Off topic

My review of the Kindle Touch

On September  28, 2011 I bought the Kindle Touch as well as the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Touch arrived on November 15, 2011 and the Kindle Fire arrived on November 16, 2011 both less than 24 hours after Amazon announced they shipped (under free 2 day shipping with Amazon Prime). The joys of having a Amazon shipping facility in Phoenix Arizona.  For the next few posts I am going to forgo the usual smashing of hosts that use review sites, hosts that appear in review sites, and the hosts that spam in one or another for the next 7 days to do a few posts on one of my favorite subjects which is tech toys.  After all I got to play with a few since Early October, another such item being the HP Touchpad.

Full Disclosure about my Endorsement of the Kindle Touch

I have placed affiliate links thru out this post, which means if you buy a Kindle Touch or other recommended item via any of the links I placed I get paid a commission.   Unlike the review sites that I rail against I actually use the product(s) I listed.  I actually stand behind a review of a service or item that I provide affiliate links to.

The Amazon Kindle Touch with free life time 3g

The version of the Kindle Touch I got was the free 3g, without “special offers”.  Those special offers include advertising on your Kindle. I was not really interested in turning my Kindle Touch into an advertising platform. My Kindle 2 has 3g, which I have enjoyed not having to set it up when I take it any where. After trying the Kindle 3 with Wi-Fi I decided I would rather have the free 3g because I am not always near a Wi-Fi connection.  Even when I am near a Wi-Fi connection some can be painfully slow (even by free 3g standards) or disconnect a lot.  That and I may be a bit lazy on connecting my device.  I wanted to be able to synch my library as I like to synch often when traveling, rarely do I buy books outside of home.   Not to mention both the Kindle 2 and Kindle Touch have a browser which while being very slow, can some times helps out when there is no Wi-Fi or if I want another source to see if a web site is down.

Why did I buy a Kindle Touch when I also bought the Kindle Fire?

Most of my friends that don’t read or rarely read don’t understand the appeal of a black and white screen. They did not quite get why I would buy a Kindle 2 or Kindle Touch when I had an iPad or now the Kindle Fire.  After all they are color.  These being friends that will never read Lord of The Rings and other page heavy books, but they had no problem borrowing the deluxe version of the DVDs from me.

For any one that reads as much as I do or more knows It’s not so much the black and white screen, as the long battery life.  Anyone I know that likes to read, and like myself may get less sleep because of staying up longer than usual because of a good book, understands well that a device with a long battery life is better than a tablet that lasts 4 – 10 hours on a charge.

On my Kindle 2 I recharge about every 3 weeks to 6 weeks; whereas I recharge my iPad about every 1 – 2 days.    Not to mention most of the books I read are mostly text and not a lot of pictures.  So there is no advantage of having a color screen to read on. That and while I can read the iPad outside, it is no where near as clear as my Kindle 2 or Kindle Touch in direct sun light.

So after 2 years the Kindle 2 is no good?

Back when I was selling off my shares in 4 hosting companies in 2009, I decided in November to get a Kindle 2, since then I have added over 400 books to it. To be honest I really had no justification for buying the Kindle Touch. Other than a fancy new tech toy, I had no reason to validate a new eReader. The Kindle 2’s battery life shows no signs of decline. With a Speck cover and a proper screen cover my kindle is in the same condition I bought it in. Despite getting a new device I will not be retiring the Kindle 2, and will continue using it at home, while using the Kindle 3 when I travel.  I will not be sending back to Amazon for what amounts to a small percentage of the $280 I paid for it.  They pay $25. Especially when the extended warranty is still in effect for another year or two.

Generally if I avoid leaving the 3g connection on I can go almost a month or longer before having to recharge.  But I wanted one that fits easier in my pockets, even when I am not wearing cargo pants / shorts.

My biggest gripe with the Kindle 2, is that Amazon seems to have abandoned it this year after they put my model up for less than $100 last year for Black Friday which I bought for a friend last year.  I had hoped that like the Kindle 3, they would release a patch that would provide page numbers.  I am bothered by the lack of updates this year.

Despite the lack of updates, the Kindle 2 is still a good eReader which I have had zero issues with.

The positives of the Kindle Touch

  • More of the screen is dedicated to text
  • Smaller then Kindle 2 or 3, with a screen that’s a bit wider than a the Kindle 2
  • Lighter then Kindle 2
  • Longer battery life then previous models (I have yet to see the battery life and will update this post in a month).
  • 3g model also includes Wi-Fi
  • Pocket Size
  • Touch Screen, and you can just tap to turn a page
  • Holds up to 3,000 books
  • Comes in earth friendly / recyclable packaging (minus a piece of plastic that covers the screen), would be better if printed with soy ink

The down side / quirks of Kindle Touch

  • No page numbers (perhaps a new patch, as Kindle 3 has page numbers per a patch)
  • Text to Speech is no better than the Kindle 2
  • I was unable to copy my collection / folder options from the Kindle 2 (perhaps another fix with a patch)

My recommendations for the Kindle Touch

At this point there are no covers that I can recommend.  Being a very strict vegan I refuse to buy any cover made of leather.  I will at later date post a cover that I find practical for the Kindle Touch.  Currently the one I have on my Kindle 2 is made by Speck which is a snap on shell that has been very effective.

The best screen covers I have found are:

Grantwood Technology Premium Anti-Glare Screen Protector for Kindle, 2-Pack Fits Latest, New Kindle (4G), Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle 2nd Generation

They are a good anti-glare cover, however I find that they are near impossible to get the bubbles out.  Despite that flaw they are a good protection for your Kindle 2, Kindle 3, or the Kindle Touch.

My personal thoughts on Kindle Touch

There are many reasons I went from paper books to an eReader.  One of which is that I did not want tree to be cut down to provide me with reading material.  Then there is that part of me that that is a tech geek / data hoarder. On top of that I have not exactly gotten a permanent residence yet.  I would dread having those to lug another 400 plus books, another reason I stopped buying cds and went to buying mp3’s.  I can’t say saving money was the reason that went with an eReader.  The Kindle Touch is a tech toy I recommend if you like to read a lot.

Is your Outsource Tech Support Fair Trade?

One thing that never really occurred to me until this weekend, and that is the treatment of those that do outsource tech support.   Since outsource tech support deals with an IT industry and not farm goods, clothing or other non-tech specific items it never occurred to me that perhaps outsource customer service may be under the same boat all in the name to provide something cheap. You watch enough news and you hear about some clothing company operating sweet shops some where around the world, even the U.S. where there are child labor laws.  While India has child labor laws that cover up to the age of 14, that still does not stop someone from making people work for very little or  nothing to make a profit.

It occurred to me  after reading theecologist.org  and then calling Dell while brewing some coffee. Funny how some things are so obvious,  yet don’t quite connect in my head.  I was just about to vent my frustration over a order gone wrong when I glanced at the fair trade logo on my Trader Joe’s Organic Morning Blend (In short Fair Trade offers a reasonable pay for work done, not to mention reasonable hours and working conditions).   The fair trade logo connected all those points together. My first thought was did this guy on the other end really deserve my rage?  Was he paid enough to bear my rage?  I doubt it.

