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Webs.com Heading Into Fifth Day of Service Outage


I will not be making this update today. This was reposted with permission from another blog written by Cecile Gagnon:

Rolling into the 5th day of the webs.com black-out, with no resolution from the webs.com team.  They are still claiming it’s an issue with ISP providers.  Ignoring every other possibility and not taking responsibility.
For most users this is frustrating to say the least.  They create a website with webs.com to conduct business or for non-profit organizations.  With the websites not being able to be viewed this causes a huge problem for the users who have invested time and money into creating and promoting their websites.
After looking deeper into webs.com company.  I have discovered that they have 19 pending complaints with the Better Business Bureau.  They have had similar “crashes” in the past in which case they have gone from “freewebs.com” to just simply “webs.com”.  There have also been reported cases of copyrights infringement charges, however I’m still waiting confirmation on that.
When I asked the Official Representatives hosting the “help forum” for the users of webs.com on what was being done on the issue from the part of webs.com. CT who is an employee of webs.com stated this:
“If I may Caroline just get an official statement from webs.com so that I can forward it along as well to others who are looking into this issue. I mean what I’m looking for is a formal statement on what exactly webs.com is doing other than advising it’s users on this forum to contact their ISP.
Is what I asked in the forum.
I did not get a response from Caroline, however CT said this:
The official statements are the updates Cec.
Cheers”
Now I take that as a “no comment” statement from the part of webs.com.
On the first day of the issue.  The Official Representatives of webs.com had asked the users of the forum to post their IP addresses, along with ISP users.  To help them eliminate some causes of the blackouts.  Users obviously were co-operative in trying to resolve the issue and did in fact provide this information to webs.com on the public forum.  It was never mentioned by any representative of webs.com that this information provided by the users would be posted at the top of the forum for public view.
Today however, on day 4 of the black-out.  There was an up-roar in the forum as users realized that their IP addresses and private information about computer software was still posted at the very top of the forum.  Where the Official Representatives had been instructing all users to view for updates on the situation.  It took many pleas from the users in question, along with threats to legal action before the information was finally removed.
In my opinion this is very bad practice for a company who professes to “be one of the top 150 best sites in the world.  With 20 million users and 50 million websites”. (from Official Representative at webs.com forum: Caroline)
On their website they also advertise “…the best tools, easy-of-use, innovation and reliability.”
This is an issue that has gone past the scope of the public forum used by the webs.com representatives.  It should be addressed higher up in their corporation.  As previously mentioned this has affected small business owners and non-profit organizations.  Here is an example of one non-profit organization:
  • “Severely Autism people cannot access the procedures you are advising. AT&T is my carrier. My website is down or blocked. I am losing Autism livelihood to support my independent special needs because of this. I do not use telephones. I cannot follow your procedures. I rely on webs.com to get this straightened out. AT&T & DHS cannot claim telecom immunity against an ADA / Sec. 504 discrimination lack of access claim, & they have a duty to fix it upoon webs.com contacting them and telling them webs.com is speaking for its disabled, blind, deaf, severely Autistic and other disbaled customers. So, pls. do something to get this fixed or have your legal team write an access letter to AT&T & DHS. DHS has its own C.F.R. that prohibits it from discriminating against disabled Americans & our access. So this makes no sense and is not okay to just leave our websites down / blocked for days, and tell us we have to fix it – webs.com is the one with the legal duty to get it fixed. That is the Autism disability access requirements of federal laws. Thx. Also, if AT&T is doing this, it is a Sherman Act restraiint of trade. If they are attacking webs.com, it is affecting severely Autism people with websites. They don’t just get to restrain trade because they are big.  Mary Katherine May”
This is one example with over 400 others on the public forum experience the same issue.  Webs.com is not a company I want to be associated with if it does not care about it’s community.
If you’re following the discussion on Facebook or on the Webs.com tech support thread, please make your updates in the comments.
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Discussion

14 thoughts on “Webs.com Heading Into Fifth Day of Service Outage

  1. Day 5 still no resolution:
    Posted in the webs.com forum:
    Bobby replied 2 minutes ago
    Caroline, We’re not following the old bandwagon. You had 5 days. It’s over.
    New bandwagon- I don’t care about your point of view that you’re NOT a customer of ATT. Read carefully. Sorry, but I’m involved with various sites and media reporting this now. Get your supervisor on and/or VP/Customer Relations if it exists.

