We goofed up on the rollout of our new…

Thu Nov 8 11:17:40 PST 2001 — We goofed up on the rollout of our new bandwidth monitoring and billing tools. I am sorry about the confusion and conflicting messages about this.

As we published here in September, we have made changes to both our bandwidth and disk quotas, and those changes were to be implemented in October. The disk quota change is simple – we went from 50 megs per service up to 80, and set pricing at $10 per month for each additional 80 megs. “Per service” means for each basic account or multihomed web hosting, so if for example you have an account with a multihome, you now have 160 megs of storage space.

The changes to the bandwidth quota are a bit more complex. In summary, we reduced both the size of the quota and the cost for going over it. In the past, the quota was 200 megs per day, and usage over the quota was $5 per 100 megs, or $50 per gigabyte. Under the new quota, you get 1000 megs (one gigabyte) per month, and the charge for going over the quota is $15 per gigabyte.

This reduction in the fee for overage brings us to a much more fair cost for sites that exceed the quota. In the past, it was far cheaper just to buy another account and split your website up than it was to simply manage it under one account. This never made a whole lot of sense, and caused extra work for for customers seeking to avoid the fees. Sites which did go over the daily quota could quickly accrue charges which were very, very high, and which were not a good reflection of the costs to Sonic.net.

In other words, $50 per gigabyte is too much to charge, the $15 price is a better reflection of our costs. Additionally, providing 200 megs per day to a site that used 150-200 per day both left the customer awful close to treading over that line and having a large charge added to their account, and left Sonic.net moving almost six gigabytes of bandwidth, which had a lot of costs for us.

Now, to the warning system. The intent is that if your site is projected to exceed the quota, you would receive a warning about potential costs. So, assuming that there are 30 days in an month for this example, if during the analysis on the third night of the month, you’d used more than 10% of the total quota, you’d get a warning telling you that we project that you may exceed the quota. This would provide ample time to make changes to the site to reduce it’s size, or find a way to produce some revenue to pay for the bandwidth.

The problem was that the warnings didn’t get sent on a consistent basis last month. Of the 90 or so customers who are over quota, only about ten of them got anything from us warning them about the usage.

Obviously, it’s simply not fair to make changes to the quota pricing and billing methods, then to charge a customer without giving them some warning prior to their incurring the charges. This was not our intention, and I’m very sorry that we posted these charges!

Bandwidth charges for customers who were not warned last month will be removed from their accounts today, and we’ll assure that warnings are sent out properly this month. Sorry about the confusion, and the contradicting messages here in the MOTD regarding this.

On an ongoing basis, we’d like to encourage customers to publish busy websites which do use bandwidth, but we need to work out ways to keep the usage at levels where the costs involved match up with revenue to cover the costs. Discussion is ongoing in news://news.sonic.net/sonic.general currently on this topic.

-Dane, Scott and Kelsey

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