1. Questioner February 13, 2009 at 9:06 PM #

    I inquired on BlueHost’s reasoning for this. Appears this site was established in Zimbabwe, which is against US Sanctions. By Federal US Regulations they are being required to deleting all accounts created under US Sanctioned countries. They are however giving people the option to recreate new accounts, which is nice, under legitimate countries. But this really is something BlueHost can’t control.

    I don’t think spamming them is going to help the cause.

  2. Christine February 13, 2009 at 9:24 PM #

    @Questioner. Thanks for looking into this. If you read Ethan’s post and the comments below it you’ll see that the sanctions only target people and organizations who have

    “‘materially assisted’ the government of Zimbabwe, the Treasury provides a handy list of ‘Specially Designated Nationals’, who US individuals and organizations are prohibited to do business with. It’s a long list, but that’s what the ‘Find’ command is for… and you won’t find Kubatana, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, or the principals behind the projects on the list. (And rightly so — they’re fighting the regime that the US is sanctioning.)”

    Sanctioned nation does not equal banned nation. BlueHost is run by smart people who can make a choice. They have control. And I hope they will choose to support Kubatana.

    Spam? I am a long-time customer sending a letter to my vendor. That’s not spam. Maybe better if I send a letter via registered mail? Although I do see how you could make the case since I’m offering them a chance to grow a pair ;)

  3. Chris Blow February 13, 2009 at 9:33 PM #

    @Questioner A.) I question your blind support of US sanctions B.) the notion of “legitimate countries” is racist and C.) calling humane, social-activist letter spam is infuriating.

  4. Brian Herbert February 13, 2009 at 10:10 PM #

    @Christine: Thank you for posting this letter. It’s good to see customers of Bluehost demanding some kind of action. As a paying customer, you have the power to pull the plug and go somewhere else. At the very least, hopefully Bluehost apologizes.

  5. Zach February 14, 2009 at 1:01 AM #

    What e-mail address did you send it to?

  6. Christine February 14, 2009 at 6:35 PM #

    @Zach I could not find e-mail address so submitted it as a trouble ticket. Did you find one?

  7. Zach February 18, 2009 at 12:13 PM #

    Nope–I’ll submit it as a ticket too.

  8. Delerious March 11, 2009 at 3:44 PM #

    I’m not going to write them, but I called and shut down my site. I started going into the reasoning why with the support line, but they didnt really care. I didn’t try to reach any higher ups though!

    I’m too tired to complain. I just boycott.

  9. drew3000 July 24, 2009 at 9:24 AM #

    Anything new on this? I may move all my sites as a result if the policy hasn’t changed.

  10. Christine July 24, 2009 at 9:44 AM #

    Hi Drew. No, nothing new from BlueHost. No response to my trouble ticket. I’ve started using a different host for the new sites I build but, to be honest, I’ve not gotten around to switching my sites (and my client sites) that are already on BlueHost to the new company. It’s been nagging at me so this is a good reminder and push — important that I follow through on my values!

  11. russ November 11, 2009 at 1:11 PM #

    I have been a loyal customer of Bluehost and this surprises me. Usually there is great customer service. Maybe its a sensitive subject, but still surprises me.

  12. Christine November 15, 2009 at 11:25 PM #

    Hey @russ. Thanks for visiting my site and posting a comment. I checked out your site: http://www.bluehost-info.com/about.asp. From a quick skim of your site it looks like one big BlueHost advertisement. What’s the deal? You set up that whole site just because you love your hosting company so much? Wow. That is serious dedication. As I noted in my post, I’ve also been a loyal BlueHost customer and have been happy with the service. But this is not about service. It is about values. And common sense.

  13. James December 30, 2009 at 5:44 PM #

    Russ Blanc has been comment spamming any site he can. He is a major affiliate for Blushost and makes money every time someone signs up for Bluehost through his website. It is rather comical if one does a who is look up on his site bluehost-info.com, it show he does NOT even use Bluehost to host his fake review site.

    People like this will say anything to make a sale.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bluehost is Silencing Zimbabweian Bloggers | Tunafunga Pamoja - February 13, 2009

    [...] the original report on Ethan Zuckerman’s My Heart’s in Accra. Also, read an open letter to Bluehost on Christine Prefontaine’s Facilitating Change. Share and [...]