2006 Archive

HEADLINE: Website Maintenance is RUNNING LATE
December 2006 Newsletters and click-through reports for Nov 2006 as well as store updates and additions are running late. My significant other entered the hospital about Thanksgiving. She was in and out (mostly in) since then. The hospital is over two hours from my computers so site maintenance is very backlogged. I was there pretty much the whole time. She was diagnosed with lung cancer and began chemotherapy the day after Christmas. She suffered multiple mini-strokes beginning Jan 17 (right after her second chemo session).

If you have not received a response after a month or more, it is probably appropriate to inquire again. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Tax-deductible gifts to help offset Willow’s unpaid medical and estate expenses can be made via PayPal using this form or you can mail a check to:

Willow’s Cancer Fund
c/o Greg Vinson
P.O. Box 553
Chimacum, WA 98325

Thanks in advance. More info here.

HEADLINE: Florida and Illinois pass the 100 store mark
November 2006 Both Florida and Illinois exceeded 100 stores recently. As a result, both are receiving their own City Index in the same format as California, Washington and New York. These retail store listing (Blue) pages get pretty large and unwieldy when they have so many listings. Both the Florida City Index and the Illinois City Index have already been posted. We hope you enjoy these two new City Index additions and that they improve your ‘finding a bead store’ experience.

The ‘by Store Name’ and ‘by Zip Code’ pages remain unchanged and you can even navigate to the old ‘by City’ pages, but the only links to them are on the ‘by Store’ and ‘by Zip’ pages.

HEADLINE: PROBLEM FIXED (again) :/
Aug 20, 2006 – 8:00 PM (PST) Your form submissions will now process. The data will NOT be lost. We apologize profusely for any inconvenience this may have caused you and now know more about what the problem was. Another ‘piece of armor’ has been added to the form processing script against hackers. We shall see how long this one holds. It has become a pretty constant battle. :/ Thanks for your patience.
HEADLINE: FORM PROCESSING PROBLEM – again!
Aug 14, 2006 – 10:30 AM (PST) Yes, the processor is down again. Your form submissions will (once again) not process. The data will be (has been) lost. Please use email for the time being if it is urgent. We apologize profusely for this major inconvenience and are currently not exactly sure what the problem is. Please don’t expect a quick response. Updates will be posted here as they occur. Again, we apologize. Please know that we ARE extremely concerned about this and ARE taking steps to correct the problem.
HEADLINE: Getting caught up :)
July, 2006 June and July were difficult months. GuideToBeadwork.com was breached by hackers several times causing our forms to be disabled and requiring us finally to move to a new ISP after many years with the same one. With close to a thousand pages and so much custom automation (done by your webmaster), it was a very daunting task and I am still finding and cleaning up loose ends. The backlog for additions and updates has mostly cleared up to (usually) a day or so. I was up to two weeks behind at several points. Thanks to all for your patience.
HEADLINE: PROBLEM FIXED (again) :/
June 24, 2006 – 1:00 PM (PST) Your form submissions will now process. The data will NOT be lost. We apologize profusely for any inconvenience this may have caused you and now know more about what the problem was. Another ‘piece of armor’ has been added to the form processing script against hackers. We shall see how long this one holds. It has become a pretty constant battle. :/ Thanks for your patience.
HEADLINE: FORM PROCESSING PROBLEM – again!
June 23, 2006 – 12:30 PM (PST) It looks like the processor is down again. Your form submissions will (once again) not process. The data will be lost. Please use email for the time being if it is urgent. We apologize profusely for this major inconvenience and are currently not exactly sure what the problem is. Please don’t expect a quick response. Updates will be posted here as they occur. Again, we apologize. Please know that we ARE extremely concerned about this and ARE taking steps to correct the problem.
HEADLINE: GTB finds NEW HOME
May 2006 GuideToBeadwork.com is changing web hosting ISP’s after many years. It is a huge undertaking. We have close to a thousand pages now. The change will take place during May. During the switch, both the old and new sites will be functional (mirrored) to give the DNS pointers time to propagate through the internet, usually about a week. The monthly newsletter and reports will be late and there is quite a backlog of store additions and updates. We hope to be caught up by June but that may be overly optimistic.

You should experience no unusual problems or interruptions while visiting the site during the transition period. If you do, please let us know. Being specific really helps. Thanks, as always, for your patience.

