Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hosting or Hosing - Superpages - Verizon - Idearc

Businesses needing a web site have lots of choices. Many are drawn to package deals involving yellow pages and their online counterparts. In my experience, most small companies would be better off keeping their phone book advertising and their web sites separate. For small companies, a local web design and development company is the best alternative.

Recently, I started working with a client that chose to bundle his small business web site with his Superpages (aka Verizon, Idearc, iCare) contract. He has not been happy with the results and now wants to move his web site from Superpages to my server. He told me that he almost never gets a contact from anyone who found him through his web site. Also, the web site itself has lots of problems with broken links, images not scaled and a rather large 'Superpages' promo logo at the bottom of the each page that sort of hangs off to the right and moves with the browser size. In other words, he's not getting good value.

We decided on a plan; move the existing site to my server, fix the obvious problems, start Google Adwords and then re-design the site. I expected to be able to log in to his control panel and find a way to copy his pages via FTP or some other download process but the only access a Superpages user has is with a custom Java editing tool (works only in Internet Explorer). Without any access to the actual pages, I decided to use my web 'grabbing' tool called winHTTrack (free download). This worked well as usual but it took a while to make the site work in a non-Superpages environment. After a couple of hours work, we now have a debugged version of his site on my server.

Moving the domain name has been a bit more of a problem than it should be. Again the control panel was of no use and had allowed no access to domain management. I called the Everett iCare Team at 888-483-2667, the help number given on the control panel login page, and was told that they could not release domain names but that the sales person would handle that. I called the sales rep but she said she had no idea how to handle my request but would look into it. After waiting 3 days, I decided to call the iCare Team again and this time I was told to contact the URL Management Dept. at 866-748-6621. This went ok and I was able to speak to someone about the release. I was informed that my client would be contacted to confirm the release and that he'd need to pay $50.00 before they could proceed.

I understand that some of these issues might come up regardless of who you choose to do business with but given the poor performance of Superpages (aka Verizon, Idearc, iCare), I'm pretty sure you'd be better off with almost anyone else. "Oh your leaving? That'll be 50 bucks and don't let the door...."


1. John+Dykstra said...

Follow-up. My client called to complain about the $50.00 transfer fee and they eventually waived it.

2. Kim Pehi said...

I know this is a couple of years old but it's a great article. I've had the same experience and I couldn't have said it better myself!

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