    Changing your address to freewebs.com/user should give you access to your site. It will not help anyone else trying to access your site unless you give them the new address. As far as I know there is no redirection from user.webs.com to freewebs.com/user. I’ve read the boards over the past five days, and it seems that most of the effort has taken place via asking customers to contact their ISP’s (Reps claiming there is a block) to correct the problem. I have noticed that my site (I changed the address from webs.com) has image issues where photos were missing. I spent considerable time correcting that after considering leaving it alone. I haven’t changed my crosslinks yet with other sites because none of them work-they are pointing to the webs.com address-until I’m sure there’s no other choice. I ran pings and a tracert but that doesn’t yield much information other than having something ready for the ISP if you call. I believe tracerts initiated from Webs would be more pertinent with their contacting ISP’s directly and exploring all possibilities as to the cause of the problem and correcting it. I feel that customers making 100’s of calls to various ISP’s has been counterproductive, and it shows by what results have been achieved so far. Daytime calls from business people (Webs employee) with 1000’s of common customers with the ISP’s should carry enough weight to get through to the escalation team at an ISP. They are also more equipped to talk intelligently with whomever they reach during normal business hours especially today after the weekend and holiday. If you believe ATT is the root of the problem, then that’s a good place to direct the effort.

    I am unhappy with the way this has been dealt with, and some of the heavy handed language I’ve read from the reps. (Mostly one individual who uses a mean face as his avatar). Somehow I am not surprised from the start when I see that cartoon face with some of the treatment I’ve seen of customers, and yes, we are ALL customers.

    Again, it makes a lot of sense to me for a Webs employee to call the target ISP, and politely let them know the size and scope of the issue, and that they need to speak directly with the escalation technical team rep on the first call (or be called back promptly). It is in the ISP’s best interest to service this type of call promptly because in affect Webs represents 1000’s of their customers. I am a little tired of hearing anything about asking mostly non-technical or cable system/call center aware Webs customers to call their ISP’s to put a “flame” under their butts with sheer volume to get attention and resolution to this problem. I am also not interested in any rebuttal to this comment, deletion, or mention that it’s off topic. This is perfectly ON TOPIC. Webs need to resolve this serious issue. There are people reprinting the content of this forum on other websites, and sending information to media sources with excerpts, stories, and comments. There may even be lawsuits that arise out of this debacle.

    Thank you very much for your time. I expect a speedy resolution to this problem or a statement of exactly what the state of affairs are regarding our accounts (for those who stay). If we need to permanently change over to freewebs than just make a statement. Enough is enough.

    Best regards,
    Robert

    Posted by kulthum | January 18, 2011, 9:02 am
    • It’s fixed, but they handled it like crap. They basically knew what the problem was. They put everyone through all that. I learned some things about them, myself, and the flaws in their service. I’ll be looking at different hosts in the next couple of quarters. They basically have very limited technical staff up front, and they lie and distort things at every turn (not technical geniuses either-or customer service giants). CT is the worst. I’m looking for something redeeming in him, and I just can’t find it. If I were building a site from scratch I wouldn’t use them anyway. You get a cookie cutter look with the builder no matter how hard you try, and you can’t fine tune things very well. The policy or limitation that you can’t go straight HTML then back to builder is a stumbling block. On the plus side, they look better than some other cookie-cutters out there. On the free site, I block their ads so it’s not a nuisance. I’m just concerned about visitors to the site seeing that goofy header stuff.