HEADLINE: PROBLEM FIXED (again) :/
April 29, 2006 – 11:00 AM (PST) Your form submissions will now process. The data will NOT be lost. We apologize profusely for any inconvenience this may have caused you and now know more about what the problem was. It should never occur again after May 31 (hopefully sooner). If it occurs again before then, we will alert you here, which is just about all we can really do until then. Thanks for your patience.
HEADLINE: FORM PROCESSING PROBLEM – revisited
April 17, 2006 – 2:00 PM (PST) Your form submissions will (once again) not process. The data will be lost. Please use email for the time being if it is urgent, else please just wait a day or two and try again. We apologize profusely for this major inconvenience and are currently not exactly sure what the problem is. Updates will be posted here as they occur. Again, we apologize. Please know that we ARE extremely concerned about this and ARE taking steps to correct the problem and hope to have a permanent solution in place ASAP.
HEADLINE: PROBLEM FIXED :)
April 12, 2006 – 7:15 PM (PST) Your form submissions will now process. The data will NOT be lost. We apologize profusely for any inconvenience this may have caused you and now know more about what the problem was. It should never occur again after June 30 (hopefully sooner). If it occurs again before then, we will alert you here, which is just about all we can really do until then. Thanks for your patience.
HEADLINE: TEMPORARY FORM PROCESSING PROBLEM
April 12, 2006 – 2:00 PM (PST) Your form submissions will not process. The data will be lost. Please use email for the time being if it is urgent, else please just wait a day or two and try again. We apologize profusely for this major inconvenience and are currently not exactly sure what the problem is. Updates will be posted here as they occur. Again, we apologize. Please know that we ARE extremely concerned about this and ARE taking steps to ensure there is hopefully NEVER a re-occurence of this particular problem. Ideally, it will be very short-lived.
HEADLINE: MapQuest Link Format Updated
April 2006 Full implementation of the free map links at GuideToBeadwork.com (GTB) have revealed a problem. The map links utilizing only zip codes are proving too confusing to many visitors because the ‘red star’ on the resulting map is NOT the store location. These include all free listings in North America and the United Kingdom, the majority. Therefore, ALL free listings with map links will utilize the city name as the main parameter supplied to MapQuest from now on. This should eliminate the current problem since the resulting map will be on a smaller scale and the red star will indicate the city rather than the center of a zip code area where it could easily be misconstrued as the store location.

This system is already in place for stores outside North America and the United Kingdom. For stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia, the state or province code will also be supplied and the English county will be supplied for UK listings (when available).

This change will be implemented over the month of April. Prior beta testing indicates that this will cause more individual errors at MapQuest. States and countries have two or more cities with the same name quite often and typos are also more likely. Most visitors can find their own way at MapQuest if errors like this occur and I feel this is better than conveying a mistaken impression that the red star is the store location when it is not.

Also, we are still very willing to amend listings (city names) where possible, when errors of this type are reported to us. GTB apologizes to those visitors who were understandably confused by the zip code maps at MapQuest. We just didn’t foresee the problem but our hindsight hopefully is still 20/20.

HEADLINE: Yogendra Impex in India
March 2006 We are currently seeking feedback on this company:

Yogendra Impex
in Jaipur, INDIA

WE KNOW THAT THEY HARVEST (STEAL) THE LIST OF BEAD STORES HERE AT GUIDETOBEADWORK.COM (and other bead-related websites) and then SEND SPAM TO THE BEAD STORES WITH EMAIL ADDRESSES IN THEIR LISTINGS.

I have written repeatedly to Yogendra Impex (Hitesh Agarwal is the person’s name associated with this business) over the last four years asking and then demanding that they stop this practice. These requests and demands have been ignored. I finally recently informed them that if they did not stop, I would write this article. What follows will also be included in the monthly newsletter to bead store owners listed at GTB.

As webmaster of GuideToBeadwork.com for the past ten years, I have been in a unique position to observe the bead supply industry. I have seen the best and the worst. It has never been my desire to become the ‘Bead Police’ but I do feel that providing this service entails a certain inherent responsibility if I am going to do it properly.  

In my experience, the people engaged in the bead industry are an exemplary group, far above average in sincerity and integrity on the whole. I’ve received only a handful of complaints over the past decade and hundreds of reviews about how wonderful a great many stores are.