The Outsource Tech Support Sucks(?)

No I am not writing a rant against foreigners that are being outsource for customer service.  While there are many exported jobs that I am unhappy about, I actually have sympathy for this guy on the other end trying to do his job.  He is simply following the script that Dell provided him. At best his training consists of either being handed a binder with a table of contents that takes him to each answer, or being told to refer to the f.a.q. section on the company provided pc (which may have been the pinnacle of  technology 8 years ago). When it comes to something not covered by the materials provided, you either get a long pause or are put on hold while they ask someone that may know the answer.  Then when he / she comes back with an unsatisfactory answer, they may have to deal with the brunt of a customer’s anger.

There is no excuse for a company using Outsource Tech Support(?)

I don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to complaining about outsourcing, after all on some of my cheaper companies used outsource tech support with India.

I went with outsource support for one reason and one reason only, and that was to compete in a cheap market.  When ever you try to compete in a cheap market,  as with any business its all about money. While the techs I had here in the U.S. were very good at their job, it was not cost efficient to have them dealing with a cheap market for many reasons.  Read enough of my blog and you will know that the cheaper an account was the more likely  the account holder would place a ticket.  That was a fact that I would not see until much later when software was in place that tracked such details.  The other details that was pretty obvious was the level web development skill was not equal to higher paying customers.  On the much higher end if my customers did not know, they hired webmasters.  The more a customer paid the less likely they put tickets in for support.

I can tell you my outsource tech support worked, but not without constant vigilance.  Hence why I had monitors dedicated to chat, so I could jump in if needed, or come through on another chat program to guide the outsource techs.  The vigilance being one of the driving factors into me desiring to leave the hosting industry.

Not all cheap companies provider Outsource Tech Support

There are companies out there that don’t offer outsource support such as Godaddy.com and Hostgator.com. I suggest looking up the results for yourself as this is a post about foreign provided support and not domestic.   That is a blog post for another day.

Having been an ex-employee of a major company whose current logo is “Save Money, Live Better”, or included advertising about “roll back prices”. Did I mention they had their employees go to competitors and write down their prices?  One of the big reasons I left them was the lack of employee benefits like insurance and money for college.  I had fulfilled my obligations to obtain these benefits.  Too bad I did not know the state I was in required these benefits for employees that work full time hours for more then three months.

The reason I bring Walmart in the mix of an Outsource post, is that low cost companies will sometimes do whatever they can to obtain a profit.  Like when Walmart bought Dead Peasant Policies on employees without their knowledge.

What is a Dead Peasant Policy?

Dead Peasant Insurance is sometimes used as a shorthand reference for life insurance policies that insure a company’s rank-and-file employees and name the company as the beneficiary. This means that the company receives the life insurance benefits when the covered employees die. This insurance may also be called “janitor insurance,” “corporate-owned life insurance,” or “COLI.”

http://deadpeasantinsurance.com/

Its the Outsource Tech’s fault(?)

I hear that a lot.  Just as I hear my mother complain about the quality of something she bought at the $ 0.99 store.  However she is willing to pay no more then a dollar for a lot of the things she gets at there.  She even goes so far as to return things that she finds defective there.  I honestly would not bother to return anything  after all it was not until 2 months ago I started going there as they started carrying my favorite energy drink for $0.79 and it usually runs $2.00 +.  Not that I have gotten anything defective from there, but if I did its just not worth my time to return anything. Its really a matter of math, in the time I spend going back to the store not to mention factors such as if I drove there or biked.  What could I use that time instead doing?

I get why people want the most for their money, but what about some realistic expectations?  After all how much are you willing to do for that $3.25 a month?   Are you willing to provide at less then a dollar a day service equal to what Pepsi pays for their hosting? Chances are that tech you complain about probable gets less then $0.01 of your hosting payment for having to help you out.  Sure there are hundreds of you on a server in order to make it profitable. Never mind that slow tech that is on chat with you may be slow because they are dealing with more then just you at that moment.

One of the things that I have seen while reviewing some 80 companies, those that use outsource support have a lot of complaints.  Endurance International Group being the owner of many of these companies.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/hosts-that-use-exposed-reviews/dont-buy-from-ipage-com-until-you-read-my-review-to-save-time-and-money.html

When I first reviewed iPage, I had this weird chat session.  Where I am asked what home page I was referring to, that had me wondering how many hosting companies this support company worked for.

Turned out it was a large company that buys out other hosting companies.  Which I found out after I reviewed a company that shared a spot in the top 10 with Justhost, which was fatcow.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/fatcow/fatcow-sucks-beware-read-this-fatcow-review-first-before-buying.html

What I find interesting is they do not know what company they are handling chat for. Though the tech on the iPage review probable told me more then I should know.

I tend to think alot of these outsourcing companies that pop up out there do little to train their employees before releasing them to companies seeking outsource support.  Several years back before starting up my 2nd company I was trying to find a support company that could do it cheaply for the second host.   Trust me I was not eager to go with a cheap outsource solution.  But as I said before it was a matter of profit.  The cheaper you go, the more people you have to put on a server to make it profitable.  The less likely a you are going to put people on state of the art technology.   If you live in a area like I do where the cost of living is comparable higher then other parts on the world, outsource support is your best bet to make your cheap hosting solution profitable.

The first company I found was a complete disaster.  This was a former software developer if I remember correctly was in India.  I tend to think this outsource solution would have been the death of my company if I did not decided to monitor chats and the company had not started up.  As the people they provided did not even have the basics of for what they were doing.  For some reasons the owner of this operation thought my company would train people who barely understood what a pc was on how to be IT experts.

Their boss collected my fee and disappeared.  No surprise but they are no longer in business and the software part. there most industrious part was shut down.  Other wise there would be a post on avoiding them.

Outsource tech support versus Affiliate Programs

The main argument behind me not being for affiliate programs that pay more then 20% of what a customer pays is very simple. Yes the payment is tax deductable.  But lets take a host gator account that a design client of mine signed up for, I sent him to a friends affilate link on the promise he told he how much he got paid.  Being the cheap skate this design client was he went with the month to month plan which was $7.96 (never mind it would have been cheaper to sign up for a year or more).  That means that it takes 13 months before any of that money is put into tech support, its all being sent to the affiliate.  That also means that until the 13th payment, not a singe penny goes towards any form of service.  There are other things that qualify as a tax deduction which are things that would improve service, such as paying a decent living wage to the tech on the other end.  After all a happy employee is a productive employee.

As much as we may try to blame affiliates, and the companies that pay them.  The real problem is not the outsourced techs, nor is it the companies that employee them.   After all lets go back the product that started this post, Organic Fair Trade Wake Up Blend coffee from Trader Joes.  This is a product that caters to people such as myself that are Tree Huggers, and concerned with the well being of others.  I am not going to be on a list of people that buy blood diamonds out of Africa knowing full well the human cost.  Hence products that carry the Fair Trade Logo, for those that would rather not have coffee or other things under slave labor conditions.  Any company will flow to an idea that brings in money, especially when people stop buying from companies that operate sweet shops.

