It occurred to me yesterday that its been way over 3-years since the “saga” with web4africa. If you don’t know what happened, here is the summary:
Towards the end of 2008, I began researching for information about reliable web-hosting services in Africa. My major interest was to make a purchase from a company physically operating anywhere in Africa. I didn’t care whether they were resellers or not, I just wanted to purchase from ‘Africa’ coz I felt that a way to contribute to Africa was to patronize Africa. Behold, I was wrong!. Gbam!
My other criteria’s for making a choice weren’t so rigid, my search concluded at Web4Africa. I felt they looked most authentic. After making specific enquiries about what I wanted via email and chat: Wordpress, and blogging via blogging-clients apps, I opted for the service in January 2009, made payment for a domain name(nairabytes.com) registration, and web-hosting subscription. It would be my first foray into web-hosting.
Fast-forward, long story cut short, I got scammed right in my own backyard, by a fellow African, a Nigerian for that matter. His name is Oluniyi David Ajao. The logo of his company and his picture is the header picture with links below then. He once mentioned he would sue me, so he better start it now.
I installed wordpress on the hosting space provided, but any attempt to use any blogging client such as Blogdesk, Scribefire, Windows Live writer, etc proved abortive. Texts were garbled, things looking funny. At first I thought I might be doing something wrong, so I uninstalled and installed it(wordpress) again and again. I made support-complaints to Web4Africa via email, at the same time, I combed WordPress’ support communities, for a solution. I contacted some mentor-friends on chat-rooms who were more wordpress-experienced than I am, gave them my login details to the account, to help me out. They came back telling me that the webhosting company was the problem.
Just to add another level of certainty, I installed Joomla and Drupal on the hosting space, set them up to enable me post via the above mentioned clients, observed the results. Similar error messages, they all proved abortive. It was during that time I wrote these tutorials
and others. While all information I got pointed me back to the webhost as the source of the problem, the webhost, Web4Africa / Oluniyi David Ajao claimed his servers were fine and there was no problem. He maintained that I should consult the maintainers of the scripts, and that his company doesn’t provide support for 3rd party scripts.
I then kept myself with a wordpress.com blog: http://nairabytes.wordpress.com while I complained to Web4Africa. I thought to myself: how can three very popular scripts: WordPress, Joomla and Drupal all be having the same problem on the same webhost with the same tools used?
To further convince myself, I subscribed to a Godaddy.com plan, installed Wordpress on a new domain name and everything worked perfectly, instantly. I made several posts from each of the blogging clients I had, posted images, videos, etc., I uninstalled Wordpress, installed Joomla and then Drupal and everything was a breeze; everything I couldn’t do on Web4Africa became possible on Godaddy.com.
Armed with the results of my experiment, I wrote a long email to Web4Africa, even giving them the weblink of the test-domain, but lo and behold, David Ajao came back stronger, defending his servers, services and owning no responsibility to my complaints. He claimed that he was able to do those things on his own site, which he gave me as an example of a wordpress site on his servers.
Rather than sit down and resolve the complaint, Mr. Ajao kept replying my mails. 1-whole year was wasted and the issue wasn’t resolved even up till the time the service expired. Worse was that with all my complaints, Web4Africa / Oluniyi David Ajao thought it right to send me a notice for renewal of the subscription, else it would be terminated. He even sent me Facebook and LinkedIn invites. It is only an African that could think such was the right thing to do, I mean: to fail woefully in providing a required service to a customer and expect him/her to re-subscribe? talk less of becoming a Facebook friend / LinkedIn contact.
The following are some chronicles
- July 21, 2009 - NairaBytes goes to school
- August 25, 2009 – NairaBytes is getting back on track;
- August 28, 2009 – NairaBytes, the Original Story
- Nov 12, 2009 – 60-days till the expiration of www.nairabytes.com
- Dec 19, 2009 – 60 days till the expiration of www.nairabytes.com update2
- Dec 29, 2009 – 60 days till the expiration of www.nairabytes.com update3
- Dec 31, 2009 – 60 days till the expiration of www.nairabytes.com update4
- Dec 31, 2009 – 60 days till the expiration of www.nairabytes.com update5
- Dec 31, 2009 – 60 days till the expiration of www.nairabytes.com update6
- Jan 4, 2010 – 60 days till the expiration of www.nairabytes.com - update7
- Jan 8, 2010 – 60days till the expiration of www.nairabytes.com, urgent, nairabytes.com has expired and will be deleted on Feb 16, 2010
- Jan 8, 2010 – 60 days till the expiration of www.nairabytes.com, update8
- Jan 12, 2010 – nairabytes.com RnD
- March 3, 2010 – Nairabytes.com status redemption period
- April 1, 2010 – My nairabytes.com domain name has been registered by someone else
- August 6, 2010 – Webhosting Company Review: Web4Africa SUCKS!!!!!
Web4Africa was three years ago and looking back, I am wiser than before. Sometimes one becomes happy that some sad things happened in the past because they now serve as an eye opener for something better in the future. How would one learn without failure? But the question is: do we have to fail before learning? and who will volunteer to play the devil’s advocate?
I learnt to look more closely and see more clearly. Sometimes we allow our emotions to carry us too far. I learnt not to take anybody by his/her words. I learnt that indeed, business is business and unfortunately, Africa has a long way to go. I learnt that customer-service are just two adjectives, and nothing more. In fact, I realized why Africa has such a big problem.
I have moved on since then, deployed several Wordpress / Joomla / Drupal -enabled sites for myself, for friends, and for others who made enquiry about my documented saga on the wordpress site. I received several emails, from ex-Web4Africa’s customers, some who had a worse experience than I did. I made a couple of friends, co-scammed people by Web4Africa, people who paid for services they didn’t get, angry people!. I was lucky to find a better footing in terms of a new webhost, and very quickly, and I pointed out better options to others.
In fact, I learnt the ropes of how to do it yourself. And its not that difficult. A lot of web-hosting companies are out there to make money and rip people off. I now find it more comfortable just helping those who want to learn something new. In the process, I’ve busted my hands coding Joomla templates, and making them freely available. which I find so enjoyable.
My experience with Web4Africa was sad but its not something I can forget, coz it was my first, and I’m not ready to be scammed again; so I better remember where I once fell. Till date, Mr. Oluniyi David Ajao hasn’t thought it necessary to make an apology. But of what good is a 3-year old apology going to do? Let the sleeping dogs lie, so that we can walk past!.
p.s: dear Oluniyi David Ajao – if you are reading this and want to sue me for putting your photo on my blog and talking about your scam, please go ahead!