In 1999, answering an add from Verizon Web Hosting, RingDesigner.com, Inc. [RDcom for short] created an e-commerce web site.
At first RDcom did not realize that Verizon Web Hosting was using an outside third party company to physically house on their servers the actual web sites (server is a fancy name for a PC hooked to the Internet or a network). that was resident on a third party web hosting server (a computer) in Florida. The web hosting server (located in Florida) was maintained by a computer service company named Verio Corporation. Verio Corporation is a worldwide company, known for its expertise in hosting web sites with world class security and back up of customer data.
* From 1999 to August of 2006, RDcom paid $295 every month uninterrupted to Verizon Web Hosting
* From late 1999 to the morning of 08/23/06 the RDcom web site ran perfectly on the Verio Corporation Florida servers.
* Over the years, RDcom management went to bed each night with a feeling of safety, security because of the advertised daily back up procedures published by both Verio Corporation and Verizon Web Hosting. Every night the RDcom web site was backed up on tape. That way if anything ever happened to the web site, RDcom would always have a complete copy of the web site from the day before (plus a month back of all backup tapes)
As of the night of 08/22/06 the RDcom web site:
* Was comprised of 1,627 HTML pages
* Was receiving an ever increasing average of 1,100 plus daily unique hit visitors
* Was comprised of 1,627 HTML pages
* Was populated with 4,590 individual .GIF formatted images (created by taking digital images of finished jewelry as it shipped to customers or images created in Adobe Photoshop for consumer education purposes
* Had Goggle reporting 12,600 other web pages linked to the site from other sites
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work performed in mid to late 2005, resulted in key phrase Google rankings of:
* #1 platinum diamond engagement rings
* #2 platinum engagement rings
* #9 gold engagement rings
* #5 diamond engagement rings
* #10 engagement rings (first page holy grain for the category).
* #1 understanding diamonds
* And many more
What was happening at Verio and Verizon unbeknownst to RDcom 2006 prior to August??
* Unknown to RDcom, Verizon web hosting purchased a company called SuperPages. SuperPages already was a web site hosting company. So it made good business sense that Verizon Web Hosting have all their customer's web sites running on web site hosting servers physically located at a SuperPages facility. Why pay outside companies like Verio Corporation, for something, your newly acquired company SuperPages, can do.
* In 20-20 hindsight we learned, Verizon web hosting began a program to alert their web site hosted customers of the change to SuperPages. Customers were allegedly alerted, there would be a planned systematic migration of their web sites from the Verio Corporation servers over to the new SuperPages servers. That migration took place over several months prior to 8/23/06. The migration consisted of physically moving their customer's web sites from the Verio computers to Verizon/SuperPages computers
o Allegedly e-mails were sent out to the Verizon web hosting customers, so they could make the appropriate Internet changes required from the customer's end.
o Unfortunately, not ONE communication (no e-mail/phone call/letter) was sent to RDcom regarding the migration of the RDcom web site.
o So no administrative, Internet or back up changes were made, or anticipate. Everything was working well on the RDcom web site, we thought!
August 23rd, 2006 a day we would like to forget!
On Wednesday early morning 08/23/06 at 2:00 AM, the RDcom web site was running perfectly.
Six hours later, the RDcom web site was not functioning, in fact, the RD com web site was absolutely gone from access via the Internet The RDcom web site just was not there! The RDcom web site was not just off-line, it had actually 100% disappeared. At that moment here are some of the things occurring:
* All potential customers would get a white screen on their monitor, if they clicked on RDcom using a search engine like Google.
* All actual customers e-mails addressed to ANY e-mail address that ended in @ringdesigner.com would bounce back as non-deliverable.
* Any e-mails from suppliers of diamonds, metals, mountings, utilities, banks, insurance companies, leasing companies etc would bounce back as non-deliverable.
* We could not send out ANY e-mail communication to anyone, even if we wanted to. So we did not know who was e-mailing us nor could we e-mail to anyone as well.
* Bottom-line, RDcom, as an e-commerce business, was 100% dead in the water.
* We contacted as many customers as possible using our personal AOL e-mail addresses.
What we did immediately
* We began a systemic, number by number calling of every contact number we had previously used over the eight years.
* We started with our Verizon Web Hosting contact numbers. They had an automatic message as no longer in service.
* Since over the eight years, we had been working with Verio corporation employees (doing work for Verizon) we began speaking with them there. For about four and a half hours, we were bounced around between 31 different Verio, SuperPages and Verizon employees.
* Speaking with Verio Florida, every conversation on August 23rd, was extremely unpleasant and adversarial. In hindsight, we came to realize that the Verizon web hosting work migrating out of house, did not make the Florida Verio folks happy campers. They had flawlessly maintained those web sites for almost ten years. So each time we mentioned the words Verizon or SuperPages, you could feel the hair standing up on the back of their Verio necks.
