What do to when thinking of buying a website – Basic Research to avoid getting ripped off.

What do to when thinking of buying a website – Basic Research to avoid getting ripped off.

This is my first article in a long time and to be honest I never really thought I would find the time or inspiration to write again, but recent events that impacted friends of mine online pushed me to write at least one more piece.  With websites being easier than ever to publish online (we’re talking MINUTES), it is getting easier for people with less than stellar business practices to create legitimate looking websites and then sell them to unsuspecting beginners that are looking in to buying their first website or e-commerce business.  In this article, I will give you tips on how to perform very basic research that can avoid thousands of dollars in losses, legal fees and hours upon hours of anxiety and heartache from being ripped off, or at the very least, completely misled.

It’s important to note that most online website purchases that go awry are not illegal or necessarily fraudulent.  It’s simply a case of the buyer not asking the right questions, or perhaps more precisely, not know what the right questions are in the first place.  You wouldn’t buy a house without performing an inspection would you?  Or a car without taking it for a test drive?  Even buying something as simple as a cantaloupe, you probably have a trick to tell if it’s ready such as thumping it, or pressing the end of it and smelling it, or maybe rolling it down the aisle to see if it rolls straight and true.  Whatever your fruit purchasing methods are, the point is you have a vast database of checklists or must-do procedures before you buy anything.  Same thing goes for buying a website.

When it comes to buying a website, I actually have 3 simple rules I follow and I recommend to anyone.

  1. If the seller is boasting “HUGE POTENTIAL” or similar wording as a main selling point, I run away.
  2. The numbers have to make sense.
  3. A fair price in the simplest terms in most cases is the average monthly income for the last 3 months x 12.

Everything else in this article is centered around these 3 rules and if you stick to them, you’ll greatly decrease your chances of getting burned.  Let’s go over them.

This site has HUGE Potential!

When it comes to web real estate, nothing is more plentiful or as worthless as potential.  One of my favorite expressions is that money talks and bullshit walks.  When folks are touting potential as a reason to buy a website, you need to keep walking.  Classic example:

potentialexample

Potential is very subjective and quite frankly is something being sold to you on an emotional level, a gut feeling or maybe the promise of something great to come.  Emotional decision making in website purchasing, or any business decision really, will lead to disaster.

When someone is selling a site and they are pushing that it has “high potential”, “untapped niche”, or “proven market” or some other buzzwords without any kind of actual sales information or traffic information, this is a giant red flag.  It usually means that the seller has created a templated whitelabel website of some kind in the last month, assigned it to a recently purchased domain name and is looking to dump it for a quick sale.  This means the site has no customer base, no SEO optimizations, no traffic and ZERO revenue.  Basically you bought a site that probably cost $50 to make and will take you months of work and probably hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of additional development to get going.  These types of sites sell for prices all over the map, from $150 to $5000 and beyond, it’s crazy.

You should also be wary of people mentioning that the product or service being sold has been mentioned in Times Magazine or some other sort of publication.  If it says something about it being recommended by Doctor Oz, don’t walk… RUN!

Revenue

Most of the time, these template sites will have next to no revenue, or conveniently enough, revenue in the last month or so since the sale became available for purchase.  Get proof of all revenue claims by either bank statements, deposit statements, shopping cart reports or affiliate payout screenshots.  NEVER just accept revenue claims at face value, get proof.  Understand that if the site has JUST started making revenue, no matter what the amount is, assume this is a new site that isn’t making a dollar and won’t without you making a considerable effort to monetize your site.

In the example of a site suddenly making money in the last month, it’s safe to assume that the seller is pumping adword campaigns to drive some initial sales up as fast as possible to get the best price for their site.  As soon as you take over, those campaigns will be cut and the site will go to $0 in daily revenue almost overnight.  The same goes for a site that relies on ad revenue such as Adsense.  It takes tens of thousands of daily visitors to make decent revenue from the online ad market as CPM and CPC rates are minuscule.  If the site is suddenly generating hundreds of dollars a month in ad revenue, the seller is likely driving traffic to increase value.

As a general rule for anyone looking for a site that has an established revenue stream, look for a site that has been generating consistent or increasing revenue month to month for the last 6 to 12 months minimum.  Get proof and details of all earning claims and if a seller isn’t willing to share that kind of information, move on.  Obviously don’t expect the seller to divulge the magic sauce that makes the site a financial success in all cases (it’s usually obvious) but they do need to back up all revenue claims.

