Hostgator web hosting review - Bad ( theft warning )

Now don?t get me wrong, I was really satisfied when I moved from my previous web hosting services to hastgator.com, I?ve even started to refer friends online and offline to hostagtor hosting services ? until yesterday.

I was checking the SE rank for a client?s website on google and I noticed that it dropped down way far, HEK!

Started a new tab and navigated to that site and while it was loading I was like ? hmmm what on e?? & just before I was able to process that thought, the site loaded and holy gator! It?s a parked domain!

Why How When?i?reviewed?everything

Checked the cpanel of that site? no problem

Checked the Billing system for any pending payments ? no problem

Checked my emails for notifications from hostgator ? nothing at all

What on earth went wrong!? I remember renewing for a one year for that domain and it was working like a charm last time I checked!

I initiated a chat with the so called live support to investigate further more, below is the chat script:

Welcome to GatorChat!
You are being connected to a representative in our 'Technical Support' department right now.

For immediate answers to your questions, check out our knowledge base and video tutorials at?http://support.hostgator.com.

Your Chat ID is xxxxxxxx


(8:58:32 AM)?System: There currently is 1 person in front of you.
There are currently 64 chat technicians assisting customers.

(8:58:38 AM)?System: There currently is 1 person in front of you.
There are currently 64 chat technicians assisting customers.

(8:58:49 AM)?System: There currently are 0 people in front of you.
There are currently 64 chat technicians assisting customers.

(8:58:51 AM)?Charles Sa: has entered the chat.

(8:58:52 AM)?Charles Sa: Hello, welcome to HostGator Live Chat. My name is Charles I will be glad to assist you today.

(8:58:58 AM)?Moe: Hi Charles

(8:59:03 AM)?Charles Sa: Hello.

(8:59:12 AM)?Moe: I have a problem with the domain name xxxxxxxx.com

(8:59:22 AM)?Moe: are you able to open the site ?

(8:59:46 AM)?Charles Sa: The domain looks like it is expired one moment please

(8:59:58 AM)?Moe: but i paid that already!

(9:00:40 AM)?Charles Sa: One moment please. I apologize for any delay.

(9:00:58 AM)?Moe: np

(9:01:44 AM)?Charles Sa: thank you

(9:07:31 AM)?Charles Sa: Thank you for waiting I am still working on this for you. Please allow me a few more moments.

(9:08:03 AM)?Moe: np, the only problem now is this is a client's website

(9:08:32 AM)?Moe: and because of the problem i have lost some SE rankings

(9:08:54 AM)?Moe: now how would hostgator make it up for me?

(9:09:05 AM)?Charles Sa: Okay one moment please

(9:12:49 AM)?Charles Sa: Okay I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience the domain is in redemption status at this time, more information on redemption can be viewed here?http://support.hostgator.com/articles/domain-names/understanding-domain-registration

(9:14:03 AM)?Moe: sorry but i believe i have paid the bill and it was up and running with no problem

(9:14:11 AM)?Moe: i even renewed it for a year

(9:14:50 AM)?Moe: i wasn?t even notified that enom took it .

(9:15:25 AM)?Charles Sa: All domains are registered through enom.

(9:16:03 AM)?Moe: With all respect Charles, i dont care.

(9:16:11 AM)?Moe: i purchased the domain from hostgator

(9:16:18 AM)?Moe: Hostgator should be responsible

(9:18:33 AM)?Charles Sa: The reason the domain went in to redemption is you did pay the domain fees but did not inform us of the renew.

(9:18:53 AM)?Moe: excuse me ?

(9:19:02 AM)?Moe: inform you!?

(9:19:11 AM)?Moe: you have a billing system

(9:19:32 AM)?Moe: if your billing system fails to inform you, this isn't my problem

(9:20:25 AM)?Moe: i dont want to go back and forth with this, is hostgator going to fix this problem or shall i leave?

(9:21:08 AM)?Charles Sa: I'd be glad to create a ticket to escalate this issue to our sales department for you, but I myself cannot give any immediate solution to this problem.

Funny me yeah yeah ?how would hostgator make it up for me? ?

What a lame excuse from such a big company ?you didn?t inform us? HAH!

Ohh Charles by the way this is an email to notify you that I have renewed the domain name please ask Enom not to lock it? thank you? bozo!

Seriously!?