* Calling immediately, and then ongoing for several weeks, RDcom was routed in a chain of communication events that no reasonable management person would ever find acceptable.
* Bottom-line, Verizon had no record of us as a customer, despite being there since 1998. SuperPages wanted to help, but they could not. And Verio Corporation from Florida was totally negative.
Between 08/23/06 and Present
* We have not mentioned that the e-commerce business of RingDesigner.com is the livelihood for the owners family. So having the prospect of losing 100% of the family's livelihood, is a serious mater. This was not a hobby web site. The prospect of financial collapse after almost eight years of 16/7/365 sweet and toil was almost mentally overwhelming.
* Initially, we sent out e-mails to every Verio, Verizon and SuperPages e-mail address we could find on the Internet. We sent to every CEOs, COOs, Legal contacts, public relations contacts etc etc that we could find. Since we could not get help from the almost 100 first and second level contacts/techs, we figured if we could many find just one soul at a senior level, we might be able to find someone to help us.
* We got absolutely zero help from Verizon/SuperPages (even to date).
* Our first ray of hope came from a source that had little incentive to assist us. The COO of Verio, unbeknownst to us, had his Florida faculty begin a systematic search of all the old tapes scheduled to be erased for our site. Per him, they spent over 40 hours going over old tapes scheduled to be erased. They found a high percentage of our site, but not 100% complete. Remember, Verizon had pulled all this work from his company. It should have been Verizon and SuperPages looking for our data. Verio to their credit seemed to care for a customer, while to Verizon, you are just a number paying $295 per month uninterrupted for eight years.
* It took until 10/07/06 to be 100% functional again. There have been hundreds of hours rebuilding links, restoring functional e-mail, re-installing secure encryption VeriSign SSL technology for privacy data, totally rebuilding and reinstalling inventory and shopping cart functionality and much much more.
* Of course, we rebuilt the site on a Verio server, not a Verizon server. Verio in our opinion still has some culpability, but at least they cared to help.
* Up until 08/23/06 we pride ourselves on quality of product and customer service.
* In the time period between 08/23/06 and 09/28/06, we cannot have any pride what-so-ever in our customer service
* Even though we could say most everything was out of our control, we were overwhelmed trying to explain to our customers what the heck was going on. They had trusted us, and we were letting them down. We spent many nights staring at the ceiling wondering could we survive this.
* Early on we retained a law firm to help us recover damages. And the damages are substantial. That is ongoing now. Let us hope Verizon decides to do the ethical and right thing.
* We have been attempting to contact every one of our customers by phone or e-mail. It is a monumental task. We are working with each customer as to what we can do. This process is still on-going.
* Many are angry and we do not blame them. Even with the story told above, we are taking responsibility for the orders.
Sent 10/25/06 to Cindy Vincent Better Business Bureau Alaska, Oregon, & Western Washington
Cindy, for your use:
RingDesigner.com has a hard earned positive history of customer service over the eight years of e-commerce business. That history has had a terrible black eye in recent months. We will provide a link to explain what happened, and how we are working out of it. In eight years we had zero factual BBB complaints. September/October we have had 10. In every case we are working to make the customer whole.
For every customer who has had a delayed order, we are committing to a full refund and/or fulfillment of their order. We are also providing additional compensation (a minimum of $500.00) to cover stress, and any interest caused by our problem (not the customer's problem). It is our way of saying we are sorry in more than just words.
Due the crash which you can read about via a link below, refunds will come in partials until paid in full. Declaring insolvency, would mean the courts decide compensation which could be pennies on the dollar or nothing at all. That is the last thing we want!
EVERY, I repeat every, BBB complaint that has been filed, involves orders that would have been shipped between the 23rd and 30th of August. We are also seeking damages from Verizon and SuperPages. If we receive that compensation, the refunds will come significantly sooner. What they did to us, and continue putting us through is ridiculous.
We appreciate you giving us the opportunity to make this right. We cannot apologize enough for this situation.
Lake Oswego, Oregon
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Verizon STOP! ..before you think about using the Better Business Bureau (BBB)... CLICK HERE to see how other consumers were victimized by the BBB's false or misleading information. Don't be fooled! It has been reported, when there are thousands of complaints and other investigations underway by authorities, the BBB has no choice but to finally give an UNsatisfactory rating to a BBB member business that is paying the BBB big membership fees every year. When a business is reported that is NOT a BBB member, BBB files WILL more likely show an UNsatisfactory rating, then reportedly shake down that company to become a member of the BBB. One positive thing about the BBB is, either way, if a business has an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB, you can be sure, the business is bad. But what about all those BBB member businesses that had complaints filed against them? Consumers never get to hear about them. What about the BBB advertising to the public? Is this a false and misleading perception they are giving about consumer confidence when dealing with a business? Click here to understand more of what consumers and business alike are saying about the BBB. You decide. ..Remember. The BBB membership is not earned, it's paid for!