Site Age

When you buy a car or a home, what’s the first thing you ask?  Hopefully it’s the same thing I ask… how old is it?  The same thing goes for purchasing a website, you absolutely need to know how old the site is.  And once again, don’t just take the seller’s word for it, find it for yourself.  There’s a number of ways to check and see how long a domain has been around, but also to verify how long that site has been running on it.  It’s easy to own a domain for 3 years, but only launch a site on it 2 weeks ago.

First off, find out how long the domain has been registered, and you can do that at http://www.whois.sc for free, it’s a great site I’ve used for my whois searching for many years.  If you run this search for my blog, you can see that danrichard.com has been registered since February 9th 2006.  Wow, 11 years already?!

whois

You’ve now established that the site has been registered for several years, but that could just mean that the person owned the domain for years and only recently decided to launch a site on the domain or perhaps they only recently purchased the domain from someone else.  So what’s the next step?  Find out how long the website has been operating on that domain, and I love to use the Wayback Machine at https://archive.org/web/ to check that out.  This will show you just about every major change to that site running on that domain since the domain was registered.  You’ll see a lot of broken images but it still gives you a very good idea of what that site you are thinking of buying looked like a month ago, 5 months ago or 5 years ago.  If the seller is claiming the site has been running for 6 months but never monetized so it has “huge potential”, this is a good way to check out how long the site has actually been around in its present form.  Here’s how it looks when looking at my blog’s archive:

wayback01

Here’s how my site looked back in 2006 when we first started… awww!

wayback02

Traffic

Similar to revenue, traffic claims must all be proven, and again can be misleading.  First off, if a site is being sold claiming it has established traffic of any kind, do not accept any other source of proof other than Google Analytics.  Server logs can be tampered with and screenshots can be from anything, so the only acceptable proof should be GA.  Again, if the user gives a seemingly valid excuse for the site not running Google Analytics or it happens to be broken, big red flag.  A website seller with good intentions would make absolutely sure that GA was running properly on their site.  If you’re seriously considering purchasing a site, create a Gmail account and ask the owner to add your Google account as read only to the site’s Google Analytics profile.  You will then be able to access the GA account for that site for yourself to analyze the traffic.

Again much like the revenue, check and see if traffic has been steady or growing for the last 6 to 12 months.  If the site is brand new yet has traffic pumping in, the seller is probably purchasing traffic to boost the value of the site.  Again, if you purchase the site, those campaigns will stop and your traffic will plummet back to nearly zero.  Use GA to look at where the traffic is coming from, referrers and geographical breakdown.   If the bulk of the traffic is coming from just a few key sites (and they are probably irrelevant to the topic of the site being sold) or 70% of your traffic is from India, there’s a VERY good chance the traffic is purchased trash traffic.

Costs

DO NOT FORGET COSTS!  Websites cost money to run so along with those beautiful revenue reports and traffic reports, do not forget to get full cost breakdowns.  Hosting, ad costs, traffic buying, affiliate payouts, shipping or processing costs, vendor payouts, licensing costs, software licensing etc.  Make sure you account for every dollar!  $2000 in monthly revenue doesn’t looks as impressive when you realize it required $1500 in Adwords to get that.

Do the numbers make sense?

Don’t be so overwhelmed by the fact that this is a website that you forget some very common sense and logical business decision making.  Check and make sure the math adds up.

Is the seller claiming thousands in monthly revenue but selling the site for $1000 or some other low asking price that makes no sense?  Why sell a site that makes $5000 a month for $2000 when the seller could probably just leave it on autopilot or hire someone off-shore to run it and make a profit with next to no effort?  Red flags… red flags EVERYWHERE!

Generating online revenue and traffic takes effort and time, it is not overnight for a new site unless someone wants to flip a site as quickly as possible for the best possible price.  If a site is new, then expect it to take a long time to generate revenue and traffic, there are no shortcuts and the price should reflect that.  If a site that was established a month ago is bringing in 25,000 visitors a day and making $150 a day out the gate, that just doesn’t make sense.  The only exception to this would be if the site was launched by a company that has a massive network of other sites that were leveraged to pump traffic to the new property, and if that’s the case, what happens to that support after you buy it?  The most likely answer is you can kiss it goodbye.

