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Tiscaliability


It was around the 18th of December 2009 that I noticed on the page of Status Lamps that some of my webspaces had mysteriously DISAPPEARED! Now look, this is not any silly AOL Hometown or Geocities problem, it's Tiscali! Surely Tiscali would not lose webspaces? But oh yes, they have!

The ones that have disappeared are:

Check ISP Status!

Check ISP Status! Check ISP Status! Check ISP Status! Check ISP Status!

http://website.lineone.net/~zyra1
http://website.lineone.net/~zyra2
http://website.lineone.net/~zyra3
http://website.lineone.net/~zyra4
(All moved to Zyra.at for now).

These actually had pages on them, and the sudden and inexplicable loss is only mitigated by the fact that I am sensible enough to keep the definitive website offline. Also, it's interesting to note that the main LineOne webspace http://website.lineone.net/~zyra/ is still up, and also the webspace at Tiscali http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/zyra1 is still up. It's almost as if someone at Tiscali decided to delete some people's webspaces to save money, or even to MAKE money. I'll explain:

In the old days, when FreeNetName was a new phenomenon in websites, LineOne was a new dial-up ISP, and they were giving away CDs as well. The rules at LineOne were a bit different, but each customer was allowed FIVE webspaces. Of course I wasn't going to miss out on such a good thing, so I reserved my five webspaces and put some pages up. I gave LineOne a good write-up, and I was still saying good things about them when they were taken over by Tiscali. I noticed Tiscali quite quickly disposed of one of my e-mail addresses, but I wasn't using it except as a test address for checking that my newsletters were being sent and received OK. I guessed they deleted it because it happened to conflict with Tiscali

The whole arrangement went on for years, and I did quite well as I joined the affiliate program of Tiscali and found new customers for them. Everything seemed to be going well until suddenly four out of the five webspaces I had with LineOne (which had been taken over by Tiscali) disappeared.

I phoned Tiscali, but I was kept waiting for half an hour, and even then the person on the other end said I should phone the expensive phone number. On that number they charged me, and they said I should phone the very expensive number, an 090 number. Well, no! I won't! Why should I phone an expensive premium rate number when it is THEY, Tiscali, who have made the mistake and deleted my webspaces?!

As a paranoid myself, I soon realised that just as surely as a dial-up ISP makes more money if they put a deliberate slowing-down in the log-on procedure, an ISP operating a premium-rate phone line (you know, like those sleazy sex lines advertised in some newspapers), can easy coin it off their customers by just putting them offline, thus causing the customers to phone the premium rate line, just for the hell of it, just to make money out of them. Now far be it from me to suggest that TISCALI would do such a shocking and heinous thing. However, I decided not to phone the expensive line, and instead to write about the whole fiasco online.

Fiasco, that's a good word. A good Italian word, like Tiscali. We sometimes joke about the condescending way that Tiscali have pseudo-anglicised their name so instead of having the emphasis on the penultimate syllable as in various Italian words like spaghetti, tagliatelli, Ferrari, Pirelli, etc, they've put the emphasis on the first syllable, as if British folk are too stupid to say words which have a Latinesque root. As if the English language weren't one of the richest languages in the world because it's so great at adopting and assimilating words from diverse cultures throughout history. You can see how ridiculous the TIScali assumption is if you try pronouncing some of the other words like "spaghetti" with a first-syllable emphasis, ie SPAGG'iti.

Anyway, let's not laugh at Tiscali too much about such a trivial thing as their pseudo-anglicisation, and besides, they can call themselves what they want! However, the more serious point is that Tiscali have gone and LOST PEOPLE'S WEBSPACES! Not good! It makes them look like AOL Hometown and Geocities. Shame be upon all of them!

Admittedly at the time I had already been moving away from free dial-up ISPs and towards proper hostings such as Vivostar, but because I also have a deep linking policy the old pages are kept as legacy locations on the web. It is always bad form to lose web locations, for whatever reason. This happened when OneTel had a problem and changed all their customers' addresses. To be fair to OneTel, it wasn't their fault. It was actually the fault of the policy-makers at Nominet, who for some reason best known to themselves, decided that anyone who is something.net.uk can't have their customers' e-mail addresses at .net.uk , an unnecessary awkwardness which effectively put an end to almost all remaining .net.uk addresses!

As for Tiscali , we don't know why the problem of the disappearing webspaces has occurred. There seems no way to talk to anyone who knows the answer without paying a fee, and even if a fee was paid there is no guarantee that an answer would be found. Theoretically, they could just keep the customer waiting and the meter clocking up. I don't know if this happens. It's merely a speculation.

I feel a bit sorry for the poet david xeno, whose webspace has disappeared.

Also, in case you'd like to hear a story about Tiscali by another customer, you may be intrigued to read the Tiscali page by Xyroth, which is now online.

Things have got worse! Talk Talk took over Tiscali, and after that even the main webspaces were lost! See Tiscali Lost Webspaces. Shame!