      Well, anyway, I found your site. Not too bad here. I may revisit.
      Good Luck Everyone!

      Posted by scribbleX | January 18, 2011, 1:30 pm
  2. Caroline (Official Rep.) Replied:
    Robert, I am only repeating what I was TOLD last night by the AT&T rep. I’ll be on the phone again today, but am fielding questions here as well.

    (This is one reason I keep asking users to only post informational comments here – the more we have to read, the less time we have to be dealing with the ISPs directly.)

    I repeated over and over to the 3 reps I was in contact with last night that we host over 23 million sites, and probably thousands of their customers were affected.

    One rep – as well as that rep’s supervisor – then went on to ask me my DSL number so they could look up my account.

    I kid you not. ( Delete or Edit)

    Robert’s reply:
    Caroline, you’re very nice, but I feel like strangling you (in a nice way). I am so tempted to make this call for you, but I KNOW you can do it. Please follow what I said. You’re a business person that controls millions of customers, many of whom use ATT..you have a VERY serious problem, and need the a supervisor/escalation team member on the phone NOW or a call back with an time frame and a number to call if you don’t get called back in a timely fashion. Explain the volume and seriousness to the first responder, but move on that you can discuss it with him or her-YOU NEED A SENIOR TECH ON THE PHONE. TALK IN A LOW SERIOUS VOICE-SLOWLY. LOL SORRY, BUT YOU GET THE IDEA. ( Delete or Edit)

    Posted by kulthum | January 18, 2011, 9:12 am
  3. Posted by WendyL
    I have ran a tracert and it just tells me unable to resolve target system name abstract-minds-by-wlo.biz. I have reset the primary domain. I have gone to my domain provider and reset all the settings. Nothing. I still cant get one unless it through webs.com. I paid for a domain I expect to be able to use it with out a problem. I am not with AT&T or comcast. I say I am with Orbital Enterprises and all I get is ORBIT INTERNET is with AT&T. I never said ORBIT INTERNET that is a different company then ORBITAL ENTERPRISES. But they make the excuse that every internet service is some how linked to AT&T. I paid for my service, I have paid of my domain, I am now going to fatcow.com for a website. I have lost clients because of this and webs.com will be hearing from my lawyer. As soon as I am done setting up my new account with fatcow I will be shutting down webs.com and will be expecting compensation for lost customers. I have already called my ISP and they said nothing is blocked. You guys are just making excuses and are very unprofessional to say the least. Defending your selves instead of the customer. I have never seen the worst set up for online support as well as customer service ever in my life till now.

    Posted by kulthum | January 18, 2011, 9:17 am
  4. Caroline(official rep.) replied this Bobby:
    Bobby, You are stating some things that are just not true!

    We began initiating contact with ISPs on FRIDAY – the day this began. We were told by Comcast on Friday that they will watch for TRENDS – meaning, multiple users complaining.

    CT and I have both explained this repeatedly.

    Regarding tracert information, we have not posted this – this was provided by the users themselves, right here, on these forums.

    At any rate, any site you ever visit has your IP address… every single website.

    I am not sure what you are stating about general email to ISPs. I have not forwarded your trace route information anywhere. We generally have been calling the ISPs, although there have been some emails and live chat discussion as well.

    I asked the AT&T reps last night for a number that our lead engineers could use to contact their engineers. I was told that there was not a number they could give me and all I could do was write a snail mail letter to their complaint department and ask their affected customers to contact them so they can get them to give tracert info.

    We are here with you, and want to see this resolved JUST as much as you do.

    If you’ve been here this past weekend, you will know that I have been online constantly (minus sleeping time) since Friday.

