Optimism, Revisited – or – Do People Still Get Married?

I recently finished upgrading the design of studioIG.com. If you ever need an honest artistic wedding photographer in Israel, look no further. Make sure you check out the revamped website, if not for the Jewish weddings photos – then for the gay Jewish wedding photos:

Official Website of Studio IG Photography | studioig.com

Other samples of my web work can be found here.

Why frgdr.com Changed Its Hosting Provider from Yahoo to GoDaddy – Follow-up #1

I recently transferred my hosting from Yahoo to GoDaddy and elaborated on the reasons that led me to this inevitable move after a couple of years of gradually increasing disappointments from the Sunnyvale company.

As somewhat of a computer geek, I never thought I would need assistance from the customer support department, and never thought it to be a factor in choosing a hosting provider. Unfortunately, the two times I had to contact Yahoo I was shocked that a corporate giant like them would allow its customer support to function this poorly. With offshoring, ridiculous salaries and meaningless mandatory responding times, the old saying resonates: You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

To grant you an unbiased opportunity to know Yahoo without the dubious honor of becoming their customer, I am posting here the entire six emails that span only one incident. I believe reading it is worth your time. Please note the dates and try to imagine the level of frustration one reaches when waiting for a reply and getting a Yahoo instead.


Email #1:
From: frgdr.com
To: Yahoo! Web Hosting
Subject: Banning IPs and or .htaccess
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 14:31:06

Hello Yahoo people!

Now that my site is up and running for a while, I wanted to know how can I keep certain IP addresses off it, as I have started seeing Spiders that do not follow the robots.txt file.

Appreciate your prompt reply by email,
Shahar Golan.


Reply #1:
From: Yahoo! Web Hosting
To: frgdr.com
Subject: Re: Banning IPs and or .htaccess
Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2005 10:43:12

Hello Shahar,
Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Web Hosting.

As I understand from your mail, you need information regarding keeping away IP addresses.

In order for us to better assist you, we require some additional information. Please reply to this message and describe all of the actions you took that led up to the problem — include any of the following relevant information. The more information we have, the better able we will be to investigate this issue.

* Your Yahoo! ID
* Your domain name
* A clear and detailed description of the problem
* The exact steps you took before the problem occurred, and the text of any error message you received

I look forward to your reply.
Regards,
Wilson
Yahoo! Customer Care


Email #2:
From: frgdr.com
To: Yahoo! Web Hosting
Subject: Re: Banning IPs and or .htaccess
Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2005 11:10:24

Hi!
Thanks for the prompt reply, although I must say I am getting a bit annoyed by the Yahoo employees’ over use of semi-automatic answers :(

I will answer your automatic questions, although you could have retrieved them from the original post:
* Your Yahoo! ID: [redacted] (but you know that already)
* Your domain name: frgdr.com (but you know that already)
* A clear and detailed description of the problem: How can I keep certain IP addresses off my site.
* The exact steps you took before the problem occurred, and the text of any error message you received: If you read the original post, you could have understood no steps were taken by me, I JUST NEED TO KNOW HOW TO BAN CERTAIN IP ADDRESSES, as I encountered spiders that do not follow my robots.txt file.

If you need further information, or just want me to repeat myself for your own amusement, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Shahar Golan,
a soon-to-be unsatisfied customer.


Reply #2:
From: Yahoo! Web Hosting
To: frgdr.com
Subject: Re: Banning IPs and or .htaccess
Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2005 15:35:05

Hello Shahar,
Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Web Hosting. I hope this email will answer your question.

As I understand your concern is about getting a static IP address for your Web Hosting Starter account.

I would like to inform you that Yahoo! Web Hosting does not provides static IP address for the domain name. Yahoo! provides dynamic IP address for all the domain names.

Please do not hesitate to reply if you need further assistance.
Regards,
Chad
Yahoo! Customer Care


Email #3:
From: frgdr.com
To: Yahoo! Web Hosting
Subject: Re: Banning IPs and or .htaccess
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 2005 09:49:10

Hello Chad,
 Hello Wilson,
  Hello Brad,
   Hello Gibson!

Thank you all for giving me the precious opportunity to write to the Yahoo Customer Care team. I really cherish these moments we spend together, and if you don’t mind my saying – it make me feel you really DO care about your customers – what with the frequent corresponding I can honestly say I have found true pen pals.

Now, let us assume I was not looking for friends, but for actual service, how would the Yahoo people respond?
Let me refer you to a nice page I found by a small company called Yahoo:
http://docs.yahoo.com/info/values/
The page quotes the company values, words that may feel strange to you: excellence, innovation, and customer fixation – to name a few.
It seems to me all the people at the Yahoo Customer Care decided to focus on the last value: fun – and indeed, they are goofing off out there playing around with customers.