Another expression I like… value perceived is value achieved.  If the seller can convince you the site is worth a fortune, you’ll pay a fortune, easy as that.  Be very wary of sellers temporarily launching heavy ad and/or traffic campaigns to boost up a site’s KPIs to get the biggest price possible.

For older sites, check out as much data as possible and look for seasonality and other factors that can influence revenue.  Run a trend report on the niche and see if it’s steady or in decline.  A good example would be phone cases… several years ago, you could make a fortune selling phone cases and accessories online and drop-shipping to customers.  Dollarama stores, the Wish app and Amazon cornered and killed that market and it’s almost non-existent for independents now.  How many bought those sites without knowing the decline and paid a fortune for a business that became worthless a year later.  Here’s a simple trend report from Google trends on cell phone cases:

cellphonetrend

Check the numbers and make sure everything makes sense.  If you’re not sure, either back out or get professional help from a qualified web analyst.

What is a fair price for a website?

It is really hard to give you a hard-coded recipe for the proper asking price for a website, but as a general acceptable rule, you want to start off with a price that is somewhere around the monthly average net revenue of the last 3 months, multiplied by 12.  Depending on cost of sales, some folks will also use gross revenue, but I would recommend being very careful if COS is more than 20% of gross revenue.

So if a site made $1500 in January, $1300 in February and $1600 in March, you would do the following:

((1500 + 1300 + 1600) / 3) * 12 = 17,600

So expect to be in the $17,600 range for this site.  Previous performance is mostly irrelevant so that’s why you want to stick to the last 3 months.  This works in favor for both the seller or the buyer… if the site is increasing in revenue month to month, then the seller is getting a better price whereas if the site is on a downward trend, you’re not buying the site based on performance that is no longer valid.  If the site has been steady for many years, check the seasonality for revenue and traffic to avoid getting jacked on the price.  For example, perhaps the site sales are very low in the spring but super high in during the holiday seasons and you’re buying in January.  If you use the 3 month rule mentioned above, you’ll be basing your numbers on a very high average.  You should normalize the revenue to account for seasonality and adjust accordingly, but remember you need a few years of steady revenue to know if you’re dealing with a growth or loss trend vs seasonality.  With a trend, the incline or decline will be consistent, whereas with seasonality you should see inclines and declines that repeat year over year.

I would also highly recommend you use an Escrow service for large transactions.  Personally I would go with Escrow for any website purchase over $5000 with 50% released at start of transition and the remaining balance after client sign-off on transition completion.

Final Thoughts

Remember that there are thousands of websites available for purchase every day so there is no need to rush.  Be patient and only buy when you’re 100% comfortable (and followed everything in this article) and you’ll virtually eliminate getting ripped off or purchasing a site that did not come even close to your expectations.

You should also consider WHAT you are purchasing in terms of functionality and addressing your business needs.  Ask yourself, does the site in question even work the way you want?  Is it easy to maintain?  Is it cost-effective?  Are you paying $5000 to inherit someone else’s problem when you could be spending that same amount for a site completely custom designed from the ground up to your exact specifications?

When in doubt, don’t be afraid to consult and hire a professional in the same fashion as hiring a house inspector when purchasing property.  Treat digital real estate the same way, know what you’re getting in to or hire an unbiased professional to give the web property a thorough inspection and provide you with a detailed breakdown to assist you to make an informed decision.

I hope this article will help you make smart business decisions and I invite you to contact me should you need additional advice or would like to me to audit a site for you.  You’re also welcomed to leave a comment below with your own feedback or suggestions for smart site shopping.

All the best!
Dan

Lighting Guide – Simple Guide for Mastering Portrait Lighting Setups in your Studio

Lighting Guide – Simple Guide for Mastering Portrait Lighting Setups in your Studio

Hey guys, sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything new, just been busy with projects and work but I do miss working on my blog and other personal online goodies I used to run.  Anyhow, I found this online the other day and thought I’d share it. Ever wish you had a simple guide that showed you how to setup specific types of portrait lighting?  Check out this super simple guide I found from www.digitalcameraworld.com, it really takes a ton of guesswork out of how to set up your lights for that perfect portrait look you want.

