I Started Shore Digital

Yes, too busy to be blogging, but not too busy for follow my passion and start a new business last year. The idea has been a few years in the making, last year I figured it out, and in October 2013 I created Shore Digital LLC to deliver mobile experiences through apps and websites. Here is where you can learn about Shore Digital and our mobile responsive web design and app services.

Don’t expect any new posts for a while, and also, my resume is out of date so you might want to check me out on LinkedIn for current info.

Really Too Busy

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As anyone can see, I have not kept up my blog. There are not enough hours in the day to do all that I want and need to do. So, my blog has gone by the wayside for now. Apologies.

Web Host 4 Death Part Deux

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Web Host 4 Life Continues to Fail Me

Well, the incompetency and sheer indifference continues from Web Host 4 Life, uh, I mean Web Host 4 Death. Here is part 2 to my first Web Host 4 Life blog post. I have moved my personal blog (yes, this blog) to Go Daddy over the weekend and am in the process of moving my other sites over this week. As I write this post I was chatting with WH4D (Web Host 4 Death) since my Bible or Not site was down, again. Here is the chat, which took 30 minutes, you make the call about how bad this company is.

WH4D Chat
lawson
Hi, this is lawson. How may I help you ?

stevec828
my site is down

stevec828
i got a 502 error

stevec828
now i get nothing

stevec828
bibleornot.org

lawson
ok,let me check

stevec828
still not loaded after several minutes

lawson
have updated the DNS record for your domain and it will take about 1 hour for DNS propagation

stevec828
what????

lawson
could you please kindly wait and check it later ?

stevec828
NO!!!!

stevec828
why should it be ok for my site to go down?

lawson
I mean I have synchronized the DNS for your domain , I did not change anything

stevec828
so how will that fix my site?

lawson
your domain did not point to correct IP

stevec828
what???

stevec828
whi changed it?

stevec828
who

stevec828
who changed it?

stevec828
hello? [no response after 5 minutes]

lawson
Yes.

stevec828
who changed my IP settings?

lawson
when I ping your domain name ,it points to 66.96.146.89 which should be your new server IP ,but your account has not been migrated to new platform

stevec828
so you’re saying, you have not migrated my site, but you changed the IP address to point to the new server where it has not yet been migrated to. tight?

stevec828
right?

lawson
Seems yes. could you please double check it in one hour ?

stevec828
Unbelievable!

lawson
no. IP address is not changed.

lawson
it should be under DNS propagation

lawson
sorry for the inconvenience.

lawson
Is there anything else I can do for you ?

lawson
Since you did not respond for a long time, I have other customers to attend to and will close the chat. If you have any further inquires , please feel free to contact us at any time,take care , bye.

End of Chat

So, I had issued a support ticket on Jan 6, nearly 8 weeks ago, and they don’t care. I hope to move everything else off by the end of this week.

Hey Dude, Where’s My Skis?

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A Marketing Case Study in Customer Relationship Management

I recently went skiing in Killington, VT and stayed at the Killington Grand which I have considered to be the best ski resort in the east. This time the Grand had the opportunity to demonstrate what makes them truly the best. A core tenant of the Killington Grand’s marketing strategy is great customer service. While I typically enjoy being treated very well when I stay there, something not so good happened this time – they lost my skis on the last day of my stay there.

The character of a person, and likewise a business, is revealed in times of negative circumstances and stress. In this instance a guest with similar skis checked out, taking my skis thinking they were his. Here is what The Grand did.

First they recognized that I needed to be on the mountain and not at their front desk. So they hooked me up with demo skis from the on-site ski shop. We agreed that I’d come back at the end of the day to give them some time to figure out what happened. From the kid at the ski check, to the front desk staff, to the manager Claire, there was an immediate sense of empathy and recognition that it was their fault and they were committed to make it right.

So I skiied the day on a nice pair of Nordica Nitrous Hot Rod skis and had a great time. These handled the mountain superbly doing both goofy stuff and screaming down the black diamonds at full speed.

At the end of the day The Grand had not located my skis but thought they were on their way to Boston. I was quite disappointed since I was planning to ski Camelback in the Poconos the following week, which I of course told them. Even though they hadn’t found my skis, they had a plan: they would continue trying to track down my skis, make sure I had good skis at Camelback, and if they couldn’t find my skis, they’d buy me a new pair.

