Wednesday, January 13, 2010

10 gripes from a paying tinychat customer

Oh where to begin? on the surface is a cool way to have audio and video chats. It's easy to use and fun. You can embed a chat room in your site.

It was so fun that I decided to put my money on this little startup and pay them for a pro service which promised the following up to 5 room names reserved for my use and control. In other words, I would always be an "operator" in these rooms. Service cost $14.95

I set up a few rooms and left it at that.

Then things fell apart. Heres a brief summary of what I experienced:

1) My login info was changed without my approval and without notification. I had to send emails to figure out what was going on. it They picked a username and password for me and moved my chatroom to

2) I lost control of ALL my rooms. Basically, the first person to join is the operator.

3) After a brief stint at, the channel was moved back to

4) They changed the embed code to one that was incompatible with the live site. In other words, those seeing the embedded chat on my site could not communicate with those visiting the chat channel on

5) Repeated emails to support, took up to 5 days for a response and even then the response was incomplete and ignored direct questions.

6) I tried tweeting the 7 of the key players listed on their contact us page. No results other than one of them suggesting I contact support.

7) I tried email every single person on the page also. There are 11 email addresses. Not ONE response to my question as of this writing.

8) I went to look for some kind of "Premium" support page for paying customers. Nothing.

9) In trying to get some resolution I decided to go look at exactly what I was paying for as a premium customer. They removed the page to sign up as a premium customer. Oh they still took my money though.

10) There is no concept of protected nicknames for paying users. If I create an account as "JoeBlow1234" it is not protected. Anyone can join a chat room with that nickname when no one is currently using it. Say I login and someone is using my nickname... I get some random number added to the end of my name when I rejoin my chat room. Meanwhile the other guy can pretend to be me and cause all sorts of trouble!

So what does all this whining really accomplish? Nothing perhaps, but I feel better knowing I can tell people about their crappy customer service and flawed system.

I truly believe that motivation behind tinychat is all about making a splash and getting bought out by a bigger fish. They don't have the pride in service of most young enterprises. They certainly have not shown that to their paying customers.

They will make changes and see that only those that can promote them on a large scale get catered to. Like allowing big names to host chats with features not found to average users such as more than 12 cams.

Once they get their payday, they'll be rich and happy and leave the problems behind.

So my advice to users of tinychat, would be to use the tinychat system as long as it's free. Let them pay for the bandwidth with investor money not yours. Do not get suckered into paying for premium because honestly you don't get any real benefit at this time.

My advice to tinychat is that if you're looking for an investor, make sure they don't see what crap service you deliver to paying customers. You have a great product that can be surpassed very easily by some other startup that will understand the value of a paying customer.

PS. If anyone from tinychat wants to take this further, see my support ticket #3426 and contact me.