So before you decided to yell at an outsource tech, ask yourself how much did you pay for your  hosting package.  I welcome any outsource techs that want to share their experience be they good or bad.

Seclists.org – Is anyone home?

Yeah I know Seclists.org is not a host, for that matter they are not even a review site.  This post is more of away to try and get their attention.  This is even a site that I can honestly say I respect.  But Seclists.org and the author of one of their posts have ignored my emails:

http://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2010/Oct/466

To be percise this is the exact reason I am trying to get their attention, they accuse me of:

Here is a list of Host gator google bombing with fake websites and prolifically self-aggrandizing sponsored conversations to bury negative reviews:

Based off one of my first posts: hostgator bad web host read honest hostgator review

In short he pastes part of my post:

Hostgartor.com [sic] likes to brag about numbers”, “Even though Hostgator has their own building, it does not appear they have their own server center, and they to [sic] like the first three companies I reviewed that are also using theplanet.com.”, “Even though Hostgator.com is only in number 5th position, they probable [sic] should be in the top position at webhostingstuff.com.

That is not an exact quote from my site.  For that matter the miss over the details that prove I am not “google bombing“, nor am I “prolifically self-aggrandizing sponsored conversations to bury negative reviews“.  Hostgator is not paying me to write about themTo be honest yes I was copying what those so called Google bombers have done, and those Google bombers have even accused me of such.  Over time though I have not done it so much as it gets a bit boring. While I do enjoy a good link, I would be happier if it was in a proper context.  I honestly really love it when some one is trashing me for what I am really doing.  But calling my site fake? Not so much.  This Seclists.org author did not do his research.

Seclists.org – I am not “google bombing

First off let me explain I claim to be no expert at blogging, and this site is not making me a income to live off of.  I started this because back in Oct 2007 I found a site called webhostingstuff.com that thought it was a good idea to remove my positive feed back given to my company by customers.  In short when I confronted this so called review site he blocked me from further communications. Long story short, hosting-reviews-exposed.com was born.

Which lead to the creation of this video.

 So Seclists.org do I need to show further proof?

A little after that post on Seclists.org, I got spammed from hostgator’s affiliates:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/hostgator.html

Which I am sure I will see happen again before November, and have friends that have promised to send me Hostgator’s advance warning to cj.com so I can do an advance broad cast next time.

So Seclists.org how about issuing a correction?

I can respect not liking hostgator, after all they used to be one of my competitors.   Not to mention they fuel fake review sites like webhostingstuff.com.  The person who choose to post their rant on seclists.org did not read my post in full before grouping me with others.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/unlimited-hosting/hostgator-bad-web-host-read-honest-hostgator-review.html

You would think they could at least beat Arvand.  Perhaps hostgator paid in advance for their “advertising” on webhostingstuff.com for that 5th spot. I would suggest contacting webhostingstuff.com to get a push up on those rankings, perhaps hostgator can get in a bidding war with iPage for that number 1 spot …… sorry I meant advertising Webhostingstuff.com does not “sell” rankings *eye roll*. Did I forget to mention the mysterious disappearing negative fee back.”

Perhaps my sarcasm was not evident?  I am still wetting my feet, and I make no claims at being a professional blogger. But I make it a point to read before I post links.  What I find interesting, that the only mention of webhostingstuff.com (who is doing the damage your writer was worried about) was mentioned by me.  Yet this is absent on the seclists.org post.

Come on Seclists, everyone makes a mistake so please issue a correction.

Borders – Lack of Adaption Ruined a Book Store

Today I went to Borders to see what was left, much of what is left is what few people are interested in, or the price is still to high. This is probable one of the last places you would expect to find a post about the book store Borders.  Yet the fall of this book store chain points to one thing, those who do not adapt can not expect to remain in business.

Back in my college years, I had a job that I really loved. No it was not my dream job of going through the Amazon looking for unidentified species.  It was work at a comic store.  Considering I used to be a Marvel Comics fan, it was a dream job to work for extra money for college.  This was months before the Death of Superman in the 90’s, for which I earned enough money to buy my second PC.  Given my last job was flipping burgers and working at Walmart, converting the orders of 456 customers with a large array of comic titles and comic related goods into a data base was a big step up. Their adaption turned a routine that took 6 days every month into a process that could be modified when customers ask to remove or add items to their orders.   With all that time freed up a new policy of once a week company diner meetings.  Granted most of the meetings were more or less a discussion of pop culture.

I would in time get another job as the only way to really advance in a comic store is to know how to sell, I had the buying part down.   But I am one of those people that would have trouble selling water in the desert. While this store is still up today, my dos based data base is no longer in use and they moved on to more efficient ways of processing customer’s orders.  From the time I first went to work for them they have gone through 3 store face lifts.  While I may have never have learned how to sell, I did learn a lot of what it took to manage a business.  The store’s owners told me back when I first started the two keys to their success was being diverse and adapting to their customers.  Though I have to say another part of their success was loving what they do.

How does Borders have any thing to do with hosting?

If you read enough of my reviews you will see that I do complain about design, I might go on about it being a copy of someone elses.  Or that my mother can do a better job.   I can not tell you how many sites I have looked at where the design was out dated, or worse yet they show cased software that long expired.  Software has about the same shelf life as a bag of potato chips.  So why would something stale attract me to buy?  Could you seriously buy a bag of stale chips just because the price is real low?  Some how people perceive the argument about design is a surface level argument.   But to me the design goes deeper into the heart of a company.  I am often asked would I prefer a site that is well designed or would I prefer good service.  To that I prefer a service that can prove they have skill in the very market they wish to provide service.  Design speaks volumes, in a world where to days big thing is tomorrows fad.  A web site is a companies resume, and I am not inclined to hire the person who looked like they fell out of their bed into their clothes, and can  not give me a good reason to hire them.

10 years ago Borders in Glendale Arizona was a great place to go, though this was before I started shopping on Amazon. Also I might add the store was clean. I went for the coffee and often buying cds and books. I have to say I did not buy commonly known artists from Borders as they were often $5 more then what I could get them at BestBuy. DVDs were definatly out of the question as Borders wanted most of the time $30 for a movie, where other places charged 20.  After a year it became clear the only bargains at Borders were in the clearance section.

The big Borders flaw, the pricing and the failure to adapt

I know I harp a lot on cheap hosting. Yet I do often look for the cheapest price on items such as media.  There is a big difference about bargain shopping for a movie and buying hosting.  After all the wide screen version at Best Buy is going to be the same as the one at Boarders.  With hosting you don’t really get to see the guts of what you get.  But there are somethings that do tell you, that your not getting a good deal.  10 megs of space for $20 a month is not a bargain in 2011, 2001 perhaps.   Not to mention with a world in economic turmoil, the last thing to do is the same old thing.  Sure people are going to buy books, movies, and music.  But they are more incline to bargain hunt.  I am no exception, especially since I collect nature references some of which can cost a couple hundreds (like one I have on termites).

