"Company - Sucks" domains and other negative press
I just googled for "dreamhost sucks" and found a huge number of disgruntled dreamhost customers, some still currently using dreamhost, apparently. I loved the google ad in the right column: "Tired of dreamhost's outages...". I even found a couple blogs staunchly defending dreamhost and suggesting that perhaps there should be a law against company-sucks websites. Who would benefit from that?
I just read Scoble's post the recent PR problems with dreamhost. I also frequently perform searches with negative terms appended. Before the blogging era, these kinds of complaints lay buried in newsgroups or bulletin boards. Without cross pollination of blogs, these links remained buried in search results. Now I'm sure that there are plenty of happy dreamhost customers--how else could they stay in business given that a lot of the complaint web sites and blogs have been around for quite a while.
You can expect to find unhappy customer for just about any company, but the kind of negative press you see and just how pissed these people are and what lengths they will go to in order to convey their grief (and the sheer volume) can be quite revealing. It isn't just about the quality of a company's products. How a company handles themselves when a relationship sours can be very revealing. If you watched Seinfeld, you'll remember the phrase, "he's a bad breaker-upper". That's good information to know before you get involved in a relationship with a person or a hosting provider.
It's so easy to forget what life was like before the information age. To just think all we had then were the kind words of a familiar actor doing a paid endorsement. The ability to communicate both synchronously and asynchronously with anyone in the world is simply awesome. Now if the people can only clean up corporate corruption next....