Week 3: GoDaddy, Paypal, Zymic, and Flash CS4

8 02 2010

Over the past week I’ve been hard at work getting things prepped for the site.  It’s taken a lot of experimentation, though, so if you have any interest in setting up a site for yourself – TAKE HEED!  I’ve learned a few things about the process, so I’d go about it differently if I did it again.

GoDaddy.com

First, you probably want to purchase a domain name, as I did.  I chose GoDaddy.com, despite it’s horrifically tasteless and childish advertisements, because it’s the largest online domain registrar.  I did a bit of research, and I came upon a few sites that had some pretty negative things to say about their experience with GoDaddy.  NoDaddy.com, in particular, railed on the lack of security and poor customer service at GoDaddy, sharing lots of reports that GoDaddy has taken back domain names without any explanation, sticks you with hidden fees for security and privacy services that should be standard, and uses “dirty tricks” to keep you from transferring your domain to another service.  Despite these stories, I thought that if I lost my (relatively small) investment to GoDaddy trickery, at least I’d have an interesting story to share.

I’m happy to say that so far, things have gone very smoothly – which is to say that my domain hasn’t been taken away yet.

GoDaddy’s website is very disorganized (ironically), but ultimately that doesn’t create much of a problem.  The claims that GoDaddy sticks you with fees for site security, personal info privacy, and other services are true.  Once you find a domain name that is unregistered, say “gomissouritigers.com,” GoDaddy tells you that your “.com” domain will cost you $10.69 for 1 year.  It also suggests that you buy related domains, like “gomissouritigers.org,” “gomissouritigers.net,” “gomissouritigers.info,” .biz, .us, .mobi, etc.  I opted not to purchase other similar domains.  Then you give GoDaddy your address, phone number, name, and email.  Then it begins asking you to pay for them to keep that information secret (off the public registry).  Then it asks you to pay for them to put their official “seal” of certification on your site, which is supposed to prove, somehow, that you “are who you say you are” to your visitors.  After that, you’re asked to pay GoDaddy not to take your domain away if your credit card expires or if your contact information becomes outdated.  Next, it offers you email service, then site hosting, then a “shopping cart” feature for your site, then site analytics services, then data encryption for your online customers’ sensitive information, then advertising services.  Before you check out, it reminds you of many of these things again, always with numerous asterisks and “what is it?” links that show you an incredible amount of fine print.

I have to say, GoDaddy really bogs the process down and seems to attempt to trick you into buying a lot of extras that you don’t need.  It makes it difficult to trust GoDaddy.  On my next site, I think I’ll play it safer and use a different domain registrar.  On the bright side, GoDaddy does seem to be improving its reputation for poor customer service.  The day after my purchase, they called me to ask me about my site and to answer my technical questions.

PayPal

I paid for the site using PayPal, which was easy to set up if you don’t already have an account.  I would recommend using your credit card if you have one because you can make instant payments.  I, personally, don’t have a credit card, so I attached my PayPal account to my checking account.  After the site verifies your bank and account number, you have to wait 3-5 business days to get any amount of money transferred to PayPal.  In my case, it took the full 5 days.  After that time passed, I was able to complete my purchase at GoDaddy with no problems.

Zymic.com

Rather than pay GoDaddy for its hosting service (the ability to upload your content to your domain with a certain storage capacity and bandwidth), which is between $4.74 and $6.64 every month, I chose to host my site under a free hosting provider called Zymic.  Zymic offers comparable storage and bandwidth and it’s free.  Even the GoDaddy customer service representative who called me seemed shocked that Zymic didn’t place ads on my site.

Flash CS4

After making the investment in a copy of Adobe Flash CS4, I’ve discovered (perhaps a bit late) just how deep this rabbit-hole goes.  Flash is the wicked step-sister to Dreamweaver that will stretch your ability to learn code-writing and complex layering methods to its breaking point … with amazing results.  Flash is almost too multi-faceted and capable, which can be very intimidating at first.  My strategy has been to first plan out what I want my website’s appearance and functionality to be and then to research how similar things have been done in Flash.  Youtube has turned out to be a great place to find very detailed tutorials on creating projects in Flash, giving you a click-by-click breakdown of everything you need to do in Flash to get a certain result.  These have been indispensable, although I have a long way to go before I consider myself to have any significant knowledge of this program.

The site is designed to reflect the random and ridiculous nature of our program – we definitely don’t want to give people the impression that we take ourselves or the show too seriously.  Hopefully the title “Reacharound Clubhouse” accomplishes that goal from the get-go, but just in case, we make sure to make that a theme in everything we do.  One of the few “philosophical” attitudes we all tend to have in common is that producers of entertainment, news, and other media are perfectly capable of accomplishing their goal without seeming arrogant.  We make it a point to satirize these types of personalities on our show and we’ll continue to keep that attitude upfront in whatever we do.  We feel that an audience will find that sort of casualness refreshing, particularly on a college campus where the routine of competing with your peers wears us all down.

I’ll keep you updated as the site comes along, but here is the site as it currently stands – displaying an “Under Construction” message:  ReacharoundClubhouse.Com

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