One thing that bothered me was the membership card.   To get a discount you had to pay a fee, even though that discount did not equate to what I could get from a store that had no membership.  Unless maybe you considered your local grocery store that handed out memberships for free.  A little weird that a grocery store could beat a store like Borders on a cheaper deal.  I think it was two years ago Borders stopped charging for the membership and simply gave you one if you gave them an email. After doing so I never found any of their sales appealing.

Through the years I would still go to Borders, always for coffee and to browse through the clearance section.  But here is where I get to the clean part.  Perhaps the fabric chairs were meant to be part of the atmosphere.  But last I looked they were no longer burgundy color and more of a mud.  I am not sure they were steam cleaning these chair, but they are pretty gross now.  Perhaps they should have opted for a rubber chair that could easily be wiped down.  Perhaps not very appealing, but after ten years the excuse of paying for atmosphere is not excuse for high prices.

Which brings me to some hosts that fail in their design.   Sometimes when you dig through the sites you find things that are not bargains.  After all in some cases these hosts charge something like $25 to install word press, and $10 a month.  Never mind word press is free. Most host shared hosts use cPanel, have software (Fantastico) that installs it for you.  Yeah it can be more complex when you add widgets and other add ons or you choose to use a theme.  But most widgets are pretty self explanatory.  Or they want to charge you $20 for a domain or $75 for a ssl certificate.  For which you can get for for 1/2 the cost elsewhere.  Perhaps they are great because they can tell you how to set up your email, but are they ready to prevent modern threats.  Will they be ready for the next big thing like Word Press?

Kindle killed Borders?

I have friends that like to joke with me about my buying a Kindle killing off Borders.  Its a lot like blaming Netflicks for killing Blockbuster (though some would argue that it was Blockbuster that killed the family owned video shop), or perhaps DSL / Cable killed AOL.  But another rival to Borders, Barnes and Noble seems to have no problem with their adaption which is the Nook.  When a company fails to adapt they deserve to join Borders.

Amazon Cloud Drive – Great Idea, Poor Implementation

If your a back up nut like me, Amazon Cloud Drive seemed liked a good idea.  After all I have data all the way back to the late 80’s when I had  5.25 floppies I carried in two cases in my back pack.   Funny how all that data can fit on my smallest thumb drive and still leave ample room for more data.   The thing that lured me in was the free music storage, especially from previously bought Amazon Mp3s.  Til last month I had no idea of exactly how many mp3 albums I had purchased.  Which was 783.  It took 13 days on my home connection at .7 mbs to upload over 10,000 songs.  It seemed like I was putting toothpaste back in the tube.

The flaw with Amazon Cloud Drive

I make no excuses, I am a data horder.  Every tid bit of programming, graphic work, data base, spreed sheet, email, chat (got to love trillian), photos (digital and scanned), video, video game saves, documents, and perhaps a lot of data that could  easily be sent to eternal oblivion, and not be missed.   Over all I estimate that I have around 1 trig of data that I could not live without.  Would I pay $1,000 a year to store it?  Yes.   But the problem is folders.

One example is the photos I took for 2010.   Which are in a folder called 2010.  In it are folders labeled by month, in there are folders labeled by event (vacation, holiday, business trip) .  Last year I had 106 folders.  I do this in part because I take a lot of pictures, and don’t always label them.  Not to mention that moron cto I had at the beginning had borrowed my camera decided it was a smart thing to reset the numbering on my camera.

The fatal flaw is that Amazon Cloud Drive does not import folders.   I had contact Amazon about this and they told me:

Hello,

Thanks for your comments about uploading folders to Cloud. Customer feedback like yours really helps us continue to improve our products and provide better service to our customers. I’ve passed your suggestion to the appropriate team for consideration.

We hope to see you again soon.

I am not sure why they hope, it took me less then 30 minutes to buy something, in which case carbon for my fish tanks.  If you have read my posts frequently, you know I have love obsession when it comes to Amazon.com.  But it boggles the mind that they want to sell a product for $20 – $1,000 a year for storage, which does not upload folders.   Which means you create each folder and bulk load each picture in.  Which is a lot of mind numbing work as I have 3031 folders just in pictures.   For the amount of work it would take me to upload all of my photo’s to Amazon Cloud Drive, I might as well just get a dedicated server and upload everything by FTP.

How could Amazon, not have thought about folder uploading for Amazon Cloud drive?

I am not sure what Amazon was thinking.  Quirks like this with Amazon Cloud Drive, are what make me not want to try the hosting.  I don’t want want a reason to stop shopping at Amazon.  One of the things I noticed when I got the Kindle 2, was that instead of having page numbers, I got percentage.  It was not until the Kindle 3 that they decided to add page numbers.  Never mind I got my Kindle 2 five months before Kindle 3 came out, and it was not until last December (2010) they stopped selling the Kindle 2.  They have not released a patch for the Kindle 2 for page numbers, so like Kindle 3 readers they can read along with their paper back counter parts.

Here is hoping there is a Amazon Cloud Drive fix soon.

Who says I hate affiliate programs?

For some bizarre reason people have this feeling that I hate affiliate programs.  If you saw the post where I get “exposed”  on webhostingtalk.com you will see thats what I was accused of.

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/off-topic/hosting-reviews-exposed-com-exposed-on-webhostingtalk-com.html

Never mind there are ads on my site, some how a hypocrisy has been in the works.   Have I been using hosting affiliate programs to make a buck by making claims of some host was the best host?  Read enough of my posts and you will see that the answer to that is no.

Yes Google occasionally dishes out ads for webhosts, I actually screen a lot of the ads.  Never mind that a direct affiliate link will pay out more then what Google will pay me. There are no claims that any host despite having a affiliate program or not are a top host here. But your not going to find any where I say hate I hate affiliate programs.   I do point to a lot of affiliate programs that do payout in some cases most of or more of the initial customer payment.

There also a lot of hosts that I have reviewed that have low payouts, or no affiliate program at all.   In which case why would I do a review about a host that does not have an affiliate program if I my main focus was affiliate programs. This site is about  exposing hosting review sites, and the hosts that use them.   Some how  I have yet to encounter a so called review site that was no bias.  Either they get a paid amount for the 1  – 1o spot.  But in most cases they just go to sites like commission junction and pick out different hosting affiliate programs, or go directly to the host (which is what alreadlyhosting.com perfers).   I can’t look into the minds of host’s owners and tell you if they created the high payout affiliate programs to create a very saturated so called review industry.  I know some hosts like siteground.com and fused.com own their own so called review sites, where amazingly they are the top hosts.  It does not take much imagination to see where most so called hosting review sites got their business idea from.  In up coming months I will be looking into the ethics not to mention the legality of running a review site

So do I hate affiliate programs?

Truth be told, I like spending money more then making it.  I have a huge music obsession, not to mention my many other hobbies.  So where does the money come from?  While a big part of my income comes from graphic design,  part of it comes from affiliate programs from others sites.  There is a huge difference in what I do and what hosting review sites do, what I do is advertising.   Where you see content you might find ads from Google adsense, or banners for tigerdirect.com, Adobe, and Coral.  Companies I actually buy from.  I don’t tell you that so and so is the best, unless of coarse I actually use their product.  Any recommendations I have would be if I  actually use the product, which I do pretty often in my personal blogs.

