Alibaba free trial - frustrations, fatal flaws and false starts

Finding the free trial link in this post:

I went to:
the Alibaba Cloud Free Trial page
http://www.alibabacloud.com/campaign/free-trial

I did not have the best user experience. I did see the “create a free account” button but I was not clear about if the page was one big form or mostly advertisements for various products. I did not know if I needed to click any of the greater than 40 call-to-action buttons on the page. When I tried to switch the “Burstable Type t5” I could not. (I did later discover that switching from portrait to landscape allowed changing between the options.)

Further down the page there was a display issue:

image

Because the process involved a potential business relationship I felt I should see if the page was valid. It is not.

https://validator.w3.org/nu/?doc=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.alibabacloud.com%2Fcampaign%2Ffree-trial

Most concerning were the invalid id attributes, particularly because I did not know if they were causing relatively minor or more serious problems.

Reading around the display problem I noticed

Terms & Conditions
With this free trial offer, a user can try each product for free once.

I did not feel confident that any decision I did make would be amendable.

Reading

FAQ
Will I be charged if exceed the usage of free trial?
Yes,you will simply pay standard service rates for the extra usage if you exceed the dollar value or allotted time during the free trial period.

and not sure about what usage or time limits there might be for particular products, I ultimately decided to take my chances, ignore most of the page, and click the “create a free account” button.

the Create a new Alibaba Cloud account page
https://account.alibabacloud.com/register/intl_register.htm

For the most part the form looks rather standard. I was concerned about not seeing a “send me emails” opt-in checkbox. Because the previous page was not valid I decided it would be wise to see if the form page was valid. It is not.

https://validator.w3.org/nu/?doc=https%3A%2F%2Faccount.alibabacloud.com%2Fregister%2Fintl_register.htm

Most concerning was the Fatal Error which revealed that JavaScript might be broken. Looking at the browser dev tools console it looked like the only broken script involved a redirect. I do not know if other more important JavaScript might also be broken.

Unlike the stereotypical user, I do not check “I have read and I agree” without taking a look at what I’m agreeing to. Of note:

Membership Agreement
8. Term, Account Termination or Suspension, Effects of Termination
2(d) engaged in any fraudulent, deceptive or unlawful act;

This is somewhat reassuring. Despite Alibaba having a reputation of engaging in spam practices it gives some hope that providing an email address won’t result in unwanted emails. But then:

Terms of Use
3. Use of the Alibaba Cloud Platform or Services
7(e) We will not disclose such Information outside of us, our affiliates or our third party service providers unless: i) you request us to do so; ii) your end user has provided consent for us to do so; iii) as provided in these Terms of Use or in accordance with your agreement(s) with us,

Might there be something in the legalese I missed seeing? Ultimately I decided to abandon the process rather than take any chances and do anything I might come to regret later.

I later found:

the Login page
https://account.alibabacloud.com/login/login.htm

Surely this simple page should be valid. It is not. Another Fatal Error. :frowning_face:

https://validator.w3.org/nu/?doc=https%3A%2F%2Faccount.alibabacloud.com%2Flogin%2Flogin.htm

Not that any of the aforementioned problems are rare, sadly they are not. But the lack of paying attention to detail on the pages I looked at caused concern that the lack of professionalism might be systemic.


Then @TechnoBear posted a link that I did not notice on the free trial page.

I can not vouch for its completeness or accuracy, but IMHO it should be the “first stop” for anyone considering signing up for an Alibaba account in order to take advantage of the free trial credits.

https://www.alibabacloud.com/getting-started/projects/alibaba-cloud-new-user-free-trial

Even if one does not have any problem with providing personal information, there may be some “show stoppers”. I do not know if providing an email address in the first of the forms might result in unwanted emails even if the process is aborted. But I guess requiring a valid email address is a standard request.

  • A valid email address is needed so the verification code can be received and used later in the account sign-up process
  • A mobile device capable of receiving text / SMS messages is needed so the verification code can be received and used later in the account sign-up process.
  • A valid credit card / Paypal account is needed so that Alibaba can apply a “test” charge to it.
+ Tip One 

Use desktop to access Alibaba pages not mobile

If you must use mobile, view landscape, not portrait

+ Tip Two

Ensure you are able and willing to provide required information

+ Tip Three 

Make sure you really want a product before you try it, and don’t cancel the product unless you are certain you won’t want to try it again.

+ Tip Four 

Understand any time and use limits that apply to a product unless you are willing to have charges applied.

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