Is this an experience you want?

Sometimes, we are ashamed of our industry.  No, Innovative Concepts is not perfect either.  However, our ideals, morals, and ethics will always take precedence over everything including profit.  Additionally, we are proud of the fact that we have a good rapport with most professionals and strive to work well with others.

Unfortunately, we had a bad experience today that we wanted to share.  We are sharing this to shed a light that this does happen and, hopefully, doing so will put an end to it…

A gentleman called us up because his website was completely down.  The only page displayed was a generic “We’re Sorry” message and a webmaster email address that only pointed back to the CEO of the company.  Luckily, they had registered their domain name with us (at www.icWeb.info) but, since it was registered by their previous employee, nobody knew how to login.

Of course, the first step is to recover the icWeb login.  We used the forgot password method, but the account had the previous employee’s email address on file.  As a result, we logged into their Google Apps for Work account, created that email address, reset the password at icWeb, and so on.

Finally, we were able to confirm that we did not host the website (Remember that our icWeb system is intended to give our clients complete and independent control of their internet services).  Of course, even before logging into icWeb we could already tell that we did not host it, but we would prefer to take responsibility for any potential fault so we can then move forward on helping.  We also confirmed that their DNS was clean, etc. etc. etc.

Now, we started researching who their current website hosting provider was.  We tracked it down to a company back east.  This company is one of those companies that allows other smaller companies to resell their services as a white label.  Furthermore, their policy is to not give out who the reseller of record is.  We are officially stuck.  The only information we know is that they are the hosting provider but they cannot do anything to get the site re-enabled and they cannot tell us who can.  We pleaded with them to no avail but understood the reason why.  We then suggested that they contact the reseller asking them to contact us.  Everyone was happy with this solution.

48 hours pass and no contact.  Luckily, the CEO started going through emails from many years ago and ran across an abbreviated company name for who he thought may have been the site developer.  We began searching through our past records (in www.icDocumentation.info) and found a match.  We had actually worked with someone from this company about two and a half years ago.  We even had a phone number!  Score 1 for icDocumentation and its 20+ years of data!

We called the number but it became obvious that it was being forwarded to a cell phone that had a full voicemail box.  We then found their website.  You would think that a web developer would have a functional website, but this “site” consisted of a single page that only allowed you to enter a message for them to contact you back.  No address; no phone number.  We filled out the form explaining everything in as much detail as possible.

We received a very generic response asking us what we wanted.  Despite this, the footer had a phone number.  We immediately called it but was only offered to leave a message using Verizon’s typical cell phone voicemail system.   At least we could leave a message this time.  We replied to the email giving him our caller ID and a time that we would be calling him back.

We called and an already perturbed individual answers.  Apparently, this gentleman did not remember that their phone number was in his email footer.  He says that he is no longer the website host.  However, after we describe how we found the hosting company, he begrudgingly admits that he is the reseller and the host.  He then goes on to say that someone contacted him a few months ago asking for ftp access to the site and he has destroyed all copies of the site he created.  We again plead for any help he can give us.  He says that he has the email address for the person who took the site, but he would not give it to us.  We understand that he may not want to give us an individual’s information, so we ask for the company name or for him to contact that person for us.  He refuses.  He only offers to give us the person’s first name and tells us to use a simple tool called FaceBook.  He even asks us if we have heard of this tool before!

Okay, so this is all pretty bad.  However, what he says next is why we are writing this blog article:

This is just a crap website I wrote a couple years ago so you guys are just going to have to accept that it is gone and you will have to make a new one.

We were blown away that anyone would say this, let alone about something that they had created.  We continued to plead for our client.  Unfortunately, his next comment follows what is commonplace by a technician who knows he has done something wrong.   He became defensive and offensive at the same time:

You need to back off.  I only made $2,000 on that site and it is not worth it for me to try and do anything for you.  I told you that I will not help you.

So, here we are.  Another black eye for our industry.  We are not upset at the lost website.  Things get deleted.  We are not upset that we have to tell our client bad news.  That comes with the territory.  We are ashamed that someone who has the ability to help someone in need would actively go out of their way to hurt.

Like we acknowledged above, we are not perfect.  We lose clients just like everyone else.  We are lucky that those are few and far between.  However, when they do happen, we assist the new provider with the same priority as with a new client.  Now, Innovative Concepts is big enough and has been doing all this long enough that we have most resources within our own facilities/racks/servers.  We understand this is not an option for some newer and/or smaller companies.  In either case, customer service and doing the right thing should always prevail.

Please do not accept this from the person you trust with your data!

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