Webbitez Bitez ► A Consumer Report
Avoid this company at all costs
Ladies and gentlemen of the internets: 
I would like to warn the world about a Web Design company operating out of
Ireland called Webbitez. 
A year ago I met the owner Ian Christie through my
sister. In a general and casual discussion about the Not Now Silly Newsroom, I
mentioned how everyone told me I should abandon the Blogger platform in favour
of a Word Press template in order to better monetize my site. However, I stated
that what has kept me from doing so were the hundreds of posts already made,
which I would lose.
I’ve had this discussion with several people over the years. They all shrugged and said, “Oh, well.” 
However, Christie was the only person who told me that I would not have to lose any of my previous posts; they could be imported to the new site and he knew exactly how
to do it.
That’s when we entered into an agreement that he would build
my web site and import all my previous posts into the new site under my own
domain name. I paid him 50% of the agreed upon fee as a down payment, the
balance to be paid when the web site was finished. We shook on it at his
I could go over chapter and verse of why, a year later, I’m
still trying to get a web site out of him, but it’s all water under the bridge
now. He has used my anger at his obstinacy and inaction to withdraw from the
project, blaming me for being rude.
I have every right to be rude. I have waited a year for my
web site to be finished and he has made excuse after excuse on why it’s not
been finished. Among those excuses are that he had to go to school to get his degree and that was
his first priority. Then why did he take on the project? 
However, my favourite excuse is that his server was
attacked by Russian hackers and he was forced to rebuild his clients’ web sites
at his own time and expense.
Aside from the fact that this is EXACTLY the service one would expect from
a web host, Russian hackers? Really?
Time after time I have attempted to resolve these issues and all I
got were cryptic responses. My direct questions went unanswered or he would point to
previous answers that didn’t really answer my direct questions. It was all passive-aggressive games.
However, today was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Six
days ago, while I was traveling, he told me the site was finished. Three days
ago I asked for the URL so I could see my site. After waiting a full 3 days I finally
sent the following message:

Please read this with an open mind,
something you’ve shown little inclination to do in our previous exchanges.

Had you treated me as a CLIENT from the
very beginning, we never would have had any of the problems we had. Instead,
you treated me like something you stepped in. I maintain that you would have
never have opened our LAST exchange the way you did had I been treated like a
CLIENT. Nor would you have tried to make all these problems about me, or my
rudeness. After a full year of inaction, I have earned the right to be as rude
as I need to be.

You said where you come from people don’t
discuss money. Where I come from people discuss money when they’ve been screwed
out of it.

You may consider my down payment a small
amount of money, barely worthy of your consideration. However, to me it was a
sizable chunk of my disposable income, which I actually made clear at the time.
It’s all relative, isn’t it?

However, even that shouldn’t matter. We both
entered into this agreement as intelligent men, or so I thought. There was even
a handshake at your insistence. Remember?

And now we have come to this latest
impasse. Several days ago you told me the site is finished. I asked for the
URL. I’m still waiting for a reply. Would you have treated a CLIENT this way?
Answer honestly, Ian. Would any of this have happened had you simply treated me
like a CLIENT, instead of a source of frustration?

In our last conversation you told me that
you will refund my down payment, but will withdraw all continued web support.
Will you also refund the money I spent for a year’s worth of my own domain
name, at your insistence, that I was unable to use? You further told me you
will not host my site, which will be an added expense I had not anticipated.
[Thanks for blowing my budget and making me scramble at the last minute to
locate a web host, something I have no experience in doing.] As well, you now
refuse to help me with the SEO, which was one of the things I was most excited
about. Furthermore, if you ever produce the URL to my site so I can simply take
a look after waiting all this time, I suspect you will present me with a fait
accompli, on which I have had almost no input and will not be allowed to
request any changes.

Just to remind you: I am the client.
Imagine you were a tailor. Would you have me in for a fitting or two? Or, would
you just present me with the garment when you were finished?

I honestly don’t
what game you’re playing now. I honestly don’t know why you wouldn’t just
respond to my request for the URL. Did I forget to say “Please and thank
you” or is there some other agenda here?

Just let me know what hoops I still have to
jump through so we can conclude this business transaction. Or, has it been your
intention all along to not conclude this business transaction and this is
merely your passive-aggressive way to get me to walk away?

Mr. Passive-Aggressive

He sent a return message that made it appear as
if he understood what I was saying, but then, very soon after that, he started in
with his passive-aggressive bullshit all over again.

