So, a funny thing happened to me last night. While going through my Mint site statistics, I noticed that one particular site was bouncing quite often – all while trying to visit one specific page. The way my blog is set up, any 404 redirects back to my main page, so the only information I really had to go on was the referring site. After clicking on this site and going through a few of the pages, I noticed that it was a coffee / restaurant review site, specifically for the Orlando, Florida region. Keep in mind that I attended college at Full Sail roughly 3 years ago, so I do have contacts down there. More specifically, one of our projects involved making a website for Palmano’s, which is a small coffee shop down in Winter Park.
As it turns out, the site that was linking to my site was actually linking to the location of a testing page that I had accidentally left up for about six months. You see, the Palmano’s folks had contacted me last spring regarding revamping a lot of what we had made for them while at school. Their host had gone down, and they lost their entire site. They wanted me to help them get their site back up (if I still had it – which I did) add some features, tweak some text, add some new photos, and things of that nature. I told them that I would gladly do that for them, and I did have the files they needed, but I did not have the sql database backed up. If the server was in fact down, I’d have to re-create all of that for them, and it’d take me maybe a work day to make all of the changes they wanted. I told them that would cost them, they said okay, and away we went!
Fast forward to July of last year. By this time, I had re-created everything and gotten most of the content back where it needed to be. I had also sent the clients some hosting options, told them what it’d take to get this thing live, and thought we were on our way to essentially getting the site back to where it was 2 years prior. As soon as money was mentioned, all I got was radio silence. No replies to my emails, and even to my phone calls. I had obviously seen this behavior before from people, and gave it a few weeks and tried again. Still nothing. At this point, I figured I’d just let it go and move on. If they wanted to continue working, I’d demand payment in full and we’d move forward from there. If not, I guess I was out a few hundred bucks.
I didn’t hear anything from them until I emailed the son of the owner (the guy I had been working with when I lived in Orlando, and the contact I had when I was getting things set up for them again) last night. I basically told him that I noticed a site was linking to my site, and I’m not sure how that happened, but I have since deleted the test pages and made a meta refresh that will send traffic to a google search for their company. Additionally, I offered to redirect it somewhere else if they so desired. I just figured this was a simple mistake, and we could sort this out quickly and easily.
I decided to see what would happen when I typed in the client’s address. Wouldn’t you know it, it redirected to my site as well. This, of course, set off a nerve. Someone could have made a mistake and linked to my personal site, but it takes a real set of balls to log into your registrar and redirect it to a testing location when you have stopped replying to their emails and phone calls. Simply amazing. Torn, I wasn’t sure how to react. Part of me wanted to do something vindictive, and the other figured I should remain as professional about this as possible (although this could hardly be considered professional work). I decided to strike a compromise and simply link the redirected location on my website to a starbucks.com search for locations in Winter Park, Florida. I also sent an email to the client in question outlining how unprofessional they have been with me from the outset, but this was obviously the icing on the cake.
The money is certainly not the issue. At this point, it’s been a year since we got started and it’s only a few hundred dollars. I just find the fact that they chose to go behind me back and link to my personal site hilarious/infuriating (if that’s possible). These guys seemed sketchy from the outset, but I certainly didn’t anticipate anything like this.
Anyway, if you’re ever in Winter Park Florida and need to quickly know where a Starbucks is, don’t waste your time fiddling around with their search interface. Just type in palmanos.com!
UPDATE: Looks like they have changed their DNS info. It was fun while it lasted! To at least see what the client saw, you can go to http://www.danielandrews.com/palmanos/ – where he had palmanos.com pointing to.