So now hostgator just didn?t really ?and let me put that in uppercase? CARE, they got their money + the one year renewal payment for absolutely nothing?

Read more about their hidden surprises here http://support.hostgator.com/articles/domain-names/understanding-domain-registration

And here comes the big lie ? a funny email from their techsupport:

Hello,

I show that your account was invoiced on xx/xx/xxxx for the renewal of xxxxxx.com, however, payment was not made on that invoice until x/xx/xxxx. ( BULLSHIT ) Since payment was not made at the time of the domain expiration, the system could not proceed with the renewal.? As stated in our terms of service, you would have needed to contact us after you made payment, so that we could manually renew the domain for you.( BULLSHIT ? the site was running & the system accepted the payment? carry on )

At this time, the domain is in redemption, and will require an additional fee to have it released and renewed with our registrar.? If you would like to proceed with the renewal, just let us know.?? If you do not want to pay the redemption fee, you have two options:

1. Register a new domain using the $15 renewal fee that you have already paid.

2. Wait until it is release back to the public and registered it again.? The time frame for this varies with different registrars, and the best way to check is to do a domain lookup to see if the domain is available for registration.? You can use whois a lookup site like http://whois.domaintools.com to check.

Please let us know how you wish to proceed.

Seriously!? So now im finally involved? ? where were you when Enom locked it down??

By the way, using the dns tools it still shows that I own the domain ? eyh!!

Even if that was true I paid through your billing system and it processed it.
The stupid site was up and running and it was parked or wasn?t on redemption Mr Daven T ?

Yep just another Holy Gator Bozo.

I was not notified that the domain got redempted, I was not notified that Enom is holding it I was not ?

I can go all the way down and smack your face at the end ? if you run such stupid systems you can always upgrade to get notified that people are paying their bills ?

Next time, take couple of days off to come-up with a better excuse ? ?you didn?t inform us? HAH!

Lame but I kinda like it!

In a nutshell, I?ll pay the additional fees, but they have lost me as a customer?? gotta read all terms and conditions and search for any hidden ?surprises? between the line before registering with them.


Mobile site review - Batelco 181 directory

[us_btn text="Follow me on instagram" size="18px" align="left" target="_blank" icon="fa fa-instagram" color="red" style="outlined" link="url:http%3A%2F%2Finstagram.com%2Factionscripter"]
 

In my previous post [The future is mobile] I have briefly pointed out that the web is moving towards the mobile web [ web apps & native apps ].

Building for mobile is tricky however, I have summarized ?building for mobile guidelines? into the following points :

  • Simple options
  • Lack of images
  • White space
  • Prioritized content / Publish the Bare Minimum
  • Clean Markup

A very smart & wise initiative from Batelco is developing a mobile version of their telephone directory site that enables mobile users to search for public/private telephone numbers and their addresses.

You can fireup your safari on iphone or just browse the site on your BlackBerry device @ http://m.181.bh/ as you read.

A side note: the site detects mobile devices and redirects accordingly. [passed on iphone and BB]

Pointing your browser at the link above will lead you to this:

The site contains 4 main block elements:

  1. A very simple header with the title to the left and the logo to the right
  2. An option to switch to the full version of the site
  3. Language switcher [AR/EN]
  4. And the most important element a single search box with a title ( name ) and a search button

A user experience expert wanna-be might jump up and say: hey where are the instructions to use the site?

Here is how to shut him up, how old is the internet in Bahrain 15+ years? I guess google & yahoo embossed that function into our brains so whenever we see and input box with a button next or below it that means that the site will submit whatever keyword I input in that field and I will expect an action in return hence the baby duck syndrome.

Notice that the site supers my previous post on search as a dominant function!

Pizza, is what I used as a search term ? don?t even ask why hehe! Carrying on?

Here is how the SRP or Search Result Page for the term ?Pizza? looks like:

3 additional blocks were added to the SRP besides the records ( 5 records per page ), the 3 additional blocks are :

  1. The counter strip ( Displaying 1 ? 5 of  31 results )
  2. Refine, a smart filtering mechanism
  3. Next and Previous
  4. new search link was added on the language block

Hmmm, so why didn?t I get to choose the category from the first page before submitting the query?

Remember the screen size is too small to be able to fetch all possible categories & areas in it, However the backend is kind of smart, once you search for a term the taxonomy system will only show you related categories to your search term, in our case ?Pizza? falls into food and restaurants category & somewhere in the backend this term is somehow linked to that category ( see the image below ).