If you read enough of my posts, I have yet to put my name behind any host. I engage in true advertising.  I don’t create a so called top list and claim that any host is a the best host.  If you read that post on webhostingtalk.com you will see jixhost.com claimed that they were advertising.  If your familiar with Google adsense, as winhost.com tried to say webhostingstuff.com was doing, where is the ppc ads at?  Advertising is not what the so called top sites call it.   Webhostingstuff.com even claims that the top 25 positions were not for sale.   While Jixhost.com (who was all over the place), did not claim they paid for the top 25 spots, they did not deny they were. They don’t want you to know that they are rather bias about who is on that list, and most of that has to do with if a host has an affiliate program or not.

To be honest I am not big on the idea of programs that pay our more then 20% of an initial sale.  From a business stand point every dollar you spend on a affiliate commission is a tax deduction.  Not every sale is going to come from affiliates, not to mention not every sale that comes from an affiliate in certain circumstances awards a commission.  Like for example, if a customer decides to go away from a page they get this pop up window that will knock off 50% off the cost of an order.

When I was a hosting provider I would rather focus on other forms of tax deduction that improved services.

Affiliate programs are not evil

I tend to think of affiliate programs as neither good or evil.  But I do blame hosts that do nothing about a top ten site that features their site.  Which have no proof a host is number one, or for that matter not even hosted with any of the top 10.   Regardless if they turn a blind eye to these sites they are still responsible for their unethical nature.

Lets face it, even without the affiliate programs the people who make review sites would be doing something else regardless of any ethical issues.   One review site that most of my efforts into actually has other ventures, which is webhostingstuff.com.  Micheal low is actually an affiliate of several other companies that are not even hosting related:

http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/webhostingstuff-com/w3centric.html

Despite his top 25 being a pay to play system, he seems to be removing it to add hosts that pay out affiliate commissions.

Either way the reform of hosting review sites don’t need to come from affiliate programs, but the hosts that turn a blind eye to their affiliates and how they bring in customers.

Bottomline is I have no issues with affiliate programs, as I am an affiliate.

Hosting-Reviews-Exposed.com – Exposed on Webhostingtalk.com

For some time now I have been meaning to write a post in regards to my feelings about affilate payments.  So far the general opinion of my critics is I am against them and I am a hypocrite.  I think now is a good as time as any to express my opinion on affiliate programs.  Last month a review site with an Alexa score of 8,000,000 + created a post on webhostingtalk.com to expose me.  For obvious reasons I am not going to point to this site, but I will point to the forum post where I was to be exposed.

http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1043419

Because of this post I have been rather busy communicating to several people, some of which have given me some interesting things to look for that I would never had thought to look for.  Which is part of the delay on getting posts out, that and there have been significant changes at webhostingstuff.com.  Frankly before this I did not have much reason to communicate on webhostingtalk.com, as I was not sure any thread I would start would be blocked or removed.  I found out about the post because of Google Alerts, and I was pretty much going to say nothing until they got off topic.  It was some how the opinion that I wanted a government hand out because of some 14 year old I allowed to make a comments on my video.  Even though I made it clear by my own comments I did not agree with the poster about having the government provide free hosting level services.

Why I don’t believe in free hosting and domains

Just in case its not enough for me to say that I believe by paying for your service, you are going to be  more inclined/obligated to actually do something.  Clearly with a hosting bill thats around $2,000 a month I am very motivated to get something out of my service.

Recently I read a post from one of the people that posted on that forum topic above that demonstrates one of the big reasons I got out of the hosting industry, and why I am not for giving out free service.

http://www.mikedvb.com/2009/08/10/are-you-a-host-jumper/

I have found in my personal dealings in the hosting industry that the less a customer pays the more they tend to expect out of the provider and the less they understand the provider/client relationship.

This is from a hosting provider with a little over a 3 years of experience running a host, granted this was in his first year. I can tell you with my 11 years of experience that that it was a fact with my first  long term company.    When I first started out I was offering packages for $500  or more a month, barely ever heard from these people.  Many of them had their own private webmaster, or paid my company for web master services.  Webmasters seem almost as rare as blacksmiths these days. By 2005 we started offering a $1.99 package. On average clients that paid $1.99 a month were 6 times more likely to submit a ticket then a customer that paid $25.99 a month, $1.99 a month customers were 14 times more likely then someone that pays $49.99.  Its one of those facts my business partners over looked as they sought to compete with cheaper/unlimited markets.

I think it was 2006 when one of my companies started a 90 day free trial, which I can tell you was the start of me wanting to get out of the hosting business.  It was not so much that we were giving service away for free, but that these people would make us work for a probable sale only to cancel at the end of 90 days and run off to another company that offered a similar trial, off the top of my head I would say a lose rate of over 70%.   Generally if they stayed they did not upgrade to anything beyond the 1.99 month plan.   At this point I adopted the theory that at least 5% of all customers were evil, and perhaps only because of good genes I still have all my hair.  That or killing the 90 day free trial after 14 months is what saved my hair.

Any way back to webhostingtalk.com

I decided to make a response that was non-aggressive as possible, and I was aware before I posted my first response that this was a review site who lanched a debate against me, and decided not to point that out.  I wanted someone else to point that out. By the end of the post I think it became clear how little the person who had started the complaint understood the hosts he had called top 10.  His research involved copying someone else’s top 10 list, and that was the sum of his efforts over a 3 month period of time to make a 3 page site.   He also was not aware that his host used the same data center as hostgator.com.

And review sites like mine research, find and then list the best top 10 hosting providers. That way they save their time and able to find the best suitable host.

I guess some Small/mid size hosts do not like review sites because they don’t see their site in the top 10 list.

By that statement he has clearly ruled out seeing if  small to mid size hosts are viable options, which I think was his biggest mistake.    What he admitted to only proved why you should not trust his list.

No, i have not used any host in the list.

and

I have taken the list from some other review site

Doing just as much research on me as the very hosts he claims are top hosts he claims:

1. he is a hypocrite. According to him affiliate marketing is evil but himself making money with adsense and affiliate marketing. you can see banners at his website.
2. He is making his living by bashing others. I am not a regular member of his blog so can’t say how accurate his finding are.

The very meaning of the word hypocrite:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocrite

A person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Here is what my site does:

  • Busting review sites that created top 10 lists based off of companies that offer only high affiliate payouts.
  • Busting hosts who spam.
  • Busting hosts that own their own top review list, only to appear on the top of their own list.
  • Busting review sites that take payments under the table to claim a host a is a top host.
  • Busting hosts that pay review sites regardless if they earned the right to be a top host.
  • Busting hosts that appear in top 10 sites because they offer a high a affiliate payout.
  • Busting review sites that have other devious practices of making money, more about that in a later post.

To be a hypocrite, I would have to do what I am exposing.

Now to be clear I have no issues with affilate programs, as I am a member of several, some of which are through Commison Junction (cj.com).

This is where I try shamelessly to encourage you to buy something.

