Xdrive’s New Clothes

AOL is unveiling a new media sharing and storage service, BlueString, which gets a positive write-up from Rafe Needleman at Webware. I remain more skeptical (I give it a ten minut.es write-up here.)

Rafe is reliable on this kind of thing, so I take his word for it, but I’m nervous about AOL after a post on my blog more than two years ago became a sort of crash-site for angry users of AOL’s Xdrive product, which BlueString builds on and cherrypicks from. Complaints about Xdrive have been posted as recently as last month, in which there were three, and center on:

  • not being able to log in to access data
  • not being able to reach customer support within a reasonable time
  • charging errors
  • difficulties in cancelling the service
  • allegations that AOL customer service are not technically trained in Xdrive support
  • problems uploading and downloading files

I certainly could find no telephone number on the Xdrive website, except via a Google site search, despite the website’s claims that:

At Xdrive, we pride ourselves on providing a higher level of support than you will find with any other product on the market. Our trained customer care professionals receive ongoing education about the latest changes to Xdrive’s products and services. From walking you through registration to help you use our products, we are focused on delivering exceptional customer care.

(The number, by the way, is (866) GO-XDRIVE or (703) 433-0141, but only during the U.S. day.)

I’m afraid I can’t confirm the authenticity of any of the other complaints and allegations, but I suspect that users of BlueString might be wise to bear them in mind when using the service, and not to store anything there they haven’t got backed up somewhere else.

First hands-on: AOL’s BlueString | Webware : Cool Web apps for everyone