Scott Penrose

Trust

Scott is an expert software developer with over 30 years experience, specialising in education, automation and remote data.

It seems yet again we are seeing stories of lost services from internet, service and cloud providers (or basically - anyone not you).

The internet is full of news and blog posts on individuals and business who have had an account suspended for the wrong reason.

This one was interesting today - http://vimcasts.org/blog/2012/10/vim-london-still-alive-in-spite-of-meetup-com/ - It basically is VIM User Group being cancelled by Meetup because "It is promoting a product". In that definition, what isn't? Ridiculous. Are they saying that you have to support all versions of VI?

Anyway, my point is, you just can't trust these services. Google removed my videos because they said I did not have copyright permission for the music I used. I did have permission, written. Sent that to Google, didn't help. They just said if I was rejected again my whole account would be deleted.

My advice - don't trust any provider. Some suggestions:

  • Use your own domain name - see Domain Name further down.
  • Use a mail service (could even be gmail) from your own domain, but keep copies of all your email, and be prepared to move your service.
  • Backup anything social. If you have Facbook users, make sure you keep offline copies of their email or other ways to contact them.
  • Don't use services which can't provide you with member details. That way you can contact members directly if a service has to be modified.

Domain Names

It is not just a matter of getting a domain name. Look at how many domains have been taken by the US home land security, even when they were not US domains ! You could loose your domain.

  • Register multiple domains
  • Keep them in different names. Lawyers will tell you to create separate companies, or at least have them privately and separately owned
  • Write your software to automatically fall back to these other domains on failure.
  • Keep details of your domain on social sites like Facebook, and even Wikipedia. If you then loose or have to change your domain you have the possibility of advertising that indirectly, as well as directly to your followers.

Personal

Keep a list of your automatic email lists etc. You have this anyway if you keep your email. This way you can go and update those should you need to change.

Cross Boarder

Don't keep your data in one country or specifically in one service. Eg. don't rely on Amazon (or substitute any provider) as you could get your whole account suspended, including all of your backups, snapshots, database, servers, even across countries. Keep that data on other service providers, preferably in another country.

Conclusions

The number of "services" on the internet has exploded. And like any industry it is being abused. This abuse has lead to the service provider being very strict on usage. But due to the size and pressure on prices, it has also lead them to be more automated and really have no time to review. Remember that you are guilty until proven innocent. Remember that it is very hard and expensive to take people to court. Remember that it is even harder across international boundaries. Remember not to trust any service provider. They are not evil, you are just too small for their time.