When it comes to the Amazon Kindle I like to think of myself as a walking billboard for a reason to buy one.  I got mine as a gift to myself for selling off my first hosting company.   Partially because before I got into webhosting I used to read tons of books, some times as many as 20 in a month.  But as 2009 came to a close I realized that my most extensive reading came from reading contracts, terms of service, and customer/supplier emails.   Customers emails can sometimes be entertaining I will admit, but I had not read a single book by the time  my Kindle arrived on November 30, 2009.  The first book I choose to try and finish off was Stepehen King’s Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, Book 4).   I had actually bought it in hard back, then paper back, and from another ereader on Dell’s abondoned Axim hand held device.   Honestly the first 3 books were the best in that series, the 4th was the worst with its long winded back story.  The last three were ok, but I proable would not have finished if not for the first three books.

While I am not back to reading 20 books a month, I have a digital library of over 264 books.   I do catch a chance to read.  While I can also read the same book and keep my place between my iPad and Kindle, I much prefer to read from the Kindle as the battery life far surpasses the iPad, not to mention I can not read my iPad in the sun.

I recommend the 3g model over the wifi version if you travel like I do.  While I have the Kindle2 3g, I got to try out the Kindle 3 with wifi that I got my brother for his graduation.  I found it some what annoying to set up the connection.  But the print was finer, thinner, lighter then the Kindle 2.  I might actually get the 3 later on to have a Kindle to leave in my car.  Not to mention the Kindle 3 actually has page numbers where as the 2 does not ( I am not sure why it does not).   But I will defiantly purchase 4.

Currently I am reading The Elfstones of Shannara.

Back to Webhostingtalk.com, do I hate affiliate programs?

The above is an example of actually promoting a product that was actually used.   If you need more reasons to actually buy a Kindle I will happily give you more reasons to do so.  What I hate is review sites that tell you that a host is one of the top 10 best hosts out there, yet they never tried any of the hosts they recommend.  Just like the host that thought they were exposing me on webhostingtalk.com.  10 hosts, and the one host he was using was not on that list.   Never mind that the payout for the company he was with was just as big as the companies he had listed.  It would have made more sense if he actually promoted them.  Granted there are many sites out there that promote only one host, but they don’t really tell you what they actually have hosted unless of coarse its the very site that tells you to host with the host they are promoting.  One paticular hostgator.com affilate comes to mind that does nothing more then spew out details about every faucet of what makes hostgator.com, it seems more of a f.a.q. section then a affiliate.

The bottom line is unlike Consumer Reports who tests countless products, the review sites offer no proof that you should trust their opinion, they ask you not to kick the tires so to speak.   They throw up a few details and try to tell you they have other reasons that they don’t list.  Unlike these sites,  I want to compel you to kick the tires and ask questions, there is a point where a little skepticism is a healthy thing.  After all if it came to actually buying  a car are you going to let the sales person pick the car for you?

Now to be honest I can’t say I get much enjoyment out of making money, but I sure do enjoy spending it.  I think affiliate programs can help to promote products.  Like say a band that I really love but I don’t think gets enough exposure such as Faithless.   If there is anything I hate about affiliate programs is those that payout as much or more then what a customer paid.  I actually plan to talk with an accountant about this to see how this effects the taxes a hosting company pays.

On Webhostingtalk.com I was called a hypocrite, is that true?

In order to be a hypocrite I would have to engage in the same activities that I am trying to bust other companies for. While I have Google Adsense and affiliate programs for non-hosting related items up, you are not going to see me put my name behind any host with out actually using their service and a lot of work to prove why.  Granted its been a year of blogging and I have yet to find a company I would fully endorse. I am willing to tell people who I use and why they are adaquate and why I am not happy with them (Media Temple, Rackspace, and Theplanet (bought by softlayer)).  I’ll even tell you who I have used, and why I would never use them again  (Burst.net and Layered Tech).

 

Epsilon.com – Let the Phishing begin in 3 or more months

If your like me your getting an email from some one that tells you that their email data base with epsilon.com has been compromised.  So far I have gotten emails from Usbank.com, chase.com, bestbuy.com and walgreens.com.  Before this week I did not know the name epsilon, yet now I see it all over the news, and I am still getting emails.

I am not even sure why usbank.com still has my email as I left them because they refused to provide me a letter on USbank stationary for my merchant stating an account was mine, and the merchant is owned by the same company.   Elavon (formerly Nova) told me to do what usbank.com refuse to do.  The fastest thing they could do was to wait 2 – 3 weeks for some checks to come in for an account that I did not want debit cards or checks tied to (a deposit only account).   What was even faster was to close my accounts and take all of the money to another bank that had no problem typing up a letter on company stationary saying and account was mine (50 minutes arguing and canceling my account with usbank, 10 minutes to drive to another bank and 20 minutes to open the account and get the letter).  You would think after 2 years they would not have my email address.  Nor would you think they would tell an ex-customer “As a valued U.S. Bank customer, we want to make you aware of a situation that has occurred related to your email address.”  Then walgreens.com got my email because I had them print some digital pictures.  If anything I am bothered by the fact that Chase.com is one of the people effected by this epsilon.com.  But then again, why would a bank trust your information with a third party such as epsilon.com?

But I think the real opportunity is being missed by Epsilon.com and every other company effected by this data theft, and that is to make phishing a more commonly known issue.

Chase.com contacts me about Epsilon.com

Chase does some what of an effort, but its almost as if they do not want to draw attention to the fact that of what those emails + names could be used for:

Chase is letting our customers know that we have been informed by Epsilon, a vendor we use to send e-mails, that an unauthorized person outside Epsilon accessed files that included e-mail addresses of some Chase customers. We have a team at Epsilon investigating and we are confident that the information that was retrieved included some Chase customer e-mail addresses, but did not include any customer account or financial information. Based on everything we know, your accounts and confidential information remain secure. As always, we are advising our customers of everything we know as we know it, and will keep you informed on what impact, if any, this will have on you.

We apologize if this causes you any inconvenience. We want to remind you that Chase will never ask for your personal information or login credentials in an e-mail. As always, be cautious if you receive e-mails asking for your personal information and be on the lookout for unwanted spam. It is not Chase’s practice to request personal information by e-mail.

As a reminder, we recommend that you:

  • Don’t give your Chase OnlineSM User ID or password in e-mail.
  • Don’t respond to e-mails that require you to enter personal information directly into the e-mail.
  • Don’t respond to e-mails threatening to close your account if you do not take the immediate action of providing personal information.
  • Don’t reply to e-mails asking you to send personal information.
  • Don’t use your e-mail address as a login ID or password.

The security of your information is a critical priority to us and we strive to handle it carefully at all times. Please visit our Security Center at chase.com and click on “Fraud Information” under the “How to Report Fraud.” It provides additional information on exercising caution when reading e-mails that appear to be sent by us.

Sincerely,
Patricia O. Baker
Senior Vice President
Chase Executive Office

Walgreens.com contacts me about Epsilon.com

Walgreens does a slightly better effort then Chase to inform what could happen with the information that was stolen

Dear Valued Customer,

On March 30th, we were informed by Epsilon, a company we use to send emails to our customers, that files containing the email addresses of some Walgreens customers were accessed without authorization.

