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TypePad Gets Ugly: Hidden Policies Affect Users If They Attempt To Leave

I’m not sure when TypePad decided it would be best served by becoming a cult.

I signed up with TypePad about two years ago to host my blog. At the time it was a good decision. WordPress being open source, not well documented, and something of a free for all with a big learning curve, scared me off. I wanted to get my blog up and running quickly and a survey of blogging platforms led me to TypePad.

Fast forward two years. I’ve moved to a new web site, one that includes a WordPress blog. WordPress now has better documentation (online videos, etc.) so I’ve switched my blog to WordPress. Initially, I expected to leave my TypePad blog online until the account runs out in March, 2010, but seeing how quickly my new blog has been indexed online and seeing how the TypePad blog just confuses matters on web search results – yesterday, I decided to pull the plug and cancel my TypePad account. Thus, the odyssey begins…

I had a paid TypePad account. This kept it ad-free and supposedly provided me with better customer service. It’s easy enough to find out how to cancel a paid TypePad account. You go within your account and delete it. The problems start at that point. With TypePad’s policies, just by having a paid TypePad account they’ve created a profile for you without your consent. Additionally, when you delete your paid account TypePad gives you a free Micro account. Again, without your consent.

There is no information on TypePad’s site on how to delete a Profile or a Micro account. Given this, I submitted a help ticket to TypePad support only to find that the help ticket would not go through. It led me to an error page, which also had a form. Filling out the error page’s form led nowhere – it took me to the same error page. I then found a generic TypePad contact page on their site and filled out my request there.

With no reply from TypePad’s contact page and via some googling, I found a third-party site, getsatisfaction.com, where Six Apart (TypePad’s parent company) has a support page.  I entered my request there along with information about what I had just gone through. Fairly, quickly I heard back from a Six Apart employee – one who has said she will delete the account and confirm that it has been done.

Hours later, I also heard back from TypePad’s contact page:

Thanks so much for reaching out, and we’re sorry to hear that you’re experiencing some frustration – we’re also really sorry that you received errors! Essentially, the free profile accounts can’t generally be deleted, but you’ll never be charged, and those do come in handy when commenting on other blogs. There is a possibility that we may be able to have it removed for you entirely, so if you would like for us to do that for you, and you’ve decided that having the free profile wouldn’t be useful for you, please let us know.

Can you tell us why you’ve decided to leave TypePad?

This reply is problematic on a couple of levels.

It counters what the Six Apart employee told me.

It uncovers policies at TypePad which are never directly stated on their web site. Create a paid account on TypePad and you are given a profile without your consent. Cancel the paid account at TypePad and you are also given a free Micro blog account at TypePad without your consent. Neither the profile nor the free Micro account can “generally” be deleted.

I’ll update this post when I get confirmation from the Six Apart employee that my account has been fully deleted. It’ll be interesting to see why TypePad’s corporate response differs from theirs.

Until then if you are a TypePad paid account user be forewarned that you are also roped into their free services whether you like it or not. If you are a TypePad free account user either by having a profile on their site, a free Micro account, or both, be forewarned that there is nothing setup to delete these services if you decide you no longer want them. This makes your TypePad presence permanent, as in forever, and it also gives Typepad of a method of following you if you make comments on other blogs.

One Comment

  1. Sairah

    Hi there! I was just now, and for the first time, considering TypePad. I’ve always used WordPress, but my WordPress installs tend to get hacked without fail :( This was very enlightening in moving me away from TypePad–thank you!

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