21 Dec 2011

Beware the Portly Bovine

Humor 18 Comments

OK as some of you may have noticed, over the past month or so there were a few periods where my blog was down. Let me give the quick summary of what happened with Fatcow, the previous host of my blog. (The following consists not of actual quotes, of course, but my condensed paraphrase. However, I am not exaggerating for comedic effect. This is really a summary of what they told me.)

* When I was traveling I got an email from Fatcow saying something that, “You have been making too many SQL database queries and are in violation of your Terms of Service. Resolve this problem immediately or your account may be suspended.”

* Naturally, I ignored the email hoping the problem would resolve itself. It didn’t. When my site was first suspended, I called up Fatcow. Here’s how that exchange went:

Bob: Yeah my account is suspended, I guess because there were too many database queries. I don’t know what that means. Is the traffic too high? Do I need to upgrade to a more expensive package with you guys?

FC: No, it looks like the main violation is the pornographic content in the comments.

Bob: Huh?! Are you talking about sites that are spamming old posts and I don’t know about it? Or do you mean, like, if people are arguing in the comments and refer to each other as body parts?

FC: I don’t know sir. But you’ll have to remove the pornographic comments before we can restore your site.

Bob: OK well where are the comments?

FC: I don’t know sir, all I can do is read the emails that our compliance department sent you. Just go through and remove all the offending comments and we can restore your site.

Bob: Well there are literally thousands of comments. It would take me days to go through them all. You haven’t even told me specifically what I’m looking for. Look, you obviously have some system that flagged the comments. So can you tell me where they are–like at least the month?

FC: No sir, I’m just the customer service division. All I have access to are the emails our compliance department sent you.

Bob: OK well can you transfer me to someone from that department?

FC: No sir, I’m not set up to communicate with them. But you can reply to the email they sent you, and ask them for clarification. I’ll put in a note to restore your account in the meantime.

* So I replied to the email asking for more specificity, and that day my site was back up. I never got a reply to that email, and forgot about it.

* A couple of weeks later my site was suspended again. Here was the conversation this time:

Bob: Hi, a couple weeks ago you guys suspended my site because of allegedly pornographic comments on my blog, I asked for a little help in locating them so I could remove them, and the customer service guy said I should reply to the original email from your compliance department. He restored my site, and I never heard back, so I assumed everything was OK. But, now you suspended my site again.

FC: Hmm, I’m not sure what you mean. I’m seeing here that your site was suspended for too many SQL database queries per month. You see, that taxes our limited network resources and slows things down for everybody else…

Bob: Right, that’s actually the email I got. But the last guy said that was a minor issue, the important thing was allegedly pornographic comments…

FC: Oh okay, yeah I see that in here too. Right, you see, you are in violation of our Terms of Service. You’ll have to remove those comments before…

Bob: Right I know. Look I don’t know if he made notes about it in my file, but I already had this exact conversation two weeks ago with somebody else from your department. So how do I prevent this from happening again? I did exactly what the last guy told me, and your compliance department never answered.

FC: Actually I’m seeing here that they replied the next day at 10:45am.

Bob: Well it’s not in my inbox or my spam folder. Can you resend that email?

FC: Oh, it wasn’t an email. They replied in your Notices at your Fatcow control panel.

Bob: So I was supposed to know that I needed to log in to my Fatcow control panel to see their response to my response to their original email to me?

FC: Yes.

Bob: OK well I’m trying to look at my control panel right now. I know I’m logged in, because the Fatcow log-in page now calls me “BobM”. But when I click “Control Panel” it keeps taking me to the log-in screen. So I can’t look at whatever message they sent me.

FC: Hmm, I can’t log in to your control panel from my end either. I’ll add this to your trouble ticket.

* So that customer service person restored my blog again, which lasted for a few days before they suspended it. At that point I asked Tom Woods for his professional web guy and just paid for him to move everything over to Hostgator. In theory I now have a ton of dedicated server space, able to handle the blog traffic even in the near future when the rest of the world catches on to how awesome I am in my mind.

