The Internet is a wonderful resource for knowledge. We now
have immediate access to all kinds of information. The Space
Coast PC Users Group endeavors to be part of this technological
revolution through it's web site. The SCPCUG web site's mission
is to be a prime source for members on club activities while
offering a variety of links to Internet sites that will help
with their computing experience. As Web Master I am charged with
the design and maintenance of this site. Along with my assistant
George Leventen I attempt to keep the site up-to-date and available
for anyone with access to the Internet. This responsibility came
in for a serious test recently.
If you attempted to access The Space Coast PC Users Group
web site (http://www.scpcug.com)
between June 11th and 18th you found that our web site had disappeared
from the Internet. In its place was a "Server Notice"
message from the EarthLink Integration Team which stated in part
"The web servers hosting this site have been turned down
in accordance with earlier communications..." This action
was part of a series of events precipitated by the integration
of OneMain (formerly PalmNet) into EarthLink. I have spoken with
several PalmNet customers and they, as well as I, were never
informed of the EarthLink integration plans either via e-mail
or the US Postal Service. Consequently, it came as a great shock
when I tried to access the Users Group site on the evening of
June 11th for updating and found it missing in my Netscape browser
window, replaced by a "Server Notice." The files were
still available via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) on the server
but no longer available for display on the World Wide Web. A
phone call to Tech Support referred me to a OneMain Integration
to EarthLink page (http://www.earthlink.net/onemain/integrationinfo/emails/index.html).
There I found a link for a April 26th message to "Former
PalmNet Web Hosting Customers" (http://www.earthlink.net/onemain/integrationinfo/emails/palm_net/)
informing former PalmNet Business customers that the Domain Servers
would be turned down on June 11th.
Further complicating the situation was the fact that the SCPCUG
had enjoyed complimentary web hosting for several years by PalmNet
and subsequently OneMain. Our domain registration, scpcug.com,
is in fact a gift from the original owner of PalmNet, John
Trudeau. John is now in the Digital Photography business.
Checkout John's latest adventures at http://www.eventstogo.net
EarthLink does not offer complimentary web hosting. Their
minimum charge is $14.95 per month for 75 MB of web space. We
would never use that much web space. Our current site size is
5.65 MB. And so the hunt was on to find a new host for the SCPCUG
web site at minimal cost.
After several days of searching I tried K2 Internet Services
located in Altamonte Springs, just north of Orlando. K2 was recommended
by Steve Rosenthal, a former SCPCUG Officer. K2 has graciously
agreed to provide the SCPCUG with complimentary web hosting.
Their slogan is "Your Complete Internet Solution Provider."
In addition to web hosting they provide a variety of Internet
access options ranging from 56K Dialup to Fractional T1 lines.
According to the Customer Service people I spoke with at EarthLink,
former PalmNet customers will find their monthly 56K Dialup fees
rising to $19.95 per month if they continue with EarthLink as
their ISP (Internet Service Provider). K2 Internet Services will
provide unlimited 56K Dialup for a very reasonable $9.99 per
month with 7 e-mail addresses and 5 MB of personal storage. A
toll free 1-888 number is available with 24 hr/7 day Tech Support
as well as a local Brevard County (Cocoa exchange) number for
Internet Dialup access on a rotary line.
For further information on the Earthlink/OneMain integration
checkout the following news stories published in the Florida
Customers of old PalmNet find Web sites dead under new
owner EarthLink, by Chris Kridler FLORIDA TODAY, 20 June
EarthLink says PalmNet customers notified before sites
were shut down, by Chris Kridler FLORIDA TODAY, 22 June 2001
It seems the SCPCUG web site was not alone in being shutdown
and receiving no advanced warning from EarthLink.
For a listing of the e-mail messages PalmNet customers should
have received go to OneMain Integration Email at http://www.earthlink.net/onemain/integrationinfo/emails/index.html.
It is interesting to note that as of this writing (June 27th)
there are 8 messages dated June 7th to 19th under "Information
Concerning Dial Up Customers." I never received any of these
messages via e-mail or the US Postal Service.
Among my many phone calls to EarthLink trying to resolve the
situation for both the SCPCUG web site and personally as an original
PalmNet customer, I asked why was I not getting these messages
about the EarthLink/OneMain integration. The Customer Service
representative confirmed that they had my correct postal and
e-mail addresses. He then went off to check. After several minutes
on hold, he returned to say I should now be getting these type
messages. He even sent me an e-mail with EarthLink's Dialup rate
plans. That was on June 12th. When I asked why I had not been
getting the e-mails dealing with EarthLink/OneMain integration
he said "It's too difficult to explain." Well it must
have been difficult to fix also as I subsequently never received
an e-mail from EarthLink. And now I never will. I have terminated
my EarthLink account and am now a K2 Internet Services customer.
In retrospect, it seems to me the EarthLink Integration Team
made a major mistake in not recognizing the key to any relationship
is communication. It would have been a simple matter to send
the e-mails with return receipts or requesting a confirmation.
Then again if they never had a correct database listing of PalmNet
customers they might not know we exist. Funny though how my credit
card kept getting charged each month. Apparently the money guys
know I exist.
Note: Web Master Wanderings
articles contain links to external web sites. Web addresses are
constantly changing. There is no guarantee that the information
links provided in this article will remain unbroken or up-to-date
beyond the date that this article is originally published.