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Homestead Site Builder – Desktop Version vs Plus – Update

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It’s been over a year since my first post regarding the SiteBuilder program from Homestead so time for an update.

A little history:

Homestead began in 1996 and although a bit ragged around the edges, it quickly outdistanced it’s then competitor GeoCities and became a vital resource for people who wanted to build their own websites and for designers looking for a good platform on which to build and design sites for clients. The program continued its advance into the web site building world gaining many thousands of customers.

Enter Intuit. In 2007 Homestead was purchased by Intuit and thus began the slide down the slippery slope. Customer Service became a joke, outsourced to the Philippines; they stopped making upgrades to the desktop version and threw up a web-based editor that was buggy and worthless. No disclosure was ever made to existing customers about what their intent was in regards to eliminating the Desktop version – no straight answers could be wrung out of Tech Support and the program (both versions) started becoming unstable. Plus no doubt because it was some pieced together program they tossed out and Desktop because they had basically stopped supporting it except for a minor update now and then. Homestead and Intuit were never a good fit.

Which brings us to 2013. Intuit sold the Homestead web site builder to Endurance International.  What? You didn’t get the memo about the sale or what EI’s intent was/is in regards to Desktop SB? Neither did anyone else to my knowledge. Granted, they are in the transition stage, but still, it would have been nice to get a little note explaining that the program thousands use to promote their businesses, hobbies, etc. was under new management and maybe an inkling as to the direction new management intended to go with the program.

Once again I’m back to asking questions and not getting many answers. The only thing I was told with any degree of certainty was that Homestead (yes, we’re back to being just Homestead with no Intuit stuck on – YAY!!) is going to move Tech Support back to the states!  Three cheers on that one.

What are they going to do with Desktop? Dunno folks. I’ve asked for input from Homestead and to date have not heard anything.

Here’s a portion of a comment made by a Sr. Supportability Specialist (say what? Tech Support by any other name ….)

As I stated to Sandy, we have not made any decisions concerning Sitebuilder Desktop, yet. We hear you. We know we have customers that prefer desktop to browser based Sitebuilder. We also have customers that prefer Sitebuilder Plus.

With that said, we don’t have the resources to make improvements to the desktop version right now. We haven’t made improvements for some time but we are evaluating whether or not we need to prioritize that type of work. I don’t have an answer on when we will get to those types of improvements. We’re still working on moving away from Intuit.

You can read the full thread on this topic –  Here

There are a couple of statements in there that made my teeth hurt. The first being that they have customers who prefer SB Plus – ohhhhhhhhhh, I so don’t think so. The only people who prefer Plus are the ones who have no clue that there is a better version. And the second really got my fillings pinging – we don’t have the resources to make improvements to the desktop version right now – EXCUSE ME! There are 1000s of users out there who have been loyal customers for many years who signed up for and are paying for that very version!

The only way we are going to save Desktop from extinction is to be the squeaky wheel – cast your vote Here, comment to this post, post on the thread given above and keep the pressure on.

Thus, a year and a half down the road we’re still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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Does Privacy Matter to You?

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Privacy ProtectionIf you are uncomfortable having your name, address, phone number and even a map to your home accessible to any and all you need to take a look at Spokeo because chances are you’ll find yourself listed.

Their claim of just being a user-friendly search that will allow users to find and keep up with friends, makes my jaw clench. It clenches even more because this is not an opt-in site. They collect data from all types of sources and put it together on a profile page. You aren’t asked if you want to participate. Nor is there any assurance of accuracy of the data they present. It could be very old or may no longer pertain to your current situation. I have two listings – I use Susan and Sue and they managed to find and list both as separate profiles.  Unfortunately one of them is ancient and other than the name, none of the information is accurate.

Laughingly I read that their site had received over 9 million visitors in January. I just bet they did – would love to know how many of those were opting out of the program!  Yes, you can opt out.  Go to their site, enter your name in the search box, scroll through the results and find your personal profile.  In the browser will be a long address (URL). Copy that and then go to their Privacy page and complete the required information. Sadly there is no guarantee that your information won’t be added again; a month or so from now you may end up back in their clutches. Clever of them, deceptively so. They can claim to advertisers they get millions of hits even though a lot of those will be people opting out and then having to check back frequently to be sure they haven’t been added again.

It remains to be seen if  there will be enough of an uproar from people about this invasion of privacy to get the FTC involved. Personally I take issue with someone else adding my personal information for all the world to see.

What is your opinion about what Spokeo is doing?