Launchrock Sucks

I recently tried to put up a splash page for a new website I'm launching (more on that in the months to come). Launchrock is a popular service that sounded like it'd make my life easier by setting up the back end for me and allowing me to get up and running quickly. Wrong. The short of it: LR Help and Support sucks. Bad. Here are some examples (and yes, I have emails and screenshots of everything):

So I go to launchrock.com for the first time, select a template, and start throwing in some text and images. So far so good. I want to use a custom domain for my site though, so I need to upgrade to a Professional account for $60. Ok, fine. But when checking out, their site acts all gimicky like it's not working. So I re-enter my credit card credentials and on the 3rd or 4th time it goes through. Later, I find that each of those was going through and there were multiple $60 charges on my account. Apparently the bank straightened it out later, but at that point I'd already taken the time to write a support email to LR asking them to refund me for all but one of the $60 charges. Guess how long it was before I heard back from them. Fourteen days.

Once I have my professional account set up, purchased for the sole purpose of being able to host it at my custom domain, I can't get it to work. I try following their documentation, except it totally sucks and is outdated (more on that later). I fire off another support request. It takes nine(!) back and forth emails between LR and I before I finally give up on them and just start dinking around with my DNS settings and get it to work. The middle part of the conversation looked something like:

  • LR on 12/15: I'm sorry but you can chose only one domain and not both www and non-www (misspelling not added)
  • Scott on 12/17: Is a member of the tech team available for a phone call? I think this would be worked out much faster over the phone
  • Scott on 1/14: It's been almost a month and I'm becoming very disappointed. Can you please give me a phone number?
  • LR on 1/15: Sorry, but we do not have a line available

Fix was super straightforward and is explained in another post here. One can only imagine why they don't let their support team speak verbally to the customer.

I'm also having an issue where the site won't work on mobile. Kind of a big deal. In landscape mode, the top half of the page is cut off and won't scroll at all. In portrait mode, when you scroll to the bottom of the page, the background jumps up in magnification all of a sudden. Really weird. Does the same thing in a Chrome browser shrunk to same dimensions so it's not my device. So I fire off a support request. The response?

  • Scott on 12/3: My site doesn't scroll vertically in landscape mode or with a small Chrome window
  • LR on 12/4: Can you please try to clear your cache and try again? Please note that our site works best with Chrome

Brillaint LR. Clear cache and try again in Chrome. Why didn't I think of that?! My request spelled out that I'm using Chrome and if I'm setting up a website don't you think I probably already tried clearing the cache and trying again? About twenty times?

I finally got the website up and going (except for the weird scrolling issue which was never resolved). So, I submit to Betalist and (predictably it turns out) get turned down because they don't accept LR templates (good for them). But, they will allow you to embed a LR widget in your custom site so you still can use their backend. Ok, I'll give that a shot. So I start reading up on how to make a widget, etc. There's no place on the website that allows you to create a widget! Yet here is a article explaining how from their own documentation:

So I fire off another support request asking if the emdded widget still exists. Simple question.

  • Scott on 1/21: Does the embedded widget still exist?
  • LR on 1/27: We have a rich choices of templates that you can try. Please feel free to chose which ones would fit your need. (again, misspelling not added)

Is that even a human typing that response?! It sounds more like a program going off the word "widget" in my email and giving me a canned response about templates.

Here is a good one. Check out their list of help topics. Notice anything?

Some of the questions are listed twice. Big deal? No. But I think it speaks to the quality of the developer they have working for them.

At that point I threw in the towel. This had already taken up more time than if I just built the thing myself (which is exactly what I went on to do). Building the custom site to save entries to a sql backend, allow referral urls, look and feel exactly as I want, and get it using my custom domain probably took about 6 hours or so. Time much more well invested.

Launchrock, if you ever read this, your product sucks but is not beyond repair. My guess is that you started out with a good idea and non-technical people started trying to save a dollar here and a dollar there and now you're left with this. Your product as it stands is unacceptable. If you want to stay in the game, you need to completely update/revamp your documentation, fire your offshore support team, and put up a giant 1-800 number on every page of your site that calls some nerdy people in North Carolina.

And fix the freaking bug about not scrolling in landscape mode.

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About Scott

I am a software engineer from Bozeman, MT enjoying the slightly warmer climate of Colorado. I think code can change lives. I think lives are worth changing. I write code.

You can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, , and Github.