You’re only paranoid if they’re NOT out to get you

A.K.A: A healthy level of distrust is essential when living/working on the web

I’ve often joked with clients that what is sometimes perceived as my “highly paranoid” level of distrust is merely the result of over a decade of living and working on the web. (I follow that comment with, “You’re only paranoid if they’re NOT really out to get you!”)

Unfortunately, graphic designer David Airey, who maintains a popular blog on graphic design learned the hard way that on the web, there are a LOT of reasons to be paranoid, especially when promoting your business via the web.

Reading his saga reminded me of my most recent conversation in which a client was “amused” by my perceived paranoia.  Several weeks ago, the son of a blog client of mine contacted me…. asking for the log in information to his mother’s new blog. She had spoken to me of her son who was studying “computers” at the University of Michigan and I knew she had charged him with creating a quiz for her blog. However, when I got an email from someone claiming to be her son, I apologized and said that the request for the information HAD to come from her and that information would ONLY be sent to her. While I was sure that he was who he said he was, I really couldn’t send him her log in information.

He was understanding, as was she… but it was one of those moments when I realized how much “innocence” I have lost over the past decade. As I sub-titled this post… a healthy level of distrust is ESSENTIAL when living and working on the web.

Blogs are INCREDIBLE marketing tools for the web. Because of David’s blog’s success, his web presence became a target of criminals who exploited the trust of David’s web hosting provider. I doubt the criminal responsible would have bothered to transfer his domain name (and pay for privacy) if his blog were operating in relative obscurity.

Plan for the worst and expect the best.   David learned and shared with us the trials and tribulations of not only using free email as his administrative contact, but also the trials of hosting your site with an inexperienced (a.k.a. trusting) host.   See, David registered his domain name as part of his hosting package, which is where his problems began.

I could go on with more client horror stories surrounding domain names registered “for free” as a part of the hosting package, but that’s another post! Thanks David for sharing your saga with your blog.  Education is the key to making the web a less friendly place for criminals.