6c2Jxan

Enjoy!
Dan

The SAAQ Responds to My Letter Regarding Accompanied Rider Law in Quebec! Le SAAQ Repond a ma Lettre Concernant la Loi D’Accompagnement!

The SAAQ Responds to My Letter Regarding Accompanied Rider Law in Quebec! Le SAAQ Repond a ma Lettre Concernant la Loi D’Accompagnement!

I apologize for the delay in posting this, but I did receive a follow-up from the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec a couple of months ago, here is their response to my letter, which you can read by clicking HERE.

Je présente mes excuses pour le retard dans l’affichage, mais j’ai recu un suivi de la Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec il ya quelques mois.  Voici leur réponse à ma lettre , que vous pouvez lire en cliquant ICI.

Monsieur,

j’ai pris connaissance de votre correspondance du 5 janvier dernier, transmise simultanement a M. Robert Poeti, ministre des Transports, ainsi qu’a Mme Nathalie Tremblay, presidente et chef de la direction de la Societe d’assurance automobile du Quebec (Societe), concernant le retrait de l’accompagnement obligatoire durant la phase d’apprentissage des futurs motocyclistes.  En 2010, la societe a mis sur pied un comite d’experts charges d’analyser differentes pistes de solution pour ameliorer la securite routiere des motocyclistes. Au terme des travaux de ce comite, Le Rapport moto – Volet securite routiere, a ete rendu public en avril 2013. Ce dernier presente dix recommandations sur differents themes lies a la pratique de la motocyclette. Une de ces recommandations concerne le retrait de l’accompaqnement obligatoire.

Actuellement, plusieurs des recommandations du rapport sont deja appliquees ou en voie de l’etre puisqu’elles ne necessitent pas de modifications leqislatives. Les autres mesures, don’t le retrait de I’accompagnement obligatoire, pourront etre mises en ceuvre des qu’une opportunite d’effectuer des modifications legislatives au Code de la Securite routiere (CSR) se presenters. D’ici la, les titulaires d’un permis d’apprenti-conducteur de motocyclette doivent respecter la reqlementation en vigueur, telle que prescrite par le CSR. A cet effet, I’article 100 du CSR stipule qu’une personne titulaire d’un permis d’apprenti-conducteur conduisant une motocyclette doit etre accornpaqnee d’une personne, elle-msme titulaire, depuis au moins deux ans, d’un permis de conduire valide
autorisant la conduite d’une motocyclette.

Si vous eprouvez des difficultes a vous trouver un accompagnateur, sachez que vous pouvez consulter certains sites Internet, tel que le site de Motodirect (www.motodirect.netiaccompagnateurs) qui fournissent des listes de personnes interessees a accompagner des aspirants motocyclistes.

En terminant, je vous invite a consulter I’ensemble des recommandations proposes par le comite sur le site Internet de la Societe a I’adresse suivante:

http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/documents/documents_pdf/prevention/rapport_comite_moto.php

Veuillez agreer, Monsieur, mes salutations distinquees.
La chef de service,
~
Helene Beaulieu
HB/AMUjl

So basically the letter is explaining that they do intend to do away with the accompanied rider law, however the neither the SAAQ nor the Transport Ministry can simply remove it as it is a legislative law.  So this means that the provincial government has to table the law reform and then vote on it, pass it, and apply the new law and the intention is to do so this fall.  So in other words, nothing is going to happen until next year.

I am somewhat amused by her telling me to go to Motodirect to search for available accompanying riders… how amusing!  At this time, there are 4 available riders listed on the site for my area of Montreal, and they are available on weekends on sunny days and some evenings.  Wow, that’s beyond useless seeing as I use my bike to commute, thanks a bunch for nothing.  This province never fails to amuse me with their ridiculous policies and attempts at placating the public with worthless solutions.

Francais: Donc, fondamentalement, la letter explique qu’ils ont l’intention d’en finir avec la loi d’accompagnement, mais ni la SAAQ, ni le ministère des Transports ne peuvent tout simplement supprimer la loi, comme il est une loi législative. Donc, cela signifie que le gouvernement provincial doit presenter la réforme de la loi et ensuite voter sur elle, passer, et d’appliquer la nouvelle loi et l’intention est de le faire cet automne. Donc, en d’autres termes, rien ne va se passer jusqu’à l’année prochaine.