Note: If you are an Iphone user, then no problem, you will still be using the iphone User Interface to scroll through the options in the drop down box J #thankSteveJobs

There is one thing that confused me for a second and that?s the light blue circle with the letter B in it which I think it stands for Business, and R stands for Residential ?

Carrying on ?

You can see that the contact number is highlighted as a link (on iPhone Ipods only), guess what happens when you tap on it ? No, it doesn?t Dial, it will overlay the ?create new contact or Add to existing account? option, in my opinion it should have been Dialing the number out ? but hey its just me!

Click on more and it will show you more information including the map but it won?t go native, native as in using the device GPS to plot the direction from your location to the destination? but it?s still a good option to have a map of the location.

Lets jump to the site?s content size, below are to snaps the first one is before search and the second one is after search :

Ignore skype script thingy, that comes with skype when you install it, the biggest file size is a javascript file that belongs to google analytics, not really a big problem since they have placed the tracker at the bottom of the site ( the footer ) which means that it will only load when top DOM is loaded .

16 KB before search and 17 KB after search ?I like :) [ excluding skype?s JS ]

The Markup

The markup behind it looks intact so far with one error and 2 warnings, it?s a very simple error that can be fixed on the fly be specifying the <alt> tag for the image used, it will basically show the alternative text if the image is not available or if images were turned off by the client.

One thing though? the document type declaration used is :

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

I?m not very keen when it comes to mobile DOCTYPE but I think they should have used XHTML Mobile profile DTD

Conclusion

The Batelco 181 Telephone directory mobile site is very simple and easy to use; it?s probably one of the first noticeable mobile sites in Bahrain, enhancements can be applied for example, by clicking on the contact number the phone should dial that instead of copying and pasting.

I?m sure that there will be enhancements applied & that explains the GA tracking code to gather useful information, If interpreted correctly it will give a very useful insights on how to improve the site sort of business intelligence or BI data reports!

But so far, two thumbs up! ;)


custom fields problem fix - wordpress

Okay, i have been pulling my hairs since yesterday ( whatever left of it at least ) trying to solve this issue!

Scenario:

You login to the admin panel in wordpress to publish a new post or page with custom fields, you enter the custom field key and value then click "add custom field" button but nothing happens, the truth is it actually inserts the key and the value, the problem is there is no Ajax/Jquery visual feedback .

By examining the console window using firebug, you'll get the following when clicking the button:

XML or text declaration not at start of entity
[Break on this error] ... position='1'>< ![CDATA[

Solution:

Believe it or don't, if you have been working on the file function.php make sure you remove extra line breaks top to bottom!
And yeah im serious! Extra line breaks were the reason why custom fields were misbehaving!


Teambox a twitter like opensource team collaboration platform

Gosh i love it, ever suffered trying to get people within your team or agencies to use the intranet to update project status and or give their feedback?

TeamBox will diff. change that! it's a cool twitter like opensource platform that allows you to share tasks, messages, files, wiki pages etc, its fun and easy to use!
Did i mention that its free opensource? and you can host it at your end too ?


waze a socila mobile application

quicky post

And its coming soon to Bahrain!

have a look at the video guide & for more information visit waze.com


wi-tribe.com relaunched

We got our new boots on!

If we roll two years back when we were first got introduced to the wi-tribe brand, I have to admit that it was challenging to understand it by just reading ?A? brand manual, and I would lie if I told you we got the website right after one month of launching the brand?

And now I assure you that we have successfully revamped our website to reflect our brand!

Ingredients used:

Less is more: an adequate white space giving the site a clutter-less noise-less feel!
Subtle colors with low contrast for elemental backgrounds, not to mention that we have used a plain white color as a background, you can really feel the site breathing in with ease!

Burgundy? one of our primary colors, coming from ?less is more? perspective we thought by adding subtle touches of this color would just do it, in psychology it?s a Red range color, if we use it as a background, visitors might feel uncomfortable looking at the monitor, this explains why fast food restaurants uses the color red extensively, they want to you to eat fast and just leave!

Illustrations: yep, no girls lying down on a grass with a notebook, or a high-tech guy with his gadgets on, simple illustrations that relates to its section or sub section? now this is unique and thats what makes us different, kind of positioning ourselves away from our?competitors.

