MYOB and Google have been embarrassed by revelations that a free web site and domain name offer to Australian businesses is hosted not in Australia - as advertised during its launch - but in Singapore.
MYOB chief executive Tim Reed [pictured] had told iTnews at a press event yesterday that the sites offered to small Australian businesses would be hosted in Australia.
He also said that it would be MYOB rather than Google that would own the database of Australian small businesses developed via the offer.
An eagle-eyed iTnews reader alerted this publication late yesterday that several sites created for the launch of the "Getting Business Online" offer appeared to be hosted by Amazon Web Services in Singapore.
Today iTnews tested three such web sites, plus the sign-up pages for the service, and validated the reader's information. We also studied the terms and conditions, which clearly state that the data submitted will be owned by both MYOB and Google.
"You consent to the sharing of information including your Personal Information between us and Google Inc in relation to your application," the terms and conditions state, "for the purpose of marketing MYOB or Google products to you."
The terms and conditions also suggest that customer data is shared with Amazon.com.
"We may share your Personal Information with service providers we have retained to perform services on our behalf, such as providing web hosting or database management services."
Early this morning iTnews took this information back to MYOB.
A spokesman for the business software vendor has passed on apologies from the chief executive, who was said to be "deeply embarrassed" on both counts.
The spokesman said that as soon as Amazon.com makes its AWS cloud compute available from within Australia, MYOB will shift Australian customer web sites back onshore.
Matt Mulligan, general manager at MYOB and founder of the MYOB-acquired Ilisys web hosting business, told iTnews that the AWS service was chosen as no similar capability was available in Australia.
"[On AWS], when our client sites get load, extra instances can be spun up instantly and – programmatically rather than by humans," he said. "Our priority is providing a great web experience."
Should Australian businesses care whether their data is hosted in Singapore? Stay tuned for an in-depth analysis.