Je suis un peu amusé par la partie de la lettre que me dis d’aller à Motodirect pour rechercher un accompagnateur … Tres amusant! A cette époque, il ya 4 accompagnateurs disponibles répertoriés sur le site pour ma région de Montréal, et ils sont disponibles le week-end, les jours ensoleillés et certains soirs. Wowfantastique pour quelqu’un comme moi qui utilize leur pour se render au travail, merci pour rien! Cette province ne manque jamais de me faire rigoler avec leurs politiques et leurs tentatives ridicules à apaiser le public avec des solutions sans valeur.

Well, at least they answered my letter…

Dan

Contre la Loi de L’Accompagnateur pour Moto au Québec? Against the Accompanied Rider Law in Quebec? Take Action!

Contre la Loi de L’Accompagnateur pour Moto au Québec? Against the Accompanied Rider Law in Quebec? Take Action!

blog_moto

UPDATE! The SAAQ replied to my letter, click here to read! Le SAAQ a repondu a ma letter, cliquez ici pour lire!

(Francais) Bienvenue à mon premier post bilingue et mon premier post de 2015! Aujourd’hui, je voulais parler un peu d’une loi provinciale au Québec qui affecte tous les nouveaux motocyclistes, et j’espère que je peux encourager les autres individuels et des groupes au Québec de prendre des mesures et obtenir cette loi révoqué à temps pour la saison 2015 de moto au Québec . Cette loi est la loi de conducteur accompagné, obligeant tous les nouveaux conducteurs de motocyclettes être soumis à au moins 11 mois de conduite probatoire dans lequel ils doivent être accompagnés en tout temps lors de la conduite de leur moto par un autre conducteur sur leur propre moto qui a eu leur permis complète au moins de 1 an. La loi est carrément ridicule et éprouvées pour être dangereux, causer plus de tort que de bien pour une variété de raisons.

Je n’entrerai pas trop en détails sur mes points de vue et réflexions sur cette loi, je simplement vous invite à lire une copie de ma lettre récemment adressée au ministre des Transports du Québec, M. Robert Poeti, et à la SAAQ (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec) Président, Natalie Tremblay. Si vous souhaitez également être entendu, je vous invite à bien vouloir tendre la main et envoyer des lettres aussi. C’est le temps de se débarrasser de cette loi!

(English) Welcome to my first bilingual post and my first post of 2015!  Today I wanted to talk a bit about a provincial law in Quebec that affects all new motorcycle riders, and I hope I can encourage other riders and groups in Quebec to take action and get this law revoked in time for the 2015 motorcycle season here in Quebec.  That law is the accompanied driver law, requiring all new motorcycle drivers be subjected to at least 11 months of probationary driving wherein they must be accompanied at all times when driving their motorcycle by another driver on their own bike that has had their full license for at least 1 year.  The law is flat out ridiculous and PROVEN to be dangerous, causing more harm than good for a variety of reasons.

I won’t go in to too many details on my viewpoints and thoughts on this law, I simply invite you to read a copy of my letter recently sent to the Minister of Transportation Quebec, Mr. Robert Poeti, and to the SAAQ (Society de l’Assurance Automobile du Quebec) President, Natalie Tremblay.  If you would also like to be heard, I invite you to please reach out and send letters of your own.  Let it be known that 4 years of floundering is enough, get rid of this law!

Write to / Ecrire:

Presidente Mme. Natalie Tremblay
Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec
333 Boul Jean Lesage N-6-2
PO BOX 19600
Quebec, QC
G1K8J6

Mr. Robert Poeti
Cabinet du Ministere
700 Boul Rene Levesque Est 29th Floor
Quebec, QC
G1R5H1

Version Francais:

5 Janvier, 2015
Cher Monsieur Robert Poeti,

Je vous écris aujourd’hui dans l’espoir que cette lettre, en collaboration avec plusieurs études connexes, les commentaires des écoles de conduit et les clubs de moto à travers le Québec, contribuera à faire de la Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec et le ministère des Transports du Québec pour finalement abolir la loi du «conducteur d’accompagnement» pour les permis 6A d’apprenants à temps pour la saison de moto 2015.