I asked him several times this morning for the URL that
would allow me to see my site. He kept saying I had the URL already. No, I didn’t.
I had the URL to a COMING SOON landing page. Finally, after asking for the URL
several times he admitted that:

As is your other blog, page has an admin section. You get access to that
when I suggested we talk Thursday you would have seen that. But you as always
jump head first and argue pointless issues. But yes I’m wrong.

But, you see, I never asked for admission to the Admin Section. I asked over and over again for the URL that would allow me to view the web site that he said was finished.

So . . . why couldn’t he have said this from the very beginning? Why did I have to ask over and over again to see my site and all he would do was answer with some cryptic bullshit about I already have the URL. No, I did not have the URL which would allow me to see my site, just the landing page.

And, let’s talk about that landing page, because it’s a perfect example of the kind of crazy bullshit I’ve had to deal with up to now.

Somehow I was supposed to be satisfied with this ugly page.
Last year, when this entire process began, I asked him to create a COMING SOON page for me. I was excited to be finally blogging under my own domain name and wanted to promote it. He never produced that page. 
And, he hung me out to dry with my readers because I promised month after month that a new site under my own domain was COMING SOON. In fact, I stopped mentioning it because it made me look foolish.
In fact, I stopped mentioning the entire project months ago. Originally we had scheduled a weekly Wednesday Skype (still in my calendar) to go over the web site. After a while he stopped answering my Skypes. Once I got hold of him and he went off on me, making me feel so guilty, that I didn’t contact him again for months. Because it seemed to be such an unpleasant task, I avoided it completely.
However, recently, I convinced him that I was truly the aggrieved party here and not him (and THAT took typing up a blue streak before he would finally admit that, paraphrasing, “Oh, yeah, maybe a year to wait for a web site might have been a tad over the line.”). That’s when I demanded an action plan (which in the end he didn’t stick to either) on when EXACTLY my web site would be finished. Then I demanded, as a show of good faith, he do the first thing I asked him to do a year ago: Give me a COMING SOON page. He argued against it, told me I didn’t need a COMING SOON page, but I made it a condition of going forward. I identified 2 Not Now Silly logo graphics that he could use on a COMING SOON page. I never assumed he’d use both of them. That was just stupid on his part.
This is the correct aspect ratio.

Stupider still was how he screwed up the aspect ration of both graphics. There’s nothing that crawls up my back faster than someone who screws up the aspect ratio of a graphic and he did it to two of mine. So, I told him that it wasn’t right and it was *NOT* something I would share with my readers. I had to explain it to him because he didn’t seem to understand what I meant by aspect ratio. 

However, he blew up. Again, he told me that a COMING SOON page was unimportant. And, how could I dare criticize something he worked so hard over. And, that making a COMING SOON page was just a waste of time when there was a web site to build that he already had a year to build.
I let it go. I said nothing in response. I thought a COMING SOON page was a dead issue. Then, without warning, he came back with a new COMING SOON page, despite telling me he wouldn’t bother. And, it was ugly, with a capital U. [See above.]
Why would I want a stained floor background? Why would I want an email sign-up, something we never discussed? Why wasn’t the whole thing centered properly on the page? Why wasn’t the email sign-up centered on that other part that wasn’t centered? Why are there several ugly symbols for my Twitter, Blogspot, and Facebook accounts? Why aren’t those ugly graphics hyperlinked so that they actually have a function? Why not my YouTube channel as well? Why wasn’t I consulted anywhere along the way?
While there was all kinds of wrong with this COMING SOON page, I kept my criticism to myself this time, because I had already seen how he was unwilling to accept any criticism from the CLIENT. Everything he does is so fucking great, you see. He made a point to tell me it had taken 8 hours of work, something that I could have done here in the Not Now Silly Newsroom in 2 minutes. TWO FUCKING MINUTES!!!

Today I offhandedly said I thought it was ugly, and he went nutz on me again:

ME: All I know is that when I click on [the domain name] I get the COMING SOON page. I don’t care about that ugly page. I want to see the web site. I need the URL for that.

IAN: Oh[,] man. Seriously[,] did you just type that? Ugly? Lol. Good man Headley. [sic] Keep up the insults from a man that is so great full. [sic]

BTW: He never seemed to spell my name right and, he’s absolutely right, I’m an ingrate because I dared insist on quality.
The IM continues:

ME: You expected me to share that COMING SOON page with my readers?

I have higher standards than that.

IAN: No I don’t. When did I say that? Nobody shares a coming soon page but if you knew anything about SEO you would know why it’s there. [After telling me several times it was unneeded.] Regardless of what I say I’m just wrong. So I’m wrong.

