I recently installed the Afian File Manager for a customer.Â All they needed was a simple way for safely sharing large files with customers.Â There are plenty of web file managers available (free and commercial), but surprisingly few support uploads beyond what the web server allows.Â Afian was one of them.
Turns out they realized the big file upload with a Java Applet that chops the file into small chunks that are sent one by one and then reassembled by a PHP-Script on the back end.Â So far so good.Â It worked in their life demo, but it didn’t work on our server.Â The difference?Â We used SSL.Â I didn’t consider this an issue, as the Q&A page stated:
"Does it work with SSL?
Yes, you can use it with SSL, and there’s no configuration involved. It’s just a matter of running Afian under a https (secure http) address. Our personal opinion is that this method would be a bit excessive. But we all know that it puts people at ease about security…"
When I contacted tech support, they told me that the Applet-Upload doesn’t work with SSL.Â What the… didn’t I just read something else?Â So I revisited their Q&A page, which now read:
"Does it work with SSL?
Yes, you can use it with SSL, and there’s no configuration involved. It’s just a matter of running Afian under a https (secure http) address. The drag&drop upload method however, will still be using HTTP."
In fact, they changedÂ this within minutes of my support question regarding SSL. But fortunately, the Google Cache still held the original text.
Afian has a strict refund policy (something that actually made me nervous before the purchase).Â But I thought okay, let’s give them the benefit of a doubt.Â So I requested a refund without mentioning the Google cache page.Â Had they just refunded the money, then I wouldn’t have written this blog entry.Â Instead I got this:
"Please review the agreed refund policy: http://www.afian.com/refund-policy
We did not claim that the drag&drop upload feature works over HTTPS."
After I pointed out that the feature was offered at the time of purchase (proving it with the Google Cache link), they withdrew and issued the refund.
But this left a sour aftertaste, that is just no way to treat customers.Â They are free to do business as they see fit – even though changing the web site for not having to issue a refund is borderline, to say the least.Â But ultimately they are hurting themselves.Â With a little more generosity, they may trigger positive blog entries.Â And let’s face it, with a product like this, positive reviews are by far the best marketing – and bad reviews are poison.