Why Podbean sucks & there'll probably not be a podcast this week

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So.  If you are unfamiliar with Podbean, they’re a dedicated podcasting service.  They host your podcast and then have a site that promotes the podcasts internally.

The whole thing is run on WordPress MU – multi user.

When I decided that I wanted to do this podcast thing, I didn’t have a lot of trust in my current webhosting.  As many of us feel, once you go down a certain road, you don’t necessarily want to change directions though.  Example: It’s a pain in the ass to move your webhosting.  I’m sorry, it just is.  WordPress tries to make it as easy as possible to move a blog – you can do exports and whatnotall, but every time I’ve tried that, I’ve failed miserably and had to start over – which sucks.  SO, with an unreliable host on my hands I was sort of going back and forth on what to do.  Plus, I wasn’t really sure how all of this podcast stuff worked – I’d never looked into it before.

Somewhat of an impulse buyer, I found Podbean and decided my troubles were over.  I didn’t really get from their stuff that I was getting a second blog, which I didn’t want.  I wanted someone to host my podcast on a reliable server, provide me with all the iTunes stuff I needed leaving me free to simply put together my podcast.  Well, that’s not entirely what I got.  I got a service that was attached to a second blog.  Bleh.  Still, I’d already signed up, so I decided to go with it (that whole changing course thing).

I haven’t used PayPal in years.  I was surprised they were still around.  Podbean uses them for their service.  Oh well, I went ahead and signed in and signed up and all that jazz.  Turns out, PayPal had old bank information.  As quickly as my podcast went up, it came crashing back down again.  I received emails in rapid succession (minutes apart) telling me that there was a problem with my subscription, that I should take a look and fix it before losing my account, and then that my account was canceled.  There was no way I could’ve prevented it – it was one email after the other and all of them combining to form a giant middle finger.

Realizing that it was my fault because my PayPal account was out of date, I fixed PayPal first.  Then I went back to Podbean and tried to fix my account there, only it wouldn’t let me.  I could not fix my current account, I could only upgrade it to a more expensive package.  I hemmed and I hawed and I thought about it and realized that, in the end, it made more sense to get more space if I was truly going to do this podcast right and have lots of episodes.  So I bit the bullet and I hit upgrade on the account and subscribed for the new, more expensive monthly fee.

Everything came back up; site, podcast, all of it.  Whew.  Right?  I was back in the podcasting business.

I pushed forward and every week since, I’ve put out a podcast and with the exception of one weekend when they were having network issues and everything was massively slow, the whole thing has worked without a hitch.

Then I get an email from them telling me that if I renew now, I can get a 30% discount.  Hrm.  Not interested in paying for a year up front, which is usually what those are, so I ignore it.

Then I get another one.  Sales 101 – the pressure pitch.  Sigh.  I decide to open it.

“Dear Patrick Hester,

This is a courtesy notification to inform you that your Podbean account thenewuniverse is expired on Jul 21, 2009. Please renew your account now to avoid interrupted service.”

Um… what now?

Considering I received this in mid august, I thought for sure it must be some sort of mistake.  I check PayPal first and according to them, I am on a monthly subscription plan with Podbean.  Okay, getting weird now.

I call the number in the email, it goes straight to voice mail.  I leave a message.  No one calls me back.  I start to panic about this.  So I send an email to their customer service asking what’s up?  They reply:

“Patrick,

You account was canceled shortly after you had subscribed by Paypal. You may check what happened there.”

WHAT?  WHY?  Okay, now I’m in ‘what the f***?’ mode.

I hit PayPal again and I verify that I’m on a subscription plan with Podbean.  I took this screen shot:

podbean

I’ve blurred certain info just in case.  As you can see, though, I am on a recurring monthly plan with them and the next payment is due next Monday, the 24th of August.

I sent this screen shot along with another confused email over to Podbean.  No response.  Nothing.  Nada!  Zilch!  And my podcast, feed, dashboard – all of it, is down.  I suppose that’s sort of a response…

Still no call from them either, which really pisses me off.  Any time I experience such horrendous customer service and/or  support, it pisses me off because I did CS for so long and have a high standard.

This is really frustrating.

So this weekend, I guess I’ll be looking for a new webhost that can handle everything and then I’ll have to start moving things over, which is just such a pain in the ass.  Email, websites, all of it – bleh.  Will they charge my PayPal on monday? Who knows?!  Will I be back online then?  Again, who knows?!

AND, the topper is – my iTunes feed is out of my control.  I can’t change it unless I put code in my current/old feed, which I can’t do, because Podbean is in control of all of that.  So if I want to get back up and running, it’ll have to be under a different name for my podcast because ‘All Things From my Brain’ is ‘taken’.

Seriously bummed and frustrated.  Beware folks – Never, ever use Podbean.

~P

4 comments for “Why Podbean sucks & there'll probably not be a podcast this week

  1. November 14, 2009 at 8:02 am

    i have to say that my experience with Podbean has not been stellar either, for several reasons:

    – uploads take forever
    – if your filename has anything but an alphanumeric in it, Podbean won't let you import it after you take an hour to upload it; they tell you to change the filename and upload again — a real pain in the butt — and i realized they should instead advise people to log in with their FTP client and change the file name through that instead of uploading it again. once you change the filename you can then import it for publishing.
    – their tokens system is crap. i ALWAYS get the error message that my session has expired (within minutes of logging in) and that i need to reload my tokens; though i follow the directions, nothing happens. i've wasted so much time clicking around trying to get to an edit screen.
    – i don't like how limited we are with the iTunes tags.
    – i can't get my FlickR widget to work! 🙂
    – their social networking buttons don't include TWITTER! i mean, COME ON!
    – their explanation of monthly storage limits is gibberish.
    – my show's logo doesn't always come up on the page.
    – they really need more layout templates — i am not a CSS expert and messing around in there is not a good idea for me.

    on the positive side:
    – i have had better customer support from them than you have; they have been prompt in returning my emails, although it sometimes takes more than one to get my point across; i get the feeling English isn't their first language.
    – it is another blog, which is okay; i didn't realize it, but it works.

    i found your page here because i typed "podbean sucks" into Google. obviously i have begun to harbor bad feelings for the service after having had it up for just a month, and i am starting to look elsewhere. i am hoping to find some better recommendations.

    • November 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm

      Your story sounds familiar. I still haven't done another podcast with them.

      I want to continue podcasting, but my itunes feed points at them. The only way to shift it to a new podcast feed, it to place the new feed's url in the old feed, which I don't know that you can do. So, if I want to keep my current iTunes page/account/feed – I have to stay with podbean.

      Bleh.

      ~P

  2. not happy
    May 10, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    podbean just renewed my subscription without my approval. an echeck went thru to my bank account for $23.90. so now i have to challenge the charges. this is internet fraud. they don't answer the phone or respond to my emails.

    • May 11, 2010 at 4:24 am

      I used PayPal so it was much easier for me to leave them in the dust!

      Now, I use box.net and this blog. It's so much easier and I don't have to deal with the aholes at Podbean.

      ~P

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