 

Je suis nouveau motocycliste au Québec, en passant mon test de circuit juste avant la fin de la saison 2014 au début Octobre. J’avais un permis de moto en Ontario au milieu des années 1990, que je n’ai pas renouvelé quand j’ai déménagé à Québec en 1997 – j’ai renouvelé seulement mon permis d’auto. Apres un dossier de conduit très propre pendant 22 ans j’ai décidé de relever la moto à nouveau dans la province de Québec, mais je dois commencer le processus d’octroi de licences depuis le début, ce qui signifie que je dois commencer avec le permis de 6A et vais devoir le faire pour la majorité de la saison 2015.

 

Pourquoi une moto? Mis à part la jouissance de conduire un moto, je cherche à réduire ma consommation de carburant pour aller au travail, abaisser mes coûts d’assurance (j’ai déjà acheté une moto 650cc), réduire mon empreinte carbone en réduisant les émissions et le recours à des fluides à base de combustibles fossiles tels que l’huile de moteur, et ayant un impact sur l’environnement global, financier et routière plus petite.

 

C’est avec une grande inquiétude que je trouve que je peux réaliser aucun de ces objectifs, en raison de la loi impossible d’accompagnement extrêmement inefficace et très honnêtement, cavalier. Je n’ai pas d’amis qui conduisent des motos, pas de connaissances, pas de collègues et aucune famille qui possèdent une moto ici, au Québec. Même si oui, aucune partage le même horaire de travail ou le chemin que j’utilise. La SAAQ a créé un obstacle majeur à apprendre à conduire une moto et le fait est, les titulaires de classe 6A sont obligés soit de briser la loi et conduire illégalement, ou garer leurs motos jusqu’à passer le test de route pleine.

 

Il y a aussi aucune manière que ce soit fourni par la SAAQ pour correspondre nouveaux motocyclistes avec des gens expérimentés pour les accompagner. Une recherche rapide sur Google montre des centaines de nouveaux motocyclistes qui mendient pour accompagnateurs, mais à part de quelques personnes qui se rendent disponibles pour les balades du week-end, il est presque impossible de trouver quelqu’un qui viendrait près d’égaler mon horaire de travail et de la voie.

 

Votre propre étude commandée avec la FCM indique clairement cette loi ne fonctionne pas: SAAQ Publications

 

En termes clairs, l’étude recommande “le retrait de l’accompagnement obligatoire de l’apprenti motocycliste.“

 

Je suis sûr que la loi de accompagnateur a été créé avec les meilleures intentions pour protéger nouveaux motocyclistes, mais malheureusement, les études et les évaluations montre le contraire qui se passe. Les nouveaux conducteurs sont obligés d’attendre jusqu’à ce qu’ils puissent obtenir un permis complet pour commencer effectivement la conduite, à quel point ils ont zéro restrictions et peuvent même transporter des passagers, au lieu de profiter de la période probatoire pour construire leurs compétences avant de devenir admissible à un permis complet. Cette loi est universellement révélée inefficace, contre-productive, et dans certains cas réellement dangereux.

 

En conclusion, je demande encore une fois, s’il vous plaît permettez-moi de pratiquer mes compétences et avoir une saison de conduite agréable, légale et sûre en 2015 et mettre fin la loi de accompagnateur. Sinon, ce sera une autre année de mon moto assis dans mon garage ne rien faire.

 

Je vous remercie sincèrement pour votre temps et svp trouver inclus les deux pages pertinentes de l’étude SAAQ / FCM qui traite l’abolition de la loi d’accompagnateur pour reference.

English Version:

January 5, 2015
Dear Mr. Robert Poeti,

 

I am writing you today in the hopes that this letter, in conjunction with several related studies, feedback from driving schools and motorcycle clubs throughout Quebec, will help push the Societe de l’Assurance Automobile du Quebec and the Ministere des Transports du Quebec to finally abolish the “Accompanying rider law” for 6A learner permits in time for the 2015 riding season.

 

I am new motorcycle rider in Quebec, passing my circuit test just before the end of the 2014 season in early October.  I used to hold a full motorcycle license in Ontario in the mid 1990s, which I did not renew when I moved to Quebec and I have been licensed and driving motor vehicles with a very clean record for 22 years.  I have decided to take up motorcycle riding again in the province of Quebec, however I must start the licensing process from the beginning, meaning I must start with the 6A permit and will have to do so for the majority of the 2015 riding season.