    We aren’t your enemies here. We want to see this resolved every bit as much as you do. ( Delete or Edit)
    StephanieB stated this:
    Bobby can talk to you like this yet I get told my site has been reported to “abuse” for not only saying EVERYTHING he just said but expressing my privacy concerns (which you eventually acknowledged with the urging of many others). I’ve never said anything like I feel like strangling you or anything along these lines. Yet Bobby gets the courtesy of your typing time.
    I’m baffled. ( Delete or Edit)

    Posted by kulthum | January 18, 2011, 9:40 am
    • I really do feel like strangling her. lol jk This is the latest. I’m not sure I’m happy or so mad I could burst.

      Caroline, Official Rep, replied 6 minutes ago
      PROGRESS!

      By luck, I got a tier 1 rep at AT&T who used to work for a webhost, so was able to understand the issue.

      She sent me through to a tier 2 rep at AT&T who was extremely helpful and spent a couple of hours getting through to the correct department at a higher level.

      I just got off a conference call with someone who was able to see that our IP address was indeed blocked due a phishing site.

      The site was created on Friday.
      ATT&T notified us of it on Friday AFTER they blocked our IP address.
      We froze the site on Friday.
      We replied to AT&T and notified them that the site was frozen on Friday.

      They have since stated that we aren’t blocked, but we know that there is a blockage.

      I put CT on the call since he is the manager of technical support here, and had been dealing with AT&T security already.

      I believe we are getting close to a resolution on this!

      THERE IS EVERY INDICATION THAT THEY KNOW ABOUT THE CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM SINCE FRIDAY. (AND MADE EVERYONE LOOK LIKE FOOLS MENTIONING A SECURITY BREACH)

      Posted by scribbleX | January 18, 2011, 11:56 am
    • For the record – the things stated as “not true” were my words!! They’re true!

      Posted by canadiansteph | January 18, 2011, 12:02 pm
  5. Update – Cecile re-contacted the Toronto Sun, they asked us to re-send our emails!
    Cross your fingers, this paper will exploit them!

    Posted by canadiansteph | January 18, 2011, 10:04 am
  6. The official explanation as of right now…

    Edited on 01/18/11
    Issue: Sites using username.webs.com address are being blocked or rerouted via ISPs which include Comcast and AT&T.

    Cause: ATT services networking to several ISPs included Comcast, Bell Canada and many others. ATT network has a blockage on username.webs.com via their security parameters.

    Who’s Effected?

    Domain names and Freewebs.com/username addresses are NOT effected. If you have a domain and still have the issue, please go to http://members.webs.com/s/account/myA… to set the primary address as the domain.

    Solution: To be determined. Webs has contacted major ISPs via email or phone. ISPs are aware of the issue and working further. The resolution and removal of blockage will be determined by ATT and their subsidiaries.

    Posted by canadiansteph | January 18, 2011, 10:17 am
    • So it turns out that it apparently was a security infraction, and apparently (not sure of detail here) they didn’t tell us about something they were aware of that could have reduced a huge amount of frustration caused to their customers. I don’t know what to think about this. This whole fiasco could have been mostly avoided.

      Posted by scribbleX | January 18, 2011, 12:03 pm
  7. Another interesting post by “Bobby” this morning. I must say it sums it all up.

    Caroline, We’re not following the old bandwagon. You had 5 days. It’s over.
    New bandwagon- I don’t care about your point of view that you’re NOT a customer of ATT. Read carefully. Sorry, but I’m involved with various sites and media reporting this now. Get your supervisor on and/or VP/Customer Relations if it exists.

    Changing your address to freewebs.com/user should give you access to your site. It will not help anyone else trying to access your site unless you give them the new address. As far as I know there is no redirection from user.webs.com to freewebs.com/user. I’ve read the boards over the past five days, and it seems that most of the effort has taken place via asking customers to contact their ISP’s (Reps claiming there is a block) to correct the problem. I have noticed that my site (I changed the address from webs.com) has image issues where photos were missing. I spent considerable time correcting that after considering leaving it alone. I haven’t changed my crosslinks yet with other sites because none of them work-they are pointing to the webs.com address-until I’m sure there’s no other choice. I ran pings and a tracert but that doesn’t yield much information other than having something ready for the ISP if you call. I believe tracerts initiated from Webs would be more pertinent with their contacting ISP’s directly and exploring all possibilities as to the cause of the problem and correcting it. I feel that customers making 100’s of calls to various ISP’s has been counterproductive, and it shows by what results have been achieved so far. Daytime calls from business people (Webs employee) with 1000’s of common customers with the ISP’s should carry enough weight to get through to the escalation team at an ISP. They are also more equipped to talk intelligently with whomever they reach during normal business hours especially today after the weekend and holiday. If you believe ATT is the root of the problem, then that’s a good place to direct the effort.

