Well, this took a lot longer to write than I had initially wanted. Last week, I overhauled the site to include a new tab for “Articles” where I could share my comedic posts, stories of folklore and the unexplained, and reviews of obscure and/or hilariously bad music. This included an entire rebranding of these sections with new names, more organization and the culling of pieces that did not quite fit in or just were not up to snuff. A lot better than having these works scattered throughout a single blog and only discoverable by chance or via the “Categories” sidebar that did little to explain just what these articles were about. This new layout allows for better SEO and page descriptions over the chaotic cacophony of updates, comedy shorts and critiques dotted about the battlefield of my previous blog.
Also, I decided to remove the series of satirical posts that I have been publishing for nearly two years over personal safety concerns as many posts poked fun at US politics and, after the FBI revealed several plots to kidnap or even kill the governors of Michigan and Virginia over mask mandates and lockdown orders to prevent the spread of a deadly virus, I did not feel like becoming a target to some of these terrorist groups. I already get enough guff for selling masks even from friends who still, after months into the pandemic and over one million fatalities worldwide, believe that COVID-19 is a hoax concocted by a cabal of devil worshipping celebrities. I do not need armed strangers coming after me because I made a joke about a particular president or senator on top of all that.
I was preparing to write this update to discuss the changes and the new direction in which I wanted to take my writing, when a little “oopsie” occurred on behalf of my host. Shortly after publishing the website with the new layout I discovered that, out of the blue, my host’s branding had been lathered all over my pages alongside adverts for Square (that little gizmo for scanning credit cards on a smartphone or tablet). This is normal for free accounts on the platform, but I have been a paying member since 2014 and have had my own domain name since 2015. My subscriptions renewed in August, so just what was going on here?
That is where the nightmare began. I have spent the past eight days sending emails, sitting in chats, and on the phone with tech support trying to find what had transpired. To bypass the ads covering my website, alongside the sudden removal of my footer containing my copyright information and my favicon, I purchased a new “plan” for my account. Previously, I have always had a Pro Account, but now it seemed that I would also be required to have a Pro Plan and pay twice for the same services. After several unproductive messages, it was revealed that I did not need to have a Pro Plan at all and it was removed from my subscriptions. All was well, until 22 minutes later when the host branding and Square ads returned.
This meant going back on the line with tech support for hours on end over the course of several days while waiting in a queue for other callers or messenger clients. It was not until last night that it was finally determined that this issue was a bug that was preventing my old Pro Account from being grandfathered into the new payment structure. I was told that there may not be a way to fix this bug but if there is, I will be notified by email when it is corrected in a few months, or even a year’s time.
I have several articles in the making and no way of uploading them without turning a site that I proudly proclaim to be ad-free into a wasteland of adverts for service that I do not use, nor that I think are safe to use. Looking at you, Square. Every time I’ve run my debit card through one of those little buggers I end up getting a call from my bank about a week later regarding fraudulent charges in overseas shops. Not keen on your security there.
There was a problem, however. I had paid for a new Pro Plan to eliminate the ads, yet tech support had deleted that plan and never issued a refund and the only way they would refund me was by providing them with my entire debit card number over email. Yes, and a Nigerian prince wants to send me a few billion dollars if I help him make an initial transfer fee.
The only solution was to purchase a new plan, again, eat the cost of the now cancelled plan (thank you, shortsighted tech support) and go into my site’s settings and delete the old Pro Account subscription, meaning that I would have to absorb the cost of the renewal from back in August as well.
So here I sit, writing an overdue update with less articles than before and behind in my schedule. I guess it will be okay as I have one more record coming out in a bit, and will make another update when that is released. For now, I have to get cracking on some more spooky true stories before Halloween fades into the darkness that is 2020 and hoping that we are still going to get that vaccine sooner than later without it turning us all into oozing mutants.