We have been assured by Epsilon that the only information that was obtained was your email address. No other personally identifiable information was at risk because such data is not contained in Epsilon’s email system.

For your security, we encourage you to be aware of common email scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Walgreens will not send you emails asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. If ever asked for this information, you can be confident it is not from Walgreens.

We regret this has taken place and any inconvenience this may have caused you. If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact us at 1-855-814-0010. We take your privacy very seriously, and we will continue to work diligently to protect your personal information.

Sincerely,

Walgreens Customer Service Team

Epsilon only lost emails?

If you read all these emails, the only thing that sounds like that was taken was your email address.  However Epsilon’s own site says:

IRVING, TEXAS – April 1, 2011 – On March 30th, an incident was detected where a subset* of Epsilon clients’ customer data were exposed by an unauthorized entry into Epsilon’s email system. The information that was obtained was limited to email addresses and/or customer names only. A rigorous assessment determined that no other personal identifiable information associated with those names was at risk. A full investigation is currently underway.

http://www.epsilon.com/News%20&%20Events/Press_Releases_2011/Epsilon_Notifies_Clients_of_Unauthorized_Entry_into_Email_System/p1057-l3

Why is it that only Epsilon tells you and “The information that was obtained was limited to email addresses and/or customer names only.”   Despite what the companies that use Epsilon say, more then email was taken, worst of all part of that data may be your name.


Epsilon.com only lost my email and name, so what? right?

If your like my mom, your going to think it was just your email, maybe even your name.  But what can they do with that? After all thats what Epsilon.com tells the companies that use their service was compromised.  But what they are not telling you is the value of those email address, and perhaps your name to someone that does not have your best interests at heart.  This is one of those things that could come back later to haunt you.   Its not like who ever stole your information will use it today, or even tomorrow.  Maybe not next week, but perhaps months after you forget about this.  Your going to get an email that tells you that there is a problem with your account.  Please click here, enter in your name, address, social security number, who your third grade teacher was, the name of your pet, credit card numbers, bank numbers, and what ever else they can get from you to steal your identity.  As a former hosting provider, I can not begin to explain how big of a problem phishing is.  But I can tell you there just is not enough talk out there on prevention.

I get email all the time from companies that I have never done business with.  But I do get emails that try to phish for my details from companies I do use.   Lets take for example I play World of Warcraft.  One pretty common piece of Phishing I have seen is I get an email telling me my account has been banned for x reason. Funny thing is last time I got one of these emails while  I was playing the account when I got that notice. Got to love having a multi-monitor system where you can game and read email at the same time.  The problem is the  email came from China, and the domain that I am supposed to go to was recently purchased.  So it was not Blizzard.com contacted me, or I would not been able to play.  Another problem is they don’t know my name.  Granted not everyone that got that email plays World of Warcraft, like my mom.  While she knows that I play, she thinks for some bizarre reason Blizzard is going to contact her to tell her I have been banned.  So she will of coarse forward me this phishing spam, then try to call me or chat to “help” me out.

I can’t tell me how much that worries me, because she thinks if things are on the web then they are true.  I have yet to meet a doctor she has not tried to prove wrong because someones blog ran counter to her doctor’s years of training and experience.    I have had the talk with her that she needs to avoid emails that tell her to click on links.  Also that Blizzard.com does not know her, or that we are related.  Also that thousands if not millions of people that do not play World of Warcraft got the same email.  But what would help me is if the companies effected by data theft would tell her what could happen.

What Epsilon.com and every company thats emailing you should tell you about phishing

Here is what phishtank.com say phishing is:  “Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to get you to provide personal information, including but not limited to, account information.

Its not always by email,  which is why I say it was a problem as webhost.  Someone might buy a hosting account under one name, then later host a domain that is similar to whom they are trying to mimic.  Like world of warcarft.  Hence why I did random audits from time to time.   I strongly encourage anyone that does not understand phishing to visit:

http://www.phishtank.com/what_is_phishing.php

PhishTank is a free community site where anyone can submit, verify, track and share phishing data.  Their words not mine, but it sums it up on what they do.

Its also one of the tools I used in verifying orders.   But while they have an impressive data base, their not going to know every site that is trying to scam you for information.

If you are not 100% certain that the email was sent to you by the company you do business with:

1. Go directly to their website. Do not Click on the links in the email your not 100% sure of to get to the website.
2. Call them.

Also keep in mind the advice that Chase sent me:

  • Don’t give your User ID or password in e-mail.
  • Don’t respond to e-mails that require you to enter personal information directly into the e-mail.
  • Don’t respond to e-mails threatening to close your account if you do not take the immediate action of providing personal information.
  • Don’t reply to e-mails asking you to send personal information.
  • Don’t use your e-mail address as a login ID or password.

If you do go to the site that you were at first confident with, but it asks for details such as banking information, your social security number, and other details I suggest stopping there and contacting the company in question directly.

I still have to ask why does a bank have to use a third party like Epsilon.

Mindshark.ca – Seo Marketing Experts or Spammers? Part 1

Mindshark.ca seems to think this is a business.  Keep in mind it took more than 3 years for this site to make enough money to cover its own monthly bill.  So far my experience has been the people either come here to look for a host or to complain about a host.   The most bizarre request is from hosts that don’t use fake reviews,  is to get me to do a review on them.  You would think the last person they would ask to write something would not be me – the guy that has bad things to say about the very hosts that he uses.  But in the end, the people that are looking for a host are disappointed because I don’t recommend anyone, and the people that come here to complain are not inclined to buy.

So why the rage with Mindshark.ca?

Back when I first started I had asked a friend to set me up a contact form, I am not known for my non-graphic web skills which are still lacking, requiring me to pay for professionals.  Keep in mind I have stated this site makes enough to pay for its hosting, but it’s not paying for experts I bring in to assist me.  Anyway getting back to that contact form.   It was set up to send to a Gmail account, one in which only my YouTube account was sending mail to.  So after adding the contact form, there is only one way to get my Gmail account, and that is used by the contact form.  Mindshark.ca used a third party “overseas” to Phish/harvest my email.  After a contact with me, they added me to their mailing list.  Once again I did not opt-in or authorize the use of this email address for their marketing/spam purposes.   This week I got tired of them sending email to the Gmail account I use exclusively for hosting-reviews-exposed.com.  Here is the comment I got when I gave them 24 hours to remove my email or suffer a review and complaint to netfirms (funny didn’t I just do a post about them last month http://hosting-reviews-exposed.com/endurance-international-group/netfirms-com.html).  Here is the response I got this response from Zamir of Mindshark.ca:

You are off the list. Cheers 🙂

FYI you did opt in on August 9th   thx

———————————————-

Zamir Javer
Mindshark Marketing
1.877.MSHARK  1 xtn 730
www.mindshark.ca

My response:

Bullshit, I have the emails to prove that your full of it.  I will be filing a complaint with netfirms and my own review of your site.

Yes that’s right, I used profanity.  I did not opt in, I did not authorize them to use my email to spam or market to.  Frankly, I was a little tame in my response.  But I am not about to be treated like I “forgot” that I signed up for their spam.