 

Why a motorcycle?  Aside from the enjoyment of riding, I am looking to reduce my fuel consumption to and from work, lower my insurance costs (I have already purchased an older 650cc motorcycle), lower my carbon footprint by reducing emissions and reliance on fossil fuel based fluids such as engine oil, and overall having a smaller environmental and financial impact.

 

It is with great alarm that I find I can achieve none of these goals, due to the extremely ineffective and quite honestly, impossible accompanying rider law.  I have no friends that drive motorcycles, no acquaintances, no co-workers and no family that own a motorcycle here in Quebec.  Even if I did, none share the same work schedule or route that I have.  The SAAQ has created a major roadblock to learning how to drive a motorcycle and the fact is, class 6A holders are being forced to either break the law and drive illegally, or park their bikes until passing the full road test.

 

There is also no venue provided whatsoever by the SAAQ to match new riders with experienced riders to accompany them.  A quick search on Google shows hundreds of new riders begging for accompanying permit holders, but aside from a few people that make themselves available for weekend rides, it is next to impossible to find anyone that would come close to matching my work schedule and route.

 

Your very own commissioned study with the FCM clearly states this law does not work: SAAQ Publications

 

In no uncertain terms, the study calls for le retrait de l’accompagnement obligatoire de l’apprenti motocycliste.” ***

 

I am sure the accompanying rider law was created with the best intentions to protect new riders, but unfortunately studies and feedback show the opposite is happening.  New riders are forced to wait until they can get a full license to actually start driving, at which point they have zero restrictions and can even carry passengers, instead of taking advantage of the probationary period to build their skills before becoming eligible for a full permit.  This law is universally proven to be ineffective, counterproductive, and in some cases actually dangerous.

 

In conclusion, I ask again, please allow me to build my skills and have an enjoyable, LEGAL and safe riding season in 2015 and do away with the accompanying rider law this spring.  Otherwise, it will be another year of my bike sitting in my garage for nothing.

 

I sincerely thank you for your time and I have included the 2 relevant pages from the SAAQ/FCM study that discusses the abolition of the accompanying rider law for reference.

 

All the best and I hope to hear from you on the subject.

*** Translates to “the removal of an obligatory accompaniment driver for new motorcycle drivers”.

The study to which I am referring to can be downloaded HERE.  The two key pages are as follows / L’étude à laquelle je me réfère à peut être téléchargé ici. Les deux pages principales sont les suivantes:

reportmoto1
reportmoto2

(English Translation) In case you do not understand french, the report outlines the 6 major flaws in the law:

  1. The complete lack of available qualified drivers to accompany new riders.
  2. The inability for the new driver and experienced driver to effectively communicate.
  3. The impossibility of the experienced rider to make corrective decisions and maneuvers on behalf of the new driver.
  4. The danger of having the new driver focus on the experienced driver for signals and queues instead of keeping his eye on the road and what’s in front of him.
  5. The danger of forcing a new driver to keep up with an experienced rider.
  6. Most new drivers on the road are young people learning to drive a car, and vehicles tend to be easily accessible by the vast majority of road users.  New motorcycle drivers tend to be older and often don’t know anyone else that drives a motorcycle.

I would also recommend you check out a great online letter that was posted by Michel Barrette on Autonet.ca by clicking here.  My favorite part of his letter is the following / Je recommande également de lire une lettre en ligne qui a été publié par Michel Barrette sur Autonet.ca en cliquant ici. Ma partie préférée de sa lettre est le suivant:

Vous vous direz sûrement ce qu’on se dit tous : j’ai payé mon cours de moto, j’ai été présent tous les jours, les instructeurs professionnels de l’école ont jugé que j’étais apte à conduire ma moto en toute sécurité, j’ai passé mon examen théorique avec succès, j’ai refait une journée de rafraîchissement avec les instructeurs, je suis allé faire l’acrobate dans la cour du centre d’achats avec mon dossard jaune orange (oui je sais, je ne l’ai pas digéré, celui-là), j’ai pratiqué dans les rues de la ville et sur les autoroutes, j’ai suivi sous la pluie des semi-remorques, me suis fait couper la route par un taxi sans me planter, alors normalement, sauf erreur, je suis prêt à prendre SEUL la route pour aller où je veux et quand je le veux.

