January 8, 1997

Dear Diary:

Weather today -- sunny but cold
Mood today -- HAPPY!
Fly count for yesterday -- 0
HF Today -- 81%

Gee, you drop the words 'Better Business Bureau' and 'lawsuit' and suddenly you're Ms. Popularity. I rated a personal phone call from Fishnet's Systems Administrator, Keith Kelley, and an email (yes, a REAL EMAIL) from the owner, Ronald Prague. Keith is concerned about his reputation. Ron is trying to trade on goodwill that was used up long ago. Check this letter out:

Date: Wed, 8 Jan 1997 01:12:25 -0800 To: Elly Jordaan <elly@jetlink.net> From: Ronald Prague <corwin@fishnet.net> Subject: Re: BBB complaint Hey Elaine; Do you remember the person who did your FIRST graphics for your page when you were a complete neophyte? Do you remember photoshop work that was done for your first page? Do you remember the guy that sat with you in the fishnet office and explained the basics of web design? That was me. I sincerely appreciate your kind manner during a business crisis we were having. Be careful, the hacker is attacking jetlink now, you might lost your $70,000.00 site from there too. *laugh* Anyhow, I'll be attaching and mailing your ENTIRE site to email tomorrow. Hmm... Since you had 5M of space on the server, and your site took well over 18M, I wonder if I should charge you for all the overuse. Nah, I wasn't worried about it, but you need to relax woman. Have a nice life, Ron

My reply:

Date: Wed, 08 Jan 1997 03:31:44 To: Ronald Prague <corwin@fishnet.net> From: "Elaine M. Jordaan" <elly@dreamdweller.com> Subject: Re: BBB complaint I specifically asked that my three accounts, author, mjjord and emjord be combined to give me 15 megs of server space and was assured that was no problem whatsoever. And my site was NEVER 18 megs. The largest it was at any time was 9 megs, which I whittled down to 7 just before your hacker friend took over. And yes, I do remember your personalized assistance back in the beginning. And believe me, I've sung Fishnet's praises all over the place. I've referred I don't know how many people to you. I don't know if you're expanding too fast or what the problem is, but suddenly the feeling that I could count on y'all vanished, to be replaced by the feeling that anything I did or said fell on deaf ears. Except for Adam Charron. That man is worth his weight in gold. I hope you realize what an asset you have in him. Please don't waste your time or my disk space sending me my site from December 8th. I've spent the last couple weeks reconstructing it and I'm currently in the process of moving into my new domain (yes, I did actually get a domain name and 100 megs of server space... that wasn't hot air). I'm not stupid enough not to keep backups. The *point* is that I was averaging something like 200 hits a day to my site, which is rather significant for a personal homepage. The *point* is that all those listings on all those search engines are now useless. The *point* is that people who visited my site every single day to read my diary and use the other resources available there now cannot find me. Keith Kelley assured me, via a telephone call late yesterday afternoon, that your security measures have been improved. I hope for your clients' sakes that's true. But that's even beside the point. What I am pissed about, and it's valid, believe me, is that NO ONE bothered to communicate with me. I could have dealt with the destruction of my site. I could have dealt with you or anyone else telling me, 'we got hacked, now let's fix it.' I could have done my best to work with you rather than against you. But NO ONE would return a frigging email! And when I did finally get hold of you, YOU hung up on me. Hey, if that's how clients are treated, then this client will take her business elsewhere. If half the stuff Mr. Kelley told me on the phone yesterday had been communicated early on... if I felt like I was respected enough to be communicated with AT ALL, I'd still be there and you'd be the ISP behind my domain. It ALL, every single complaint I have, comes down to communication. I'm not all that upset that you were hacked... it happens. Mr. Kelley said it's believed to be an ex-employee doing the hacking and that does make me wonder why there would be such a grievance on an ex-employee's part, but that's not really an issue. I've managed offices and I know that sometimes a boss has to fire someone and then there can be hell to pay. I understand all of that. I do not understand why email after email went unanswered, why the party line was, "We lost some files" instead of the truth, etc. I have worked in the service industry all my life. I *know* how difficult it is to keep all one's clients happy. But the key word here, Ron, is "service." I hired you and by extrapolation, your staff to perform a service. You (that's a collective you) were unable to do so. Bottom line is, I had to find someone who could do what they were hired for. Elaine M. Jordaan elly@dreamdweller.com Elly's Slice of Cyberpie http://www.dreamdweller.com/

Gotta love the last minutes scramble to cover their tushes, eh? Here's the letter that went to the Better Business Bureau:

Tri-Counties Better Business Bureau Post Office Box 129 Santa Barbara, CA 93102 January 7, 1997 To Whom It May Concern: I would like to file a grievance against Fishnet Internet Services, 5960 Valentine Road, Ventura, CA 93003. Their phone number is (805) 650-1844. The owner's name is Ronald Prague and their Systems Administrator is Keith Kelley. Unfortunately, the documentation in the matter which I've amassed would probably not make a great deal of sense to you in light of the fact that your organization is not currently on the Internet. However, if someone in your office has access to the Internet, all documentation can be seen on http://www.jetlink.net/~elly/fishnet.htm The jist of the story is that Fishnet Internet Services, through negligence and the inability to protect its clients from hacking (a term used to describe someone who maliciously gains access to electronic accounts and databases in an illegal manner) lost my entire directory on their server. It was hacked to smithereens. I spent months designing this website, and had I paid a professional website design company to do it for me, it would have cost approximately $70,000. My website was one of the most respected on the net, and indeed, has won many prestigious awards for design and content. Fishnet lost it all. In addition, they have consistantly, in the two years or so I was a client there, refused to return either phone calls or email messages to me. It was apparent that my business wasn't important to them, but I let it slide and communicated by telephone with one of their employees, Adam Charron, who *does* actually care about their clients. After all this destruction to my website took place, Ronald Prague, the owner, hung up on me when I was finally able to reach him by telephone. I am planning to sue Fishnet Internet Services for both the cost of my pages in terms of design and hours spent working on them, as well as for damages for emotional stress, etc. I have physician's documentation concerning this, and am, in fact, seeing both an internist and a psychiatrist to assist me in dealing with this horrendous loss. Fishnet does not care about its clients. Ronald Prague was quite happy to take my money when I set up accounts there, but when there were problems, he didn't have time to reply to my inquiries. He personally set up my third of three accounts with Fishnet Internet Services, and he was just delighted to be of assistance when it came time for me to fork over some bucks. His positive attitude ended the second I walked out the door, however. I am sending cc:s of this letter to several interested parties via electronic mail. I will print this out and send you that hardcopy, as you have no account on the Internet at this time. Thank you in advance for any time and assistance you can lend me. Elaine M. Jordaan [home address and phone number withheld] Elaine M. Jordaan elly@jetlink.net Elly's Slice of Cyberpie http://www.jetlink.net/~elly/elly.htm

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Copyright © 1997 Elaine M. Jordaan

This page last updated June 21, 1997