Recently I received an e-mail from a company I haven’t done business with since 2003. They had kept my e-mail all this time and decided now was the time to send me a spam e-mail. Let me give you a little backstory on Advanced Internet Technologies Inc.
Back in 2001 I went out on my own as an ISP. Previously, I had worked for a dial-up ISP and they had been acquired by a larger company. I saw the writing on the wall and decided now was the time to go out on my own. With some borrowed money I made my first purchase, a white box 1U server. Keep in mind this is 2001. This server with a pair of 80 gig hard drives and dual 1GHZ Xeon Pentiums cost me $1800. I had talked to a sales guy from AIT, and liked everything about the company. So I had my little server directly shipped to them and the loaded on Redhat Linux 4. I was able to cobble my way through setting up sendmail, apache, and some other services and my ISP was up and running in a few weeks. Things were clicking along for a few years. We were doing dial-up and had a wholesale agreement with DialUpUSA for nationwide dial-up and ISDN.
Now, here is where it gets good. One night in 2003 I notice my server load going crazy. Server load was in the 30’s. Anyone who knows Linux knows this is something bad going on. So as I trying to track down what is going on I lose all connection to my server. No pings, nothing. So, I call the AIT noc and see if they can look into my server. I am told they would look at it. Several hours go by and I am calling and calling trying to get an update. I had suspected I had been compromised in one way or another and my server was doing bad things. 10PM turns into 10AM. I call my sales guy at AIT basically pleading for him to find out what is going on. He answers my phone call once, but subsequent phone calls go unanswered and no one returns my calls. Still no answers. I am calling every 15 minutes trying to get someone, anyone to give me answers. This goes on for a few days. By this time my business is suffering, because e-mail is down, including my own. After 4 days of no answers, I am in full-blown panic mode. Luckily I was using the DIALUPUSA radius and e-mail and the web-site were the things down. In the meantime, I find FDC Servers in Chicago which had space and cheap bandwidth. I rented a dedicated server from them and was able to get things back up and going after a week of downtime.
Fast forward about a month I receive my server in a poorly packed box with a note saying my server had been compromised and had taken down their entire network because it was sending out junk. At this time on their web-site they were advertising a capacity of 45 megs to the Internet. That was big time for 2003. And included in this note was an invoice for $2700 for work they had to do in order to deal with my server causing an outage on their network. The next day my attorney was sending them a very strongly worded letter with phone records on my attempts to contact them and how we would be pursuing legal action for violation of their SLA, which did include turn around time for trouble resolution. Many letters and calls later we never heard from AIT again. We were sending certified letters on a weekly basis. My father would have been proud the amount of legal paperwork we sent to try and generate a response.
Anyway, So now 14 years later I get a SPAM e-mail from Byron Briggs, Chief Operating Officer of Advanced Internet Technologies Inc. on their dedicated server special. They kept my information after all these years, even after one of our letters told them to purge all of my information from their databases.
Dear Byron Briggs,
Your company is one of the lousiest companies I have ever done business with. Your total lack of response almost ruined my company. I was a loyal, and on-time paying customer every month of me being an AIT customer. I still have the original server in my house as a reminder of how awful a company can be. I feel sorry for the server for even having to be in a data center ran by such uncaring and callous people. The poor Linux box suffered enough in its life. I see on your Linked in you have only been at AIT since 2008. It would be easy to say that was in the past. However, Charles Briggs was there during my time as a customer. I am assuming you are one of his four children he speaks of. I remember talking to Charles on the phone on several occasions when the company was small. I referred business and we talked about the future of things. The lack of response after all of that was just the nail in the coffin.
If you are considering any type of co-location with ait.com I would recommend sticking your server in a refrigerator or cardboard box with a box fan hooked to the local Starbucks wifi before trusting this company with your business.
Oh, and don’t take my word for it