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How not to maintain a website.

by Kees_B Forum moderator / August 4, 2012 8:03 AM PDT

There's a respected company PC Tools (daughter of Symantec, that - as part of its website - has a "guides" section. An example is the 'Security guide for windows' http://www.pctools.com/guides/security/

Really unbelievably it says "The Windows® Security Guide provides information and resources to secure the Windows® operating system and networks with details about the latest vulnerabilities and fixes, articles and technical support. Get started by exploring the categorized vulnerabilites below:" (emphasis by me). Looks good, doesn't it. But the latest security thread mentioned is from October 3, 2003 about a patch for IE5.0, 5.5 and 6.0. Which is REALLY very old.

The interesting thing is that the page looks quite current if you compare it with their home page http://www.pctools.com. Same header, same footer, including copyright until 2012. But there's one very small difference. In the tabs in the header on the security page is a tab for "Guides" which they left out from their home page. So the only way to find this very outdated information is a search engine or a link into it from somewhere else.

Obviously, someone decided to stop with those guides back in 2003 (other guides, easy to find from the link above, are about autoexec.bat and config.sys in MS-DOS in Windows 3.1). But they either forgot about it or nobody had the courage to remove those outdated pages from their site. Well, finally (I don't know when) they did remove the 'guides' tab from their home page. Some minor manager might have had the authority to do that and it's better than doing nothing.

But it's clearly not enough to prevent the company being the laugh of the month in website maintenance for me. It's really absurd: a security company like Symanted claiming that the latest threads are from 2003, isn't it?

Kees

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How to read that page from their home page.
by Kees_B Forum moderator / August 4, 2012 8:00 PM PDT

As I said, they removed the tab from their homepage, probably to make it invisible. The way to go there now is:
1. homepage (www.pctools.com)>support>community
2. Page down to the "Windows registry discussions" section
3. Click "Windows registry guide". This brings you a screen with the Guides-tab.
4. From that tab, choose the Security Guide
Now start reading about the latest vulnarabilities and fixes in October 2003.

Kees

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More do's and don't's for a decent website.
by Kees_B Forum moderator / August 4, 2012 8:16 PM PDT

After posting the first post of this thread I thought it a nice idea to send them a link so they could post an answer here if they wanted.

So I went to homepage (www.pctools.com)>about us>contact us and chose "Webmaster - Send a comment or make a suggestion about the site" (that seemed applicable) and sent a friendly message. The reply (a few minutes later in my mailbox) was amazing:

We could not validate you as a paying customer
While we do everything we can to ensure that all users get answers to the questions they may have, we do prioritize our support services to our paying customers first.

While there might be a good reason to not answer pre-sales questions (questions by non-customers about their products) by mail, obviously it doesn't make sense to discard 'comments or suggestions about the site' from well-meaning (yes, I was) non-customers without even reading them.

Moreover, if you only accept mails from customers (with a license code or a email address used to buy one of your products) you should say so on the contact form. It's quite bad for a webmaster to have somebody send a mail to you about the site and then letting a robot answer that you won't answer it.

Kees

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