Orbitz Knows How Flying Works

I was looking at some flights for a conference I’m attending, and came across this box in the search results.

This flight starts and ends at different airports.

Good! I was wondering if the plane was going to take me somewhere or just fly around…

My Letter to Libsyn

I’ve noticed a lot more people coming to the Boston Behind the Scenes site through the rss feed in the last day or two. I have also noticed a few weird searches bringing people to my site. So, when I looked at one of those search results and saw the listing below, I put on my email-writing face and set to work writing a letter to my podcast host, Liberated Syndication.


From: Adam Weiss
To: support@libsyn.com
Subject: “We are experiencing unusually heavy traffic…”

Apparently, Libsyn was having server issues when the GoogleBot came around recently. This resulted in the search listing for my podcast to turn into “Liberated Syndication // Podcasting Made Easy: We are experiencing unusually heavy traffic. Please try again in a moment.”

I have worked hard on a quality podcast that gets mentions on international travel websites and draws listeners from all over the world. I’m “above the fold” on Google’s first page for most searches related to my content.

After all of that work, there is no mention of the title of the show or any other details on Google when searching for the show, and I have seen a change in my site traffic in the last day as a result.

To make matters MUCH worse, my podcast is about to be featured prominently in a large-circulation newspaper. If readers see the paper and search for the show, they will not find it. Instead, they will find an apology and an ad from Libsyn.

I know that there are many ways to signal the GoogleBot, and there may be a way to say “ignore new stuff on this pass.” If there is, why isn’t it being used? If there isn’t, the error page needs to change significantly.

I have used libsyn for quite a while and recommend it to my consulting clients. I pay for this “reliable” hosting even though I have terabytes of monthly bandwidth that I am not using on another host. I can understand minor outages, but I never expected a service error to have repercussions that would change my virtual presence internet-wide.

This is unacceptable.

Adam Weiss



Substandard Umbrella

For a number of years now, I’ve expounded on the virtues of the Brookstone Super Size Family Umbrella. I’ve called it a sturdy umbrella with an exceptional warranty. Even though it is expensive, I’ve been happy with its size and compact profile when folded, and I’ve appreciated its lightweight frame.

Not anymore.

I lost one of these during the winter, so I went into the store to buy a new one. The new model was even lighter than my first ones, and seemed to have a better opening mechanism. Unfortunately, the first time I took it out in the rain a light gust broke one of the supports. I brought it back to the store, and I was told that the warranty had been switched to one year. It seems illegal to change warranty terms after the purchase, but I didn’t need to fight that fight, as I’d just bought it the previous month. So, a bit annoyed, I took the new one home. Of course, I expected it to protect me from the rain.

I took it out a few times, and it served its purpose. In fact, today was one more opportunity to use it. Unfortunately, the first gust caused what can only be described as catastrophic failure. This time four supports broke and half of the umbrella collapsed.

Now, wet and angry, I’ve decided I’m bringing it back and getting a refund. No more Brookstone umbrellas for me.