The information at GTB has always been offered ‘as is’ with no inherent guarantees of its accuracy or the quality of the businesses listed. We do make many efforts to verify and improve the accuracy of the information on an ongoing basis but with a list this size (currently more than 2,500 businesses) there will always be a certain margin of error as area codes change and stores open and close every day.

Although we invite and encourage feedback, it is generally not our policy to publish nor share such feedback with anyone other than those providing it. This article is a necessary and sad exception. I am actively seeking information and opinions about this company (Yogendra Impex in Jaipur, India). I will publish all results (not identifying any sources without permission) right here underneath the feedback form below.

I’d like to receive both positive and negative feedback. Have you asked them to stop spamming you? Have you ever responded, bought anything and, if so, what were the results? ETC.

CURRENT FEEDBACK

 –from the webmaster

I am sick and tired of the hundreds of spam letters I get daily and feeling unable to do anything about it. I hope that as the webmaster of GuideToBeadwork.com, I will be able to have a positive effect on at least this small corner of the internet.

There are many honest and legitimate bead wholesale suppliers in India and in all countries. I know this first hand because some of them are currently listed in our Index of Wholesale Bead Suppliers.

I have no direct personal knowledge that the business in question here is unethical in their business practices. I do know that they harvest bead websites for email addresses then spam those addresses forever after, even if you ask them nicely (or otherwise) to stop and that they have been very deceitful with me in the past (see below). There is no legal remedy that I know of because they are overseas. The only potential solution I can think of is to publicize the company’s spamming practices.

If I were a bead store owner looking for a reputable wholesale supplier, I would not do business with these people. They may be honest but I find their methods highly unethical and I would not take the risk no matter how ‘good’ the prices were. This is my own personal opinion (as webmaster of GuideToBeadwork.com) based on four years of experience trying to deal with this company’s representative (Hitesh Agarwal).

I had major problems with them in 2002 as well. At that time they at least responded to my emails but they were extremely dishonest with me. There is a June 2002 news item that refers to the incident for those seeking more information. (You may have to scroll around to find the June headline ‘New Section for Wholesalers’.)


 

 

additional feedback will be posted here as it is received

 

HEADLINE: MAPQUEST LINKS!
February 2006 GuideToBeadwork.com (GTB) plans to implement MapQuest links for ALL LISTINGS for free by the Spring of 2006. There will be ABSOLUTELY NO CHARGE to anyone (bead stores or site visitors) for this useful new feature. It just keeps getting better. :) MapQuest links for GTB sponsors (listings with stars next to their names) have already been implemented. Map links for GTB sponsors are hand-tested and edited until they work properly. The ‘red star’ on the map should be the exact location of the store. The current exceptions are our wholesalers from India. It seems that MapQuest does not have street addresses implemented for India yet. All map links for India currently show only the location of the city the store is in.

The Directions link takes you to a form with the store’s (hand-tested) address already entered so you can just enter your starting location and receive exact door-to-door driving instructions as well as a map with a line showing your route.

MapQuest links for the remaining free listings will be implemented over the next two months. These will be zipcode-only links (in North America and Great Britain) and will not be tested. The ‘red star’ will NOT be the location of the store. It would be impractical to hand-test over 2,000 addresses. We did not find a valid zip code that did not work properly at MapQuest during our beta testing.

Some stores (both GTB sponsors and free listings) will not have map links. These are stores in the following categories:

  • Online-Only Bead Suppliers
  • Appointment-Only Bead Stores
  • Mailorder-Only Bead Suppliers

Also, some free listings will not have map links if the Zip Code for the store is invalid or there is no location information for the store (beyond a P.O. Box).

For stores outside of North America and Great Britain, the zip-code-only approach does not currently work very well at MapQuest. What works best on the most consistent basis is supplying the city and country the store is located in so this is how the free international listings are being configured.

With the over 2,500 existing free listings (as of this writing), there are going to be some errors, especially with international maps. Visitors can always refine their search at MapQuest when this occurs. Zip (or postal) codes and city names can be (and are) mis-typed by visitors as well as store owners and we can’t always catch such mistakes.

Therefore, GTB can make NO GUARANTEES regarding the accuracy of the map links provided for any free listing. Please let us know if you do find an error and we will always attempt to correct it. Beta-testing indicates that the vast majority (over 95%) of the new map links should work properly.