Calling the Bluff

I spent the greater part of yesterday testing a friend’s website that I neither own nor manage. This website is a rebuild of a previous version hosted somewhere else, and it’s supposed to open this Sunday. After some shallow testing using four tools, I was having grave misgivings. I spoke with the owner. Then I pulled the owner’s content to ensure its preservation just in case things should ‘go south’.

I don’t like messing with another’s website. I don’t like or want the hassle. However, there’s this sense of ‘what needs to be done’ and ‘what’s right to be done’ that won’t allow me to just turn my back. It’s the same core in me that makes me stop and help when another entity, regardless of species, is in jeopardy.

When it comes to webmastering, I think I’ve spent as much time rescuing domains for their owners as I have building them. That’s probably not at all accurate, but it often feels that way, because, often, it requires hours, days, and a lot of research and expertise to effect the necessary solution, and it’s always tedious and laden with bureaucratic nightmares. ICANN is not fun to deal with in these cases. and you’d better have your receipts and documentation in order, a good fax machine, a notary on standby, and some solid gold identity proof, because you’re going to need it along with me or someone like me to help free your property from danger. Else hire a very good, expensive lawyer.

In this case, it was a matter of getting the content as secured as possible — some thirty pages, only — then writing up some pertinent questions that should instantly demonstrate to the would-be webmasters involved that their bluff has been called. “Lay your cards on the table, boys. It’s over.”  Luckily, the owner retains complete control of their domain — the only saving grace to this. But not the content. The content wasn’t backed up before turning it over to the ‘boyz’. Hence, scraping it to preserve it …just in case. It’s now in a nice .zip file, handed over to the owner, though I retained a copy …just in case, as well.

I hate when things like this happen to unsuspecting people, and, actually, I’m very sure the webmastering dudes running this show are genuine in their desire to do the job right …for their fee. But it’s too obvious they are in way over their heads and don’t realize — not at all — that their underpants are showing, and those underpants have a very noticeable brown stripe.