I started hearing rumors about a month ago that Marqui was in serious trouble. Then I began to get queries from business partners around the northwest, asking “Do you know anyone at Marqui any more?” Apparently no one’s been able to get through to support for awhile… and I let my connections there lapse years ago when I left the organization.
And I’m sad to say I read with interest this little cautionary tale in CMSWatch last week which seems to confirm: Marqui est mort, “belly up…” in receivership (a type of bankruptcy).
The news of a tech startup going belly up is not that unusual. However, the news of a Software as a Service (SaaS) (define) provider going under is especially disconcerting. It slams to the forefront the delicate question:
Who really owns my data?
More business applications reside online (in “the cloud”) these days. And the more we rely on cheap/free/hosted/SaaS applications, the more we rely on the people behind them to manage their businesses honestly, ethically, and with the fiduciary controls necessary to withstand market pressures.
Does that mean the due diligence process is heightened when considering your technology partners? Oh, yeah. Especially when you’re doing business with privately-held organizations. Where web content management services are concerned, your partners are often your outsourced IT department. A trust in your partner is paramount. And we’re talking way more than service level agreements and uptime requirements here…
- What recourse does one have when the customer support team won’t answer your calls?
- Who can help you navigate the (oft-remote) handshakes of the organization - when most of your original connections are gone?
- How long do you let things go before you take the actions necessary to take control of your data?
Interestingly, some signs of Marqui’s trouble ahead - called out in the CMSWatch article - are pretty easy to recognize:
- There had been no new press releases since March.
- There had been no new blog posts since September, 2007. (As an aside, it’s going to be extremely sad to have my first two years of blog posts go into the dark matter with Marqui’s demise…)
In the case of Marqui, people who have their web sites hosted by the company must be keeping their fingers crossed that their servers will be properly managed in the time it takes to move away from Marqui. Any implementation of Marqui can be exported to HTML and hosted elsewhere, but what a nervous hassle in the meantime. And the cost of doing so is a huge pain.
I’ve been away from Marqui for about two years now. I feel extreme discomfort for the customers who are scrambling to migrate their data. And I wish I could be of some help.
But I don’t know anyone that I can trust there any more.
I do know plenty of competent, responsible, highly reputable agencies to refer Marqui customers to. It seems as if there might be a bit of an opportunity to help folks who are in extreme need out in that… ping me if I can make a referral.
It’s the least I can do.