NewsFocus In-Depth

A Look at the hidden facts beneath the story

NewsFocus Website Damaged
GoDaddy Forces Update, Major Damage to Websites
NewsFocus.org, Op-Ed, by Tim Watts - 050418

It is no secret to longtime loyal readers of NewsFocus that this website has been attacked many times over the years, by unknown nefarious interests with apparent deep programming skills. Now, once again, there have been major issues with the website over the last year. These issues are the result of another major assault, however, the new attack is not the result of a hack, per se, because this new attack has been corporatized.

On November 24 of 2017, I received an email from GoDaddy which said "Hosting Account Update" in the subject line. My heart sank immediately, because I have had an email like this once before, and it severely damaged all my websites at that time.

The very first time this happened, GoDaddy informed me that my websites were being moved to a new, faster server, which readers were sure to appreciate. In the end, what I received instead was damage to all of my websites. A headache beyond imagination, with very little help from GoDaddy.

So hopefully you can imagine the angst and trepidation I had when I opened the latest GoDaddy email promising me more good things.

Subject: Hosting Account Update

We've got great news for you! Today, we finished migrating your hosting account, [xxxxxx], to a new server; you should start noticing improvements within 24 hours. Your visitors - they're really going to appreciate it! ...

Needless to say, I was quite sick to my stomach and immediately started logging in to the various websites that I have published with GoDaddy. It didn't take long to confirm my worst fear. Once again, all my websites had been damaged significantly in this second unsolicited move to a new server.

This acknowledged error on GoDaddy's part would surely cost me countless hours of time consuming (expen$ive) programming, in order to correct everything and put it back the the way it was before GoDaddy's blunder. The last time this happened, I grudgingly fixed all of the sites on my own, with little or no help at all from GoDaddy, but this time the circumstances have changed.

Number one, sadly enough, my computer system was attacked a few years ago and much of my archived website data had become encrypted and lost, so I was very much reliant on my hosted archives on GoDaddy as my back up. Some of the very earliest NewsFocus articles were stored there. I myopically figured at the time that the data would be better protected from virus, AND I assumed that they had a reliable redundant back up system, so my files would be safe online.

In hindsight now, I should never have trusted this corporation as a secure data source for my files. My bad for trusting them to be secure and then paying them to provide that security.

Number two, over the last year I have been compromised with new health issues that have unfortunately restricted my ability to devote any time at all to such a lengthy and technically intimate repair. Inconveniently enough, this all happened as I was undergoing four months of diagnosis at the Mayo Clinic. Extra stress was the last thing I needed at that time.

With this in mind I decided to put the onus back on the bought and paid for commercial service that I was sold by corporate giant GoDaddy. I called their tech support team, who are always very courteous and helpful, and asked them first what had happened.

The GoDaddy tech I spoke with (one of many) explained that "somehow" many files were lost in moving the websites from one server hard drive to another. I found this to be a very odd explanation, because many of the files that were missing were from common folders that were moved with many other components all perfectly intact. A simple mass drag and drop procedure somehow discriminated singular pages and files to omit from the server transfer? That's curious.

One might suspect that there were damaged hard drive sector errors and that's why the data was lost, yet all websites had been operating just fine before this, with no errors or data loss (since the last server move).

I cannot explain why twice GoDaddy claimed that it allegedly could not make a simple file transfer from server to server. It doesn't exactly make me feel comfortable about paying cash to have them host my valuable files.

The sites affected are:

  • NewsFocus.org

  • ChemSky.org

  • MediaDeceit.com

  • BehindTheGreenCurtain.com

  • HistoryAsItHappened.com

  • TheAmericanTruthNetwork.com

  • SeptemberCoup.com

  • MadAsHellRadioShow.com

What is probably most eerie in all of this is the bizarre coincidence that it was many of the most serious key web pages, links or component files that were somehow mysteriously missing, from a simple data transfer from hard drive to hard drive. (I'd like to think that a company archiving people's business and personal data had this most simple of all computer procedures mastered by now, but GoDaddy's actions would seem to indicate otherwise.)

I explained my health situation to GoDaddy and begged that someone please look into the missing web pages and files for me. I explained that the second server move was unsolicited, like the first, and that I was not in a position to deal with fixing something that I clearly did not break, and something that GoDaddy was undeniably responsible for.