    I am unhappy with the way this has been dealt with, and some of the heavy handed language I’ve read from the reps. (Mostly one individual who uses a mean face as his avatar). Somehow I am not surprised from the start when I see that cartoon face with some of the treatment I’ve seen of customers, and yes, we are ALL customers.

    Again, it makes a lot of sense to me for a Webs employee to call the target ISP, and politely let them know the size and scope of the issue, and that they need to speak directly with the escalation technical team rep on the first call (or be called back promptly). It is in the ISP’s best interest to service this type of call promptly because in affect Webs represents 1000’s of their customers. I am a little tired of hearing anything about asking mostly non-technical or cable system/call center aware Webs customers to call their ISP’s to put a “flame” under their butts with sheer volume to get attention and resolution to this problem. I am also not interested in any rebuttal to this comment, deletion, or mention that it’s off topic. This is perfectly ON TOPIC. Webs need to resolve this serious issue. There are people reprinting the content of this forum on other websites, and sending information to media sources with excerpts, stories, and comments. There may even be lawsuits that arise out of this debacle.

    Thank you very much for your time. I expect a speedy resolution to this problem or a statement of exactly what the state of affairs are regarding our accounts (for those who stay). If we need to permanently change over to freewebs than just make a statement. Enough is enough.

    Best regards,
    Robert

    Posted by canadiansteph | January 18, 2011, 10:21 am
  8. Steph and Jake:

    I came to look at what the final comments were at Media. If you think about it what the Webs employees did is really unforgivable in so many ways. Some of their treatment of customers was very poor, but the thing that was the worst was not informing customers that they knew WHY there was a blockage. They were claiming a blockage all along, and for good reason. It wasn’t just technical analysis that led them to that conclusion like they had portrayed it. She specifically stated in the forum (and deleted the comment, after I made note of it) that they were cited for hosting a phishing site officially after they were already blocked on Friday, and removed the site that day. She went on to indicate that she believed the block was removed, but obviously it hadn’t. For her to assume that a massive block like this wasn’t the result to ATT’s action on Friday is ridiculous.

    I don’t know what they were thinking. I think she realized she made a huge mistake writing about Friday’s ATT notice and site closure on the forum. Webs instructing customers to call their ISP’s even without this knowledge was completely irresponsible, but with this knowledge almost criminal. I am not sure what the legal issues are regarding something like this are, but if some customers want compensation for losses I would imagine they have a pretty strong case.

    I’m sorry we all had to go through what we did with the mishandling of this whole affair. I just cannot believe they didn’t tell customers that a block was in place for a site causing an infraction, it had been removed, and that they were in contact with ATT to have the situation fixed. They could have given a time line of 3-4 days because of the weekend and holiday. I truly believe that they weren’t sure if ATT would remove the block soon or at all, and USED their own customers as leverage.

    Best regards,
    Robert

    Posted by scribbleX | January 20, 2011, 2:51 am
  9. I have over one dozen beautiful premier websites with webs, some of them being internationally reknown as well. As well as a world reknown business website of which my family and I have devoted 8 years in and millions of hours into making it the best in the world. This is highly unacceptable and very unprofessional of webs. Neverthelss, I have faith they will fix it all soon.

    Posted by Linda McLaughlin | July 19, 2012, 9:34 pm

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