Advanced Access – Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow. NOT!

After using up the free months I earned as credits that extended my subscription beyond my annual renewal, I finally parted company with Advanced Access this past weekend. There was no cake, no good-will wishes, and no tears. Like leaving an employer that you once loved working for, time and ongoing issues had taken their toll. Looking back, I can’t recall a single upgrade that Advanced Access added to my product in the past four years. I was still using the same virtual office to make website changes, and seldom saw any new templates being offered, if at all. It seems that they were simply running the rubber off the old worn tires, trying to get whatever mileage they could out of them.

Sure, they eventually came out with their 4.0 update but it was never offered to the 3.0 users as promised for well over a year. I’m sure it is plagued with problems, and being designed on a different platform, is undoubtedly just too incompatible with 3.0. Reading the posts on the forum and by agents who asked for their money back, those of us riding on their 3.0 bald tires should probably consider ourselves fortunate. Speaking of the forum, what a graveyard that has become! Seldom is anyone online and when there are posts they usually consist of what appeared over the weekend such as:
Getting Frustrated
Problem Editing Webpage
VO Home Page editor is text only
Problems uploading docs
Design Center File Upload Stopped Working
Template Manager on the Fritz
e-mail not working
Scrambled Stats Again
Forum Posting Stopped Working
Slideshow Builder Broke
Stats not adding up-Please fix
Website is not W3C valid

Typical weekend, though, and very little Customer Support to deal with the questions. If they do answer, about all they can do is send up a ticket so not too many repairs get done until after Monday morning coffee. My site is now hosted by Point2Agents a company highly recommended by the Amigos who sponsor RealTalk as well as teach the ePRO classes. Several months ago, they also stopped recommending Advanced Access of which they, like me, were staunch supporters. I already had three other websites with P2A which rank very well on Page #1 of Google and was always impressed how they were able to make ONGOING updates to their software that continue to enrich them with more and more great features. And, NO, they haven’t had a power outage that comes anywhere close to Advanced Access meltdown last year. In fact, I don’t recall my site ever being down!

If you read what Advanced Access posted on their ActiveRain blog, you can see that a pattern of power outages continue to shut agents sites down. For example, on 05/22/2007, they posted “At this time, Advanced Access is having significant power issues at our offices and all services are currently down. 100% of our resources are dedicated to solving this problem with many various solutions being implemented at this time. There has been no data loss or corruption of your services. We are expecting that all services will be shut off for the rest of the day.” This was followed by a post on 02/25/2008 that said “At this time most systems are up and running. Specifically, certain websites will be running slowly throughout the rest of the day and the Classic 3.0 Virtual Office is currently inaccessible. Email is operating and will be slowly moving through the backlog of messages from the past day and a half. Our entire staff is working diligently to correct these remaining issues and we will continue to keep you updated.”

The question I ask is in regard to their continued comments of “The new data center is a state-of-the-art facility with multiple fiber paths for internet connectivity, redundant environmental control systems, on-staff AC and electrical technicians and on-site backup diesel generators.” Why are sites constantly down due to outages?

Now, I can concentrate on getting my pagerank back to where it was before the Web Guerrilla decided to make an example of it and got me banned by Google for over 30 days. What an airhead, and he never did accomplish what he promised to those at Advanced Access who bought into his BS. They finally woke up when his one-year contract came up for renewal and showed him the door. You never see anything posted by AA regarding his accomplishments, so apparently, even they were unimpressed by the results. Between the unimpressive independent web reporting stats for Advanced Access sites and the lack of proper page identifiers, it is difficult for anyone with an AA site to keep a high Pagerank. I slipped from a PR5 to a PR3 but stay tuned, folks, things are going to be changing for the better!!.