Comcast – EXTREME Lack of Customer Service

Comcast Bill showing $50 "Unbilled Activity"

Let me first begin by saying that I’ve had Comcast Internet and Television service for well over 4 years and for the most part I’ve been satisfied with the service itself.  I’ve rarely had to use customer service as generally I’ve not had issues with any of my services and when I did for the most part Comcast fixed those issues in a timely fashion.  I’m not entirely sure what has changed over the last year or so, but things have gone seriously down hill when it comes to customer service.  I’m going to do my absolute best to detail exactly what happened, how it happened, and why it happened so that you can hopefully make an informed decision as to whether you wish to go with Comcast, to continue your existing Comcast service, or to shift to/choose another provider.

On September 27th, 2010 my wife and I moved in to our new apartment a couple of minutes away from our old apartment and we had previously called to schedule Comcast to come out and perform a transfer of service to get our DVR Box and our Cable box online in our new apartment.  Comcast came out and performed the transfer of service free of charge and since we were moving into a larger apartment we opted to go ahead and get another digital box for one of our bedrooms while we were at it.  The technician that came out explained to me that this was his first installation where he was on his own and apologized ahead of time if it took longer than we expected.  I told the technician that I understood and that it wasn’t an issue. Continue reading

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From Leasing to Owning and Colocation

Dual 5620 ServerFor over three years my company has always leased its hardware from the facility in which our services were located.  For a long time we felt that it was better to pay a little more over time for the hardware in exchange for not having to make the large initial investment, not having to recycle old hardware when we upgrade, and not having to cover the parts and labor for replacing failed hardware.

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You should always conduct yourself professionally!

Sometimes you just have to vent, and this is one such situation.  We recently had a customer who decided to make some derogatory posts on our forums accusing us of “pissing somebody off” resulting in us being a “target of DDoS attacks” when in reality it was simply a client we were hosting that was the target of the attacks.  One of the downsides of DDoS attacks is that they’re a carpet bomb and they affect all sites on the server, and not just the intended target.

The client was warned via private message and their warn level on the forum was increased and then they decided to make another reply yet again re-iterating their original post and going far enough to make a public threat against us on our forums.  We at this point disabled the client’s forum account and opened an abuse support ticket with them which you will find below.  The client’s identifying information has been removed as our privacy policy protects the client’s identity and personal information but the contents of the ticket itself is not personal.

MDDHosting – Abuse on Forums

Ticket ID: [Redacted]
Department: Abuse
Creation Date: 09/26/2010 20:28
Last Reply: 09/26/2010 22:47
Status: Closed
Priority: Medium

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Avoid “Hotlink Protection” feature in cPanel 11.25, 11.26

In cPanel 11.25 and 11.26 (not tested earlier versions) when you add “Hotlink Protection” in cPanel it will add the appropriate mod_rewrite code to all domains, subdomains, add-on domains. It looks similar to this:

Code:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://test-cpanel.com/.*$      [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://test-cpanel.com$      [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.test-cpanel.com/.*$      [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.test-cpanel.com$      [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.(jpg|jpeg|gif|png|bmp)$ - [F,NC]

It actually checks for the line “RewriteEngine on” and does not add it a second time into the .htaccess which is smart… The problem comes when you remove hotlink protection.

cPanel goes through all domains, subdomains, add-on domains once again this time and removes the code but it removes all instances of “RewriteEngine On” in every .htaccess. The problem that comes with this is that if you’re running something such as WordPress, vBulletin, IPB, or any other script that uses mod_rewrite, as most do, suddenly all of your rewrite rules no longer work. Continue reading

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Jonathan Burdon – Apparently posting facts is a “Smear Campaign”

Jonathan Burdon of AlreadyHosting.com
Jonathan Burdon

I have written a pretty in-depth review of Jonathan Burdon and AlreadyHosting.com concerning their affiliate fraud campaigns here. I even discovered that Jonathan Burdon is directly using cookie stuffing to obtain fraudulent affiliate commissions.  You can watch a short video demonstrating the cookie stuffing for MDDHosting, BlueHost, HostMonster, and WebHostingPad in this video.  If you’re not very familiar with how affiliate systems work, the basic premise is that sites will use outbound links to the provider that place a cookie on the user’s computer to identify the referral so that the affiliate can be paid.

In an article about Jonathan Burdon [which is likely written by Jonathan] it is claimed that “There is one *unnamed* company on the web that refuses to pay Jonathan for his contract so they have launched a smear campaign against him, please ignore their comments,” and the article goes on to say “If users will take a few moments to visit Jonathan’s sites they will soon realize that his site is a great resource and that the individuals writing the slanderous posts about him are simply incorrect.” Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/branding-articles/jonathan-burdon-webmaster-2848333.html

It seems that Jonathan Burdon believes that I’m personally launching a smear campaign about him and goes so far as to claim my posts are slanderous.  What I find particularly interesting, is that I have only posted verifiable, factual information and even the email communications with Jonathan Burdon.  I’ve not posted or said anything that wasn’t simply true and verifiable.  To be entirely honest, I don’t care about Jonathan Burdon or his reputation but only that he doesn’t continue committing affiliate fraud and, as such, stealing money from other hosting providers.  I publicly challenge Jonathan Burdon to disprove any of the information I’ve posted about him or AlreadyHosting.com.

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Sales Ticket with an [Interesting Character]

At MDDHosting today we received an order which our sales department reviewed and determined was likely fraud and marked the order as such.  We shortly there after received an email from the individual who will hence forth be known as “Interesting Character” to protect their identity.  While they may not actually be a fraudster – their order details and actions all indicated that they most likely were.

The individual signed up using a first name and last initial only, their mailing address was a mail forwarding address, and many other red flags were sent up when this individual attempted to order services.

Here is a complete view of the email conversation with all personally identifying information redacted and by all means read it over and let me know what you think in the comments.

Interesting Character
Potential Client
03/31/2010 20:39
hello,
it seems like there is an issue with my order. can you please review it and approve it?
thank you
[Interesting Character]

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Beware of “Web Hosting Review” and “Top 10 Web Hosts” Sites

As many readers of this site may already know I own and operate MDDHosting, LLC – a web hosting firm based out of Franklin, Indiana and we have been in business for over 2 years and 3 months as of the writing of this post.  Over the last 27 months I have seen just about every type of fraud, scam, and lie and in my personal opinion affiliate scams have to be one of the larger issues facing web hosting consumers today.

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Starting and Running a Web Hosting Business – Part One

SLDALThere are many qualities that are required in an individual for them to start and grow their own successful web hosting company on their own from the start.  Many people see web hosting as something that is simple to provide and requires little to no work which couldn’t be further from the truth.  There are many aspects of web hosting that the average first-time web host will not plan for or even think about such as their web site which can be simple but is very important if you are to function as an online business.  Other aspects of running a web hosting business range from obtaining the correct licensing as required by local laws to having a basic understanding of business management and accounting.  While most are not a jack of all trades, they can often get by based upon what they know and have people they can ask for help if they need it.

The most important quality required in a person starting their own web hosting provider is resourcefulness – when you are new to hosting there are certainly going to be roadblocks that you come across and questions that you do not know the answers to.  Being resourceful means that even if you don’t know the answer immediately you know where to look to find the answer.  The vast majority of support issues that clients raise could be answered simply by visiting Google.com and typing in the question or a description of the issue.  Unless you are an expert on everything (keep dreaming) then you either need to be resourceful or you will very quickly find yourself being asked questions you cannot answer which leads to very unhappy customers and bad reviews. Continue reading

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