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My GROU.PS website suspended for false Adult Content allegations!
Grou.ps was founded about 3 years ago by a couple of Turkish enterpreneurs with a very small number (possibly a couple) of rather bright programmers. After launching the site as the best free alternative to Ning (which had just annonced they were moving to for-pay plan structure), they quickly moved servers and team (!!) to new HQ (an apartment...) in S. Francisco and created probably the best utilities to migrate Ning sites. I noticed the English of the Grou.ps was poor, and there was no foreign language support, but it was free, and they promised in their mission statement, that it would stay so FOREVER (!!), so I decided to move there my Ning site.
It took me and them weeks to load all my meager Ning content (especially movies) and quite a lot of back and forth with their support group (again, a couple of people).
When it was complete, I got "almost" what I had under Ning, although the look and feel was not the same and tehre were very few features compared to NIng, plus no language support (my site was in Italian), so I started translating Grou.ps messages on my own.
The site was rather slow, not very reliable (had gone down a few times), video clips would not always play, uploading new content was a bear, but did I mention it was free?
Then, 5-6 months after, my real problems started: maybe their initial capital run out, or investors complained about the site not making money, anyway almost overnight they switched to for-pay plans, without giving time to anyone to react to the news!
They suspended the Free plan, and ordered every one on the Free plan to choose a new plan. I chose one they proposed me via email (it was never advertized!), which allowed me to pay a very small ($2-3) monthly fee and to get "almost" the same features I had initially. Then, after only 4-5 months, they announced that that plan had been canceled (@$@!!!), so I upgraded to Bronze plan.
Not done yet: in March-April last year, they notified me they had discovered I was way over quota for Bronze, and ordered me to upgrade to the next plan. At the same time, they suspended access not only to my users but also to me, so I could not log in and reduce the quota!! I proved them I was maybe only slightly over quota and threaten them, so they finally let me go in a do some clean up, so they restored my access and I was able to remove some video clips and lower my quota. So I thought I was OK, at least until teh end of my subscription (May 2012).
Wrong: ten days ago, they let me know I had immediately switch to a more expensive plan because they had found that my site carried Explicit Adult Content, to which I categorically responded that the site is in fact my family website, and I categorically deny having adult stuff on it (unless for adult content they intend a bunch of boring forum discussions on the origin of our last name, or a few pictures of kid birthdays)!!! I got no reply from them, and today they just announced they have reverted my site to the Free plan (which apparently is back...).
Doing so, they have defrauded me of almost 3 months of Bronze subscription, have placed a big Explicit Adult Content warning sign in front of my site, and severely scaled down its features.
This is completely unacceptable to me. I am sick and tired of their shady tactics and complete lack of respect.
If you have had similar experiences with Grou.ps, please let all of us know!!!
Over the last 2-3 years, these people have managed to gain a reputation they do not deserve.
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