The following Tuesday I showed up at Camelback Mountain in Tannersville, PA in the Pocono Mountains. At guest services I told them my name and they knew who I was and that I was coming. I was immediately given a voucher for high-perfomance rentals. Hmmm…these were not demos. I was then directed to the rental manager, who knew who I was, and she called down Charlie the VP of Base Operations, the guy who essentially runs the place. Charlie also was familar with my situation and had made the arrangments for me with The Grand. When I told him I wanted demos he walked me over to the on-site ski shop, called the owner of the shop, and wouldn’t leave until I had been set up. I was treated like a VIP although I was just an ordinary guy wanting to have some fun in the snow. All Charlie cared about was to get me on the mountain with great equipment as quickly as possible (it was snowing that day, it doesn’t get any better). So I demoed the Volkl AC 30 skis for a few hours then swapped them out for Salomon Tornadoes later in the day. Both were excellent, I liked the Salomon’s better, and the demo rentals were fully paid for by the Killington Grand.

It’s a week later and The Grand could not find my skis so they sent me a pair of Nodica Nitrous Hot Rod skis, saweet! Among the Nordica, Volkl and Salomon skis I liked the Nordica the best so I’m feeling pretty good about this. The skis they sent me weren’t new though, they were 2009 demos, still a very good ski but a bit beat up from rental/demo use.

So did The Grand stand behind their brand and marketing strategy of great guest services? I believe so. They treated me very well in light of the problem, and they did make good on their commitment to replace my skis if they could not find them. And the skis they sent me are excellent performance skis. The only downside is that they are demos near the end of their rental life, so the cost to The Grand was likely negligible and the condition of the skis isn’t the best.

So, while I do feel good about how the situation was handled, I could feel better. I will definitely stay at The Grand in the future, but I have requested some free nights and lifts tickets to give them the opportunity to truly take guest services to the highest level.

So, for the empathy, communications and the replacement skis I give The Grand top marks and would easily give them a testimonial. However, by giving me demo skis that were near the end of their life they do not get the highest marks I could have given them. If they recognize this and come back with some complimentary rooms or lift tickets for my next stay there (and yes, I will be going back), that would convince me that The Grand is hands down the best ski resort east of the Mississippi and I’d be a faithful brand advocate. I’ll keep you posted.

 

Webhost 4 Life is Webhost 4 Death

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Stay away from Webhost 4 Life at all costs!

I am usually an amiable guy and don’t like to say bad things about people or companies, but I have my limits. Last fall I decided to move to a new hosting provider because I had fewer and less demanding websites and wanted to scale back on cost accordingly. I did a little research and and found Webhost 4 Life and thought I’d give them a shot since they claimed fast and reliable service or your money back. I now refer to them as Webhost 4 Death and am in the process fo finding a new provider. I am not alone – here is an article on CNET about how Webhost 4 Life sucks.

One of my hobby sites is Bible or Not, a site where I put up famous quotes that could be from the Bible, or not. I love playing with words and phrases and am particularly interested in the origins of such. Here is a summary of the site’s performance, and mind you, it’s a simple wordpress blog with less than 100 pages, limited images and no flash or video.

BTW, the site is currently down and I am on hold with tech support. I’ve been getting 500 internal server errors and now web pages will not load, and I lost a post in the middle of writing it. In chatting with tech support I got the same response I’ve gotten for the last 2 months: “it’s working fine on my end”. Their trouble shooting technique is to load the home page, and if it load for them, it sucks for me.

So, you tell me if this perfomance is good as they claim:

According to my Google Webmasters account:
Performance overview
On average, pages in your site take 13.2 seconds to load (updated on Feb 16, 2010). This is slower than 96% of sites.

According to Webpagetest: http://www.webpagetest.org/result/100218_58QW/
                           Load Time           First Byte       Start Render
First View          9.151s                  5.404s                7.458s
Repeat View     8.680s                 5.383s                 6.486s

So I sent this info along to support my dozen earlier support requests. Their answer, to paraphrase was “works on our end, issue resolved.” Sucks for me, eh?

I am leaving Web Host 4 Death, any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. And my advice is to stay away from Webhost 4 Life at all costs.

Back on Google

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I am now back on Google and ready to start using my blog to document and share my thoughts on digital marketing, ecommerce, search marketing, technology, etc.

Update on My Google Fiasco

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I am happy to report that Google is beginning to crawl my site and has indexed a few pages. Not the Any Old Green Shirt page yet though. It turns out that when I changed my WordPress template the security settings got reset to keep search engines out – yikes! I went through all my settings, added an auto-xml-sitemaps plugin, resubmitted in Webmaster tools, yada yada yada all the normal things. Now I just need to get some inbound links and everything will be just fine.

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