As is your other blog, page has an admin section. You get access to that when I suggested we talk Thursday you would have seen that. But you as always jump head first and argue pointless issues. But yes I’m wrong.

And even spending a day on that graphic for you, you insult insult insult. Read your messages, that’s all my fault. Despite what I have said u continue to be an asshole.

So my point of drawing a line, well if that’s drawing a line and deliberately offending my work….yes, I’m wrong to be offended for doing something for you for free and my time. Yes, indeed I’m wrong. Not you, you, you are a totally innocent bystander. By me explaining why we are at this juncture is excuses to you. Please

let’s move on.

Trying to move on you’ll note that he finally provided his rationale for not giving me the URL that I had asked for time and time again this morning in order that I could see my site. In a very roundabout way,
without actually coming out and saying so — which is how he passive-aggressive answers everything — he told me that I wouldn’t
get to see the site until he was damned good and ready to show me
because – – and get this:

my messages. Read the one i sent last week where I said we would go
through it together. That we needed a window to look at it TOGETHER. You
have no clue how to view it and that was the purpose of the window.

Are you kidding me, Ian?

WTF? I have no clue how to view a web site?  Are you fucking kidding me, Ian?

Or, did he just want to sandbag me with a fait accompli on Thursday? Did he want to give me no time to click around on MY SITE and get a feel for it from my readers’ perspective? There is no logical reason why he couldn’t answer me all those times I asked for the URL. There is no logical reason why he thinks I need a tourist guide to look at my own web site.

Then, on Thursday, maybe we could discuss what is right and what is wrong with the web site designed without my input and without my ever having seen it.

This is what really sticks in my craw. All morning I asked for the URL to view my site. He *NEVER* gave me the URL. He just kept telling me I already had it. Like it was a fucking treasure hunt. Eventually I figured out ON MY OWN that he was talking about the COMING SOON page.
That’s just another one of his passive-aggressive games.
He did the same thing the last time we texted. He said he needed some info. I said what info. He said it was upthread. I kept looking for it, but couldn’t find it on a thread miles long. I kept asking specifically what he info he wanted and he kept telling me it was already answered. It became another one of his fucking treasure hunts. He falsely insisted I knew exactly what he was talking about. After I finally found it and answered he said, “See, you knew all along.” If I knew all along I would have answered when he asked!!! When I said, “You could have just told me,” he said that he didn’t want to patronize me by cutting and pasting it. What kind of shabby excuse is that for his passive-aggressive behaviour? Had he patronized me with a cut & paste, it would have saved us almost an hour’s worth of argument. [All saved for posterity. Feel free to request the text file.]
Today, I never asked for the COMING SOON page. I asked to see my web site. I asked to see it many times. It took a very long time before he FINALLY told me that I couldn’t see it until Thursday, as per his previous message. Why couldn’t he have started there instead of playing another one of his passive-aggressive games where we kept going around in the same circle over and over again?
Here is what I consider the punchline to the whole story: I never told my sister what had been occurring with her friend Ian. It had nothing to do with her. However, recently she told me she was thinking of going to Ireland. Because I already knew that Ian Christie had passed another production deadline and that I would probably be forced to blast him when I returned home, I decided to bring her into the loop, so she wasn’t sandbagged. She thanked me for the info, told me that blood was thicker than water, and asked to be kept up to date. 
What made him think my sister would take his side?

Today, when it all started to go sideways — almost immediately — I informed her as it happened. Neither of us could believe how crazy Ian had become. When I finally told him we were done and our business was concluded, my sister asked whether she could take a crack at him. At that point it was FREE KICKS, as far as I was concerned. Her message sent him into spin cycle.

First he said to me: “So now you turn *** * *** against me. That’s low mate. Low.” 

However, after he realized just how badly he had messed up, he started begging us to reconsider, because my sister is so very important to him. He should have treated her brother with a little more respect then. All I ever asked for was for him to fulfill his promises to me. Seems simple.
Neither my sister, nor I, would answer his IMs, nor would we accept his numerous Facebook calls, which just seemed to make him crazier. He seemed to think he could have a rational explanation for a year’s worth of crazy.

He has now blamed me for destroying his friendship with my sister. Ian Christie has no sense of personal responsibility whatsoever. It’s always the fault of someone else.

Anyway, internet friends: I have reams of archived
conversations with this monster. Feel free to ask for them. Meanwhile, I suggest you steer clear of
Webbitez. I am an extremely dissatisfied customer and would hate to see anyone
else get screwed over by Ian Christie – I mean, those nasty Russian Hackers.

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.