I get the following response from Zamir of mindshark.ca,

What emails….please send so we can review.

My response:

You can review them with everyone else on my blog.  Your company contacted me by my forum when I responded to someone in your company you added my email without my permission to your mailing list.  Hence you are spamming.   Benjamin of hosting-reviews-exposed.com

Zamir of Mindshark.ca response:

I have reviewed your site.  You are an extortionist company like ripoffreport etc.

We are an internet marketing firm.   We have not done anything wrong.  If you have further questions please direct them to me and I would be happy to respond and address any concerns.

Yes, I am a terrible person, I told him I would do a review and report him to his upstream provider if they did not remove my email from their mailing a list.  An email that I did not authorize/opt in for them to spam me.  But why did they bring up ripoffreport?

http://www.ripoffreport.com/computer-marketing-companies/mindshark-marketing/mindshark-marketing-mindshark-f2ed7.htm

Its a bit difficult to read, but it appears that this person also had their email harvest and on top of that their cell phone number.

Ripoffreport.com may very well be extorting, after all, they do offer a paid service to deal with a complaint.  I on the other hand only offer a chance to plead your case on my blog, I offer no service to clean up a complaint.  But I guess on the surface because I placed a few ads in hopes of re-cooping my costs, it appears I am in the business of extortion.

So my response:

Zamir,

You’re a bit full of yourself, but I have to wonder what ripoffreport has on your company.   Thanks for the material.  Your company did harvest my email through my contact page.   Your an idiot and so is David Abramovici  (the dumbass that thought it would be a good idea to add my email to your list) to think I had my sights on your company as your not a host or a hosting review site.  But I really passionately hate spam, and you have the nerve to say I opted into your list.  You can call me an extortionist because you glanced at my site, but the truth is you have no idea who I am.

By the way, netfirms is moving to the U.S.

Regards,
Benjamin

Here is where Zamir of mindshark.ca admits it without knowing it that they are spamming:

Yes I know netfirms is moving.  Lol I have no clue what this conversation is about any longer.

Anyways….we do use a lead generation company from overseas.

IT seems maybe they are the ones that did something on your site,  If you can forward whatever info they sent we can review to try and forward it and put a stop to this.

We hate spam with a passion as well and do not engage in any of it.

thx

I have my reason for mentioning netfirms, which sometimes I might explain to him.  But here is the point where Mindshark.ca admits they are not the marketing experts that they claim to be because they used a “a lead generation company from overseas“.  Translation they did not gather the emails themselves, nor did they make sure they were opt-in.  There is no integrity to the list, and so far there seems like two complaints that prove this.

Just to be clear if you purchase a list from a third party to gather your contacts, that does not free you from spam complaints.  If anything its more damning.

My response:

Zamir,

Now you’re telling me that your not even sure if people have opted in because you used a third party.  When I owned hosting companies I did not accept that as an excuse.  For that matter, if they could not prove their system was double opt-in after a spam complaint their account was shut down.  Seriously if I were you I would get rid of your existing mailing list and start from scratch.  After all, you sent your mailouts to me when I did not request or opt-in to your service.  Nor would I have reason to do so, if I needed marking assistance, which is not something I need for this site I would contact my previous business partners.

I am not going to send you the emails that were sent to me, you can find it when it hits my blog along with these wonderful emails you keep sending me, sorry but I don’t take kindly to being called an extortionist.  After all the only thing I asked for was to be removed from your list.

As for what netfirms moving has to do with this conversation…….

Regards,

Benjamin

Zamir of mindshark.ca tries to deflect the facts:

Thanks for your email.  Again as I stated earlier.  We get hit with spam ourselves and we do not engage in any spam ourselves.   If there is any email or information you feel is spam related we would be happy to review it.  You are in our system as an optin from a third party lead source.

I understand you business relies on this type of thing to keep you busy with posts etc.  However I am extending our offer to assist you in whatever you are looking for.  If your intention is to keep responding with vulgarities please refrain.

However if you do have any requests for information or would like us to review any matter we are more than happy to help“.

I would like to think that my last response to mindshark.ca covers that:

Zamir,

If this was a business it would have failed miserably, its taken 3 years to finale start paying for its own hosting.  A post on your site would go against the grain of what my site is about.  But you do not realize that a post about your site has nothing to do with web hosting.  Though I guess I can work on the angle of how netfirms will deal with you once I send my complaint.  But the truth is, my feedback on hosts that use fake review sites discourages people from buying, a wonderful business model when you want people to buy.   Coming up with assumptions that I do what I do just for money is at best a poor defense for your spamming me.

Your receiving spam has nothing to do with the fact that you spammed me. I am doing a post because you have indeed spammed me, I did not -REPEAT- I did not authorize or opted for mail outs under this email address.   Therefore any mail out sent to me from you is SPAM.  Use of a  third party does not liberate you from any spam complaints, as clearly the netfirms terms of service indicates.

As for vulgarities, there were none in my last response.  Should you not have stated that when I called you an idiot, or when I said what you were saying was bullshit, or that David Abramovici is a dumbass.  The world can see exactly how many vulgarities I have used which has been very restrained.

Looking forward to another email where you defend the use of mail-outs to people that did not opt into your list because you used a third party “overseas” to collect peoples emails.  While telling me that I am being vulgar and extorting you.  By the way if I was extorting you I would have asked for a lot more then removing me from your list.  Your claim that I opted in has been rejected.  Furthermore the use of a third party to get emails has proven that your mailing list is tainted with other people that did not opt-in.

You can of course continue to lay the blame on me by stating

  1. I opted in.  (which you have already shed doubt on this claim of yours).
  2. I am an extortionist (for which the only thing I asked for was to be removed from your list).
  3. I am doing an article for my business.(despite it being totally off topic for my site).
  4. Complain about my limited vulgarities. (which honestly who would not be vulgar with a spammer).

And you can suffer more complaints then just mine, as I will be providing an outlet for other people that experienced the same thing as me.  Not to mention information how to register their complaints.

Or you can start your list from scratch and make sure you double opt-in your contacts.

Regards,

Benjamin

Because I typed this from my phone I over repeated some details, but I think it serves the purpose of getting my point across.  Anyway, I did not hear from Zamir of Mindshark.ca again.

Do you have a spam complaint against Mindshark.ca?

First off I enter the domain mindshark.ca into http://centralops.net/co/DomainDossier.aspx

To find out where mindshark.ca is hosting in most cases the network whois will tell you where to send abuse complaints.

The whois tells me that they are with netfirms, it also tells me they are just a little over a year old I will have fun with this on another post where I will discuss mindsharks.ca’s seo skills.  But another thing is mindshark.ca appears to have recently moved to netfirms.com.

So if mindshark.ca harvested/phished for your email like they did mine, I suggest sending the mailout they sent you to [email protected]

You’re also more than welcome to place your own complaints in the comments area of this post.

Two more posts on mindshark.ca are in the works to show the email,  I am currently waiting on netfirms and I am hoping to get a contact from a spam expert before I do the second post on mindshark.