I was told that despite my poor physical condition I would have to endure a lengthy phone session with their tech department. This was totally unnecessary and most insensitive on the part of corporate behemoth GoDaddy. They clearly could have addressed the issue and then reported back to me, but they refused me this simple customer courtesy and subjected me instead to a lengthy ordeal with a tech on the phone.

Rather than hassle with the countless hours to diagnose each website and missing files, I decided it was best to lose a little data in order to save most of my data.

By this, I meant that rather than spend the hundreds of expensive man-hours going through each website, each web page, every page component (literally thousands of them), I would instead simply ask GoDaddy to just post the last known back-up for each website that was damaged.

In doing this, I would be giving up some recent additions that might not have been archived by GoDaddy, but it was the quickest way to get a full functional site back up and running again, as quickly as possible.

I was not prepared for what I was told next by the GoDaddy rep. They informed me that, once again, "somehow" the back up for all of my websites was also destroyed in the process.

Really??

All I can say is, what are the odds that both the data transfer fails AND they also destroy the back up?

Seriously...

Now, ask yourself this...why doesn't GoDaddy have a redundant back up system in place, when they are in the business of preserving digital data as the main feature of their service?

Does it seem plausible that a reputable data business would be so reckless and careless that it would hold its business model in jeopardy with a single back up system?

It's a reasonable and fair question to ask.

To me, this is pretty much the worst bone-headed, amateur, rookie mistake anyone could ever make, let alone a Fortune-500 corporation that makes its bread and butter off of supposedly protecting your data!

Long story short, I have once again been royally screwed from a company that I pay money to for a simple hosting service. They made the exact same error this time that they did when they moved my websites the first time.

The last thing I was told from their rep was that I would be compensated for this error from GoDaddy by extending my account, whatever that means.

All I know is that I did not request a second move to a "faster, better" server. Thank you for this horror at the worst possible time in my life GoDaddy.

So far to date, I have had to pay a tech friend the going rate of $90 per hour to help sort through the multiple sites that I have published, and to painstakingly track and fix each damaged component. That bill has already exceeded $600 so far, just to fix some of the smaller websites, however, the NewsFocus.org site and MadAsHellRadioShow.com site are both two of the most severely affected and will take quite some time, effort and money to repair.

It is hard to fathom any of this from a company that makes their living hosting valuable customer data, let alone entertaining the latter notion of coincidentally destroying all of the hard drive data backups as well. These are two distinctive processes. Data transfer and data deletion.

To have this happen once from a huge corporation is pretty sad, but to have the same thing happen TWICE from the same company, is a bad indictment on the proficiency of said corporation in handling its customers important data.

In the meantime, GoDaddy has not presented me with any formal apology, nor monetary retribution for the egregious mistake of fouling up a simple data transfer on all of my websites, and also in wiping out all of the data back ups for my websites at the same time.

I have been waiting to hear back from GoDaddy for some time now, after making a formal request to the corporation over six months ago.

Does it really take over half a year for a corporation to man-up and do the right thing anymore?

Sadly enough, this arguably appears to be how corporate courtesy works these days, since the new millennium. They screw you over and then duck all accountability for their wretched disservice, and they always profit from it.

Considering the damage done, as well as the annual server fees for this account, one would think that GoDady would do the right thing and willfully offer compensation for future server fees (no cash loss to them), to offset for the eventual repair bill, rather than go to court and fight a  battle where they are undeniably wrong. Thankfully this case is  very well documented, including complete phone recordings of all conversations with GoDaddy, because when you're forced to fight with a soulless corporation, you have to have all your ducks in a row and you sadly have to force them into accountability.

All I know to date is that I am still waiting to hear back from GoDaddy with their sincerest apology over the outrageous handling of my data in this most unprofessional, regrettable incident. In the meantime, the website still sits damaged, waiting for a full repair, but with no complete back up. Oy...

My sincerest apologies to all for the inconvenience this creates to viewers and supporters of these websites. I will say though, at this writing, that it will take quite some time before these sites are fixed again properly. Your understanding and patience are appreciated.

~

Ed note: This story will be updated whenever GoDaddy figures out how to execute proper customer service to its paying clientele.

 

 
 

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