Incredibly bad handling of spam prevention policies

  • Posted on July 2, 2013
  • sb73542Asked by sb73542

I am completely disgusted by DigitalOcean’s handling of an issue regarding spam prevention. I woke up this morning to find my site offline. It had been disabled by DigitalOcean staff about 5 hours ago while I was asleep. I found the following ambiguous and marginally threatening message from support staff:

========================================= Hello,

Preventing abuse is a top priority here at DigitalOcean, and we ask for your help in this ongoing battle. With that in mind, we would like to verify your account details.

Providing your personal information will allow us to better assist you now, and in the future. Please let us know the following:

  • Your name.
  • Your location.
  • Your phone number
  • The primary type(s) of traffic that will be sent from/to your droplet(s) (For example; web traffic or similar will suffice).
  • Your public Twitter handle.
  • Your public Facebook profile.
  • Your personal/business website.
  • Your personal/business blog.

We find that procuring some basic information about our customers to verify accounts is preferable to detailed billing and payment verification, as billing information can be falsified.

Please also note: None of the information we receive will be stored or used for any other purpose than initial account verification and abuse prevention.

Thank you for your time. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Regards, DigitalOcean Abuse Team "

This is the most utterly illogical and unfounded handling of spam prevention laws that I have ever seen.

First of all, I am NOT a spammer and never have been. My site sends out a high number of notifications by email about new forum activity to users, and there is clear information in every email about how to disable notifications.

Second, why in the world are they asking me to verify this information now, instead of during account creation? Is it really necessary to shut down a customer’s server in the early morning hours without sending ANY PRIOR NOTIFICATION beforehand? If this is some sort of compliance with spam prevention laws, I completely understand. However, entirely disabling my server without any prior warning just to ask for my personal information is completely unacceptable. There is no reason why they could not have asked me for this information without disabling my server. Or in the worst case, they could have blocked the SMTP port instead of completely crippling my site.

Third, the support message is totally ambiguous. It gives no details about the reason for this drastic shutting down of my website. Am I currently being investigated by authorities for supposed spamming? Do they want this information for a lawsuit against me? Have there been complaints by somebody about me sending spam? Or is this just to be safe and comply with the laws? It is inconceivable that they would take such drastic action and follow up with such an ambiguous support message, which, by the way, is still not being attended more than an hour after my initial response.

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And this morning, I woke up to find the site disabled…again. Support claims it is something related to this same issue yesterday, and they had to “clear” something out of the system, whatever that means. So, if this happens to any other unfortunate users, make sure they “clear” the suspension out of the system completely the first time to avoid a repeat after 24 hours.

And finally the co-counder replied with an apology and a very generous credit. So I appreciate their honesty and willing to accept their mistakes.

Ok, this is an improvement. Finally a response: <br> <br>================= <br>Hello <br> <br>I have immediately turned on your server it should be online now. <br> <br>We are further investigating the issue. <br> <br>Thank you for your patience <br>Support <br>========================