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Gold'en Rant : Phone support vital in Webified World

I'm all for beta testing new software, especially if it's from a company with such an impressive track record as Cloudmark, the anti- spam company behind the Cloudmark Desktop range of software.

The add-in for Outlook and Outlook Express has a great track record and I've been using it on my main desktop for a few years now.

Back in June I downloaded v3.2 in beta form and it worked well. Until last week, when it slowed my email downloads to a crawl, forcing me to download and install the latest commercial edition - v3.2.2.

Not only was the beta edition on my desktop now incapable of directly interfacing with Cloudmark's update servers, but the Cloudmark servers apparently didn't recognise the version I was using.

As a result I had to manually uninstall the beta v3.2 and install the shipping version 3.2.2. The process took 30 minutes, because of the way Cloudmark's software pedantically validates the PC's file structure.

This wasn't a one-off, as I had exactly the same problem on my laptop, suggesting that Cloudmark had failed to account for the beta test edition v3.2 in its automatic update system.

Okay, I was able to work around the problem, but what about the novice user base that Cloudmark's software is designed for?

They're on their own, unless they go through Cloudmark's tortuous `request help' routine. Help is then offered via email. You can't call telephone support any more it seems.

Come on Cloudmark, this really isn't good enough. You charge good money for your software, so (a) make sure it works properly and (b) restore your telephone support facility.

You're selling email software. If users have problems, chances are they can't use email to contact your support staff...