 

Vous allez me dire que maintenant, pendant 11 mois, je dois me trouver quelqu’un qui possède déjà un permis moto, qui doit venir me chercher chez moi avec sa moto et non l’inverse, sinon ce serait illégal, qu’on doit choisir ensemble notre destination, que je ne peux donc pas aller travailler avec ma moto s’il ne travaille pas au même endroit, que je ne peux pas décider d’aller voir ma mère à Chicoutimi ou de faire le tour de la Gaspésie parce qu’il n’a pas le temps ou que ce n’est simplement pas de son goût ?

(English Translation) He is basically saying the following:

This is my understanding: I paid for my mandatory course, I was present every day, professional driving instructors judged that I was able to safely drive my motorcycle, I passed the written exam, I ran a 1 day refresher course with the professional instructors again, did the acrobatic closed course riding exam, I practiced in the streets and highways of the city, was water blasted as I followed 18 wheelers, I was cut off by a taxi and didn’t crash, so at this point, I would say I am ready to drive on the road by myself when I want and where I want.

 

BUT now you’re going to tell me that for the next 11 months I have to find someone who has already had their full license for at least a year and has their own motorcycle and that they have to come and meet me at my place (I can’t drive to meet him otherwise it is illegal), we both have to have the same destination meaning I can’t use my motorcycle to drive to work unless he works at the same building and has the same schedule, and I can’t drive to go and see my mother in a different city nor can I tour the beautiful Gaspesie because I can’t find a driver who has the time or interest to go to the same place I wish to visit?

The law is ridiculous and downright dangerous.  Please write a letter or file a complaint with the SAAQ today and hopefully the accompanied driver law is abolished in Spring 2015. / La loi est ridicule et carrément dangereux. S’il vous plaît écrire une lettre ou déposer une plainte auprès de la SAAQ aujourd’hui et j’espère que la loi de conducteur accompagné est aboli au printemps 2015.

Merci,
Dan

P2LHosting is now closed, thank you everyone!

P2LHosting is now closed, thank you everyone!

I wanted to write a quick little blurb and thank you to all my clients and past-clients that entrusted me with their website assets by using P2LHosting for their webhosting needs.  As of today, the primary server was taken offline for good and hopefully everyone was able to switch over to a new hosting plan before the due date, which I communicated to all active clients twice via email earlier this month.

Unfortunately P2LHosting had been losing money for several years, but the amount was not that big of a deal as it proved extremely useful for me personally as well as for my clients.  But as the last few years have unfolded and I have been dedicating my work hours to my full-time career, the hosting business stagnated and eventually clients started to drop off.  Not many, but in a business where ever penny counts, even 2 or 3 clients lost per year hurts.  In addition, I was no longer able to respond to trouble tickets as quickly as I wanted, and I didn’t think that was fair to my loyal customers that were used to 1 hour response times over the years.  There is really no time to grow this business as all of my efforts are focused on serving the Playboy digital network that I currently manage.

For anyone that did not transfer in time (perhaps you never received any of the emails) I did keep a close eye on domains that were still pointed to the P2LHosting nameservers and I have downloaded complete cPanel backups for your accounts.

Didn’t transfer your account yet?

OK don’t panic, here’s what I have asked clients to do:

  1. Sign up for an account with a hosting company that uses cPanel.  I have personally moved to HostGator and I am referring people to use them as well.  You can choose a package and sign up HERE!
  2. During the sign up process, make sure you use the SAME cPanel username on your hosting sign up that you had with P2LHosting,  This is the username you would use when logging in to cPanel.  This is really important.
  3. Forward me your welcome email, which should contain your new cPanel information, including the login URL and login credentials as well as your site’s IP and nameservers, and your helpdesk login information.
  4. I will upload the cPanel backup to the home directory of your account.
  5. You will then be provided with specific verbiage for the restoration of your account.  You will need to create a helpdesk ticket and copy/paste the verbiage provided.
  6. You will need to update your nameservers on your domain via your registrar or you can send me your credentials and I can do it for you.
  7. Once the restore has been done, your site will be back up and running.

You can contact me directly via my contact page at http://www.danrichard.com/contact/ and I will get back to you ASAP.

Thanks again everyone for your loyal business over the years, it has been a pleasure serving you!

Dan

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