Now, assuming you read this far, there is a chance you are genuinely, honestly interested in answering my question – which I will now repeat for the third time:

————————————————-
————————————————-
————————————————-
————————————————-
————————————————-
HOW CAN I BAN CERTAIN IPs FROM ACCESSING MY SITE.
————————————————-
————————————————-
————————————————-
————————————————-
————————————————-

If you:
1. Have no idea what I am talking about
2. Do not have any technical knowledge
3. Do not know what banning is
4. Do not know what .htaccess is
5. Do not speak English
– then please forward this email to a representative who does.

Your never-meant-to-be-your Friend,
Shahar.


Reply #3:
From: Yahoo! Web Hosting
To: frgdr.com
Subject: Re: Banning IPs and or .htaccess
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 2005 11:17:51

Hello Shahar,
Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Web Hosting. I hope this email will answer your question.

As I understand you want to:
1) ban certain IP address to access your web site, and
2) use .htaccess for your web site.

For both the issues: 1) & 2) We’re sorry, the feature you are mentioning is not currently available through Yahoo! Web Hosting and we do not have an estimated date as to when or if it will be available. However, we’ll pass your comments on to our Development team for further consideration.
We are always looking for ways to make Yahoo! Web Hosting more useful to our users, and we will be sure to keep your question in mind as we continue to make improvements to our service.

Please do not hesitate to reply if you need further assistance.
Regards,
Chad
Yahoo! Customer Care

Why frgdr.com Changed Its Hosting Provider from Yahoo to GoDaddy

Warning, GEEKY POST! Move on, folks, nothing to see here!
Unlike my regular posts about life, liberty and the pursuit of decent hummus, this is a pretty rare post intended for the technically savvy only, so do not bore yourself if webmastering is not your cup of tea. Read some other stuff here.

Okay, now the fact that you can actually read this post means that I was successful in changing a hosting provider from Yahoo.com to GoDaddy.com and I will discuss my reasons here:

When I first registered my website on August 2005 I wanted to host it with a company that:
1. Is recognized and respected and would not vanish after a couple of months
2. Has a large clientele thus its customer support would be good.
3. Is located outside Israel for security reasons (both cyber-attacks and actual real-life attacks)
4. Would offer a good value for its price.
For all these reasons I chose Yahoo Hosting Starter plan: US$12/month. 5GB disk space, 200GB data transfer.

I gradually became disillusioned with Yahoo, but it took quite a bit of time. It seemed the more I knew of the company – the less I liked my decision to work with them. The reasons to leave Yahoo started piling up:
1. A couple of months after I launched my website, I wanted to configure .htaccess to stop unruly bots from accessing it. This is when I learned that Yahoo does not allow its customers to configure that, amongst many other advanced features disabled by Yahoo.
2. To get a straight ‘No, we don’t provide it’ answer about .htaccess took the Yahoo customer support no less than two days and three emails, as the offshore employees are forced to reply using scripted answers. I have posted the whole torture-through-emails correspondence as a follow-up to this post – make sure you read it as it is well worth your time.
3. Yahoo’s over-zealous cooperation with the Chinese government became clearer as the number of human rights violations facilitated by its branches grew.
4. In May 2007 I launched a blog, only to find out Yahoo provides a crippled and outdated version of WordPress, with no easy way to upgrade it.
5. I became acquainted with GoDaddy when a client of mine needed me to design a website for him and he had already had a GoDaddy account. When I needed some DNS-related help and emailed GoDaddy’s customer support department, I was amazed at how fast the reply came (just a couple of hours later), how human it sounded and how helpful and accurate it was. That got me thinking why the heck am I paying four times as much as the equivalent GoDaddy Economy Plan costs: US$4/month. 5GB disk space, 250GB data transfer.
A couple of months later when I inquired about transferring my own website to GoDaddy.com, the answers were just as fast, just as accurate.
6. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a recent event when for three weeks thousand of websites (including mine) were down, producing on-again-off-again Error 500s. The good people at Yahoo were gracious enough to tell me they are ‘aware of it’ – but did not elaborate on the cause for the incident or their estimated time to fix the problem. Also, once the problem was fixed no notification was sent from Yahoo and no restitution was offered.

So now frgdr.com is happily hosted here, and hopefully this is a beginning of a beautiful partnership. We have upgraded to the latest WordPress version, started using web2.0 folksonomy tags, and are in a good mood for further site improvements.

…And now back to your previously scheduled blogging.

HotOrNot for Über-Geeks

You probably remember how addictive was rating girls on HotOrNot.com a while back. A recently launched NYC Jelly project compares website design by showing you a screen capture of two homepages at a time, and lets you pick the winner. It is the ultimate HotOrNot for geeks and it is called CommandShift3.

Besides being utterly addictive, it is a great way to check out the current Web2.0 trends. At this moment in time, these are the best and worst designed websites:

All Time Best And Worst Website Design (as of January 4th, 2008) - CommandShift3.com