* In conclusion, a few of you were emailing me, speculating that The Man shut down my site. I don’t think so. You can’t fake incompetence like that. I think the only real lesson we can draw from this episode is, Don’t use Fatcow to host your blog, if you have lots of comments.

18 Responses to “Beware the Portly Bovine”

  1. Major_Freedom says:

    I feel bad that you had to go through all that.

    What ineptitude.

    Note to self: Never use fatcow.

  2. Tzadik says:

    Great, now I can go back to posting porn here.

    • gienek says:

      That was supposed to by my comment to that post, man!

  3. Matt says:

    “You’re taxing our limited resources”

    um, and you’re wasting MY time.

    Been there, done that. Many hosts have so much fine print, but unlimited service! Terrible!

  4. AStover says:

    Make sure to put a cover on your TPS reports.

  5. Jack the Ripper says:

    In conclusion, a few of you were emailing me, speculating that The Man shut down my site. I don’t think so. You can’t fake incompetence like that.

    They’ve obviously gotten to you. Next you’ll be saying Krugman isn’t such a bad guy after all.

  6. David K. says:

    Market failure!

  7. Martin says:

    Well at least you’re back.

    .. So wait, does this mean we can refer to each other now in terms of body parts?

  8. Robert Wenzel says:

    What’s with you and the animals? You are going to a web provider with a cow as part of its name to one with gator in it. This alone might get you banned in some states

  9. Bob Roddis says:

    Suddenly I had this terrible fear that the word “mammouth” had some secret pornographic connotation. Nope. It’s just what they call hairy extinct elephants in French:

    “Les mammouths sont des mammifères éteints de la famille des éléphantidés correspondant au genre Mammuthus et à de nombreuses espèces. Ils sont ainsi de proches cousins des éléphants, et non leurs ancêtres. Ils formaient un groupe largement répandu, bien adapté au froid.”


    • Joseph Fetz says:

      It’s funny, when I first thought of that nickname for him I was thinking more along the lines that he just wouldn’t shut up. But, I have recently began using Man-moth, because if you shine a beacon you can be rest assured that he will keep bouncing his head off of it.

      It’s all in good fun, of course.

    • MamMoTh says:

      Les mammouths enfoncent leurs trompes dans le cul des Roddis pour s’amuser, et les Roddis prennent leur pied.

      • Joseph Fetz says:

        I think that Man-moth just said that you take his horn up the wazoo and that you like it.

        So, Murphy. How’s Hostgator been so far with regard to pornographic comments?

        • Joseph Fetz says:

          I’ll leave the “foot” part out of it… You don’t want to know.

  10. Thomas L. Knapp says:


    I’ve been with Hostgator for years and love them — BUT, this may not solve the problem that led to your problem with Fatcow.

    Two suggestions:

    1) Install a caching plug-in for WordPress. That will reduce SQL queries at a very small performance expense (some readers will occasionally not see the newest post for a few minutes).

    2) Install an external commenting service — Disqus and IntenseDebate are both good options. That way the CPU time and database query load in commenting comes from Other People’s Resources.

    • Silas Barta says:

      No, no, no, Disqus is most definitely NOT a good option. It’s flaky and has all kinds of bugs that annoy users.

  11. Silas Barta says:

    Glad to have see the site back up! Sorry to hear about all you went through.

    How long until Gene_Callahan unnecessarily lectures you about how private businesses can be jerks too?

    • Tel says:

      The real question is whether they can keep on being jerks once the customers start to notice.

      On the other hand, it does occur to me that given the way automated help-desks operate in a shall we say, “cost efficient” manner, there is amazing scope for a troublemaker with more system access than they rightly ought to have… injecting a bit of “excitement” into the ticketing system. If you know what I mean *eyebrow* *eyebrow*.

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