Like Bold Sir Robin in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, web hosts Netcetera have bravely turned their tails and fled. On 23 January I described how a ludicrous quack, the self-styled “Professor Doctor” Joseph Chikelue Obi attempted to silence legitimate criticism of him on Quackometer.
The invertebrates who run Netcetera have allowed him to succeed. All Andy Lewis of Quackometer did was to draw together press articles, ie information already in the public domain, about Obi to build a picture of the kind of man he is. You can still read the post here.
Dr Lewis contacted Obi’s representatives asking what in the post Obi considered to be defamatory. No reply was received. When it became obvious that Obi had nothing to say, Dr Lewis contacted Netcetera and said that as it was plain that Obi could not substantiate his ridiculous claims, the post was going back up.
This morning, Netcetera responded:-
“Thanks for your comments. We do not wish to be in a position where we could be taken to court, and incur the loss of time and expense that would involve. Consequently Netcetera have decided to suspend the Quackometer website, with reference to our Acceptable Usage Policy…
This policy is subject to change without alternate notice … Netcetera will be the sole arbiter as to what constitutes a violation of this provision… [emphasis mine - JQH]
1.1 Netcetera reserves the right to suspend or cancel a customer’s access to any or all services provided by Netcetera, where Netcetera decides the account has been inappropriately used. Netcetera reserves the right to refuse service and/or access to its servers to anyone…”
Netcetera suspended the entire website, not just the post Obi whinged about, at noon today. Andy Lewis has thirty days to find an alternative host, otherwise all his work will be lost. His comment was:-
“They have not said how my usage was unacceptable except that they are being inconvenienced by a deranged quack”
It would appear that Netcetera are saying that they can change the rules at whim and only they are allowed a say as to whether these fluctuating rules have been broken or not. It is instructive to compare their bullying censorship of Andy Lewis with their cringing, craven capitulation to Obi’s blustering threats.
All I can say is – apart from I hope Quackometer is rehosted soon – is that if anyone reading this is planning a blog or a website, don’t use Netcetera as your host – they don’t deserve to have anyone’s business. They don’t deserve to be in business.