A search box at the top right corner of the site, makes it visible for searching the search box itself ( web psychology ).

An opt-in link for our newsletter, trying to apply permission based marketing in a clutter-full mass marketing world? should make a difference!

Flash ( home spotlight ) : a rotating images/messages that relates to us wi-tribe our brand, will definitely make you understand that we are not a dating site but an ISP ? a wireless one.

Homepage widgets: pulls information from events, news and In which country do we operate in.

Footer: split in to two, one which has the social icons on it ( facebook, twitter & the rss links ) and an expandable one with our sitemap in it ( yeah trying to have less on a page ).

An introduction block at the top of every section that tells you briefly about the section itself? hence intro block!

That?s it in a nutshell, Feel free to browse around our revamped website, hop on the media center I kinda love it! http://www.wi-tribe.com

P.S thats the holding corporate site... wait for the retails ;)

P.S #2 I no longer work for wi-tribe & they've managed to screw up the design somehow :-|


A quick note on local permission marketing

"Beep Beep" an SMS alert, i pick up the phone to see the message and i go oh shoot, there ya go again, another zain message and without even reading the message i delete it with passion...

Seriously, how often do you get?interrupted?with such ads? ?whether you are checking your email or watching one of MBC's channel or probably receiving an SMS while driving, and how often do you delete that sms/email or switch to a different channel ... ?The important question is WHY?

Because you?haven't?opted-in for it at the first place, that means?interruption?marketing is not working for them nor on us anymore, it became another noise in the background...

Back to zain, i haven't asked for it, please keep it for yourself.

Batelco on the other hand got an opt-in driven sms "contest", but once you are in you can never get out ( you should probably dial 196 and click through the tree until you get a human to sort you out ) so even while you are roaming out of the country, they will spam you with their questions to death... there aren't any instructions on how to opt-out using sms!

Moral of the story #1

" Make sure to have a visible opt-in instructions and a visible opt-out instructions "

Moral of the story #2

" Even though you got an opt-in strategy it doesn't mean that you are not spamming "

Moral of the story #3

" DVRs were created to skip TV ads, not just record to record TV shows * MBC * "

Moral of the story #4

" We are witnessing the death of ?interruption?marketing, we live in a small island, be different switch to permission marketing, start by building your opt-in email lists or try viral perhaps?"

My next topic is going to be on email marketing best practices, hope the local big guys and their agencies are watching this space, it will really sort them out...


The best email confirmation

How often do you receive a confirmation email and get to read all of it?

i usually read the upper block and scroll fast to the bottom to see if there are any other important information i need to know whether im ordering from amazon, ebay or just an opt-in newsletter confirmation...

This one was a bit different, moo.com is a card designing/printing website, the user journey; throughout selecting the type of cards and designing them was a lot of fun, and easy to use.

The fun part began when i received my order's?email?confirmation?... It made me read the whole email with a big smile on my face!
That's what i call a user experience joyness :

Hello

I'm Little MOO - the bit of software that will be managing your order
with us. It will shortly be sent to Big MOO, our print machine who will
print it for you in the next few days. I'll let you know when it's done
and on its way to you.

Flickr users, listen up: Please do not remove the photos from your
account, or change their privacy settings, until your order has been
printed, or some pictures may come out blank.

You can track and manage your order at: https://***

Estimated Shipping Date: *** 2009

Remember, I'm just a bit of software. So, if you have any questions
regarding your order please first read our Frequently Asked Questions
at:

http://www.moo.com/help/

and if you're still not sure, contact customer services (who are real
people) at:

https://secure.moo.com/service/

Thanks,
Little MOO, Print Robot

MOO
"We love to print"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Order details as follows:
************
************

How IKEA used facebook as a showroom

Forsman and Bodenfors turns Facebook tagging into a promotional tool for the opening of Ikea's new store in Malmo, Sweden.

Forsman & Bodenfors came up with another innovative digital campaign for Ikea by turning one of Facebook's basic functions into a promotional tool, to promote the opening of the brand's Malmo outpost, its most modern store to date. Armed with little media budget, the agency came up with an unconventional Facebook campaign that started with a profile of the store's manager, Gordon Gustavsson. Gustavsson uploaded pictures of the store's showrooms to his photo album and any "friends" who tagged the products with their names then won those items.

Source: creativity online