Get Those Admin Passwords

by admin on September 17, 2009

So blogging has been light for the past couple of weeks as I acquired a new client. Or perhaps I should say, the client acquired me.
I don't actively look for new clients. Actually, I'm trying to avoid the whole client thingie, preferring to work instead on my ecommerce sites while I stay home with the kids. Unfortunately, I really couldn't dodge this one, as I have known the guy for a few decades and he's even godfather to one of my kids. He was getting royally screwed by his tech provider.
My client runs a membership wordpress site. His customers pay a yearly fee to access financial reports on the site. He's doing been doing it for a year, and he's built up a bit of a following. He had not been happy with the marketing company for a few months as they had been somewhat unresponsive to his emails, but things came to a crisis when they messed up his subscription page. You know, the page when clients sign up and pay money. It stopped working. When I finally got access to the subscriber page code, I discovered that they had pasted a Microsoft Word document inside a WordPress post. Yeah, they had used Microsoft word as a web design tool. So my client lost about $3000 of sign-up (conservative estimate) revenue because the e-commerce module couldn't execute among all the MS Word html crap or perhaps because the sign-up page was so damn ugly that prospects shied away in disgust.
It took me a week to get into the website because we played a game of "password, password, who's got the password." They wouldn't give me admin userid and passwords to the WordPress install and to the cpanel. Maybe I should clarify: They thought they were giving me admin access but actually they gave user ids that had no permission access to important files. Fun, fun, lots of fun.
I'm still cleaning up the mess. For example I have a client centre for documents that's only supposed to be available for paid subscribers, but has open access to anybody who finds the URL. Another failure: The marketing campaign was using a third-tier publisher's network that is a running joke in the internet marketing industry because it's infested with bots. And the list of horrors goes on. At the very least, my client is making money as people are able to subscribe again. But it's no fun getting up every morning and reading another 5 or 6 panicky email and discovering yet another screw-up-du-jour.
So what's the moral of this story? Well if you are internet services provider, you need to stipulate in the contract that admin accounts for everything should always be available: WordPress, cpanel, Adwords and Analytics. If the provider has a problem providing access to the stuff that you are paying for, then maybe you should find somebody else.


Tele2002 September 17, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Sounds familiar, will you name and shame? Save anyone else coming a cropper?


admin September 17, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Huh. The marketing agency is based in Vancouver. Can’t believe they have any international clients. They must have fired all their techies. Didn’t… have… a… clue.

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