UPDATE (DEC 16 2010): I received a phone call from a man identifying himself as Corey, the CEO of x10Hosting. Upon his request and his claim that a legal company affiliated with x10Hosting may take action against me for defamatory content, I made a few edits. All information about events that occurred for which I cannot give solid evidence has been removed. I have removed Corey’s last name and the last names of all individuals who had a staff-affiliation with x10Hosting at the time of these events. Finally, I reworded a handful of sentences that could possibly have a negative connotation to ensure that the proceeding story is presented from a neutral standpoint.
Back in the summer of 2009, I would spend a few hours a day on x10Hosting’s forum, browsing around and replying to almost every thread. I slowly moved my way up in rank until I eventually became part of the ranked support staff and became a moderator for the support area.
Suddenly, on February 4th, 2010, I posted a public note of resignation on my profile and never signed back in again. Anyone that wasn’t directly involved with the issue that caused me to leave was lost in the dark; they had no idea why someone so dedicated to promoting the well-being of x10Hosting so abruptly decided to leave and cut all connections with the company.
Today – August 4th, 2010 – is the half-year anniversary of my departure from x10Hosting. I thought that today would be a good day to publicly release the entire story behind my resignation, so anyone that is still interested can be rewarded for their patience.
Before I achieved a position of power in x10Hosting, there was a Pakistani named Zubair Barkat
that joined the x10Hosting forums and tried to build up his reputation inside the community. Unfortunately, that didn’t go very well for him. Being Pakistani, he was unable to speak English in an understandable way, but still chose to post excessively in an English-speaking forum. His lack of English skills with his natural inability to communicate made a majority of his posts seem like worthless spam.
Zubair then realized that the more posts he made, the more likely he was to be noticed. More posts meant a higher post count and a higher chance to receive reputation. He took up his posting to turbo mode and posted more spam as if he wasn’t spamming enough. He would repeat things that more reliable people already said before him, probably because he thought it would make him seem more intelligent, even though it was actually making him look more idiotic.
Obviously, every forum has foreigners and every forum has spammers. If Zubair was simply a spammer, he could have been dealt with easily – a few warnings and infractions should have been enough to encourage him to tone down his spamming. But it didn’t just stop there.
Soon after, I found out that Zubair was hosting illegal content on his website, and his website was hosted by x10Hosting, effectively making x10Hosting the host of this illegal content. Zubair had a nice collection of illegal things, including cracked software with key generators and ripped movies. I alerted the x10Hosting CEO, Corey, and other x10Hosting staff members. Zubair’s hosting accounts were promptly permanently suspended for the illegal content. Unfortunately, a hosting account suspension is independent from a forum account suspension, and Zubair was still active on the x10Hosting forums.
Shortly after his suspension, Zubair started spamming the free hosting support area and kept asking why he was suspended, claiming that he had every right to possess and link to illegal content. In rebellion, Zubair recreated some websites with new hosting accounts, which were also promptly permanently suspended upon their discovery. Eventually, Zubair switched hosts and began hosting his illegal content on other web hosts. I pursued him for a few days, but eventually gave up as it wasn’t worth my time.
Some time later, Zubair returned to the x10Hosting forum and started breaking more rules, including more excessive spamming, possessing multiple forum accounts, and copyright infringement. Overall, Zubair managed to gather up a seven-day temporary suspension for his actions (but I don’t know exactly what the specific reason for the suspension was).
After his temporary suspension, Zubair proved that he was still too dense to understand what was acceptable and what was not. Zubair took a nulled version of vBulletin (which is the vBulletin software cracked so a purchased license is no longer required to use it) and claimed that he bought it. He proceeded to say that he no longer needed it and was selling it at a cheap price (I don’t remember the price). An x10Hosting staff member noticed something suspicious about the sale and investigated; he found out that Zubair was participating in illegal activity again and permanently banned him and all of his other accounts.
Sometime after all this happened, I achieved my position of x10Hosting support staff. I was able to moderate and manage the free hosting support area for a few months in peace, until Zubair subtly returned. He used the username “Boss is the Best” and began posting as a different person. Nevertheless, his poor English was so distinct that I was able to tell it was him immediately. After putting extreme pressure on him, I managed to get him to confess that he was Zubair. I forwarded this information on to Corey and asked for permission to ban him for ban evasion. I received a response that I would have never expected: “Give him another chance.”
So I gave him another chance. Zubair spammed his way to a high rank, and became eligible for support staff status and forum moderation. He received credit for repeating information that other people stated before him. Zubair, a spammer, a copyright infringer, and a criminal, was a person in power at x10Hosting.
From there, I knew that the only way I could get him banned again was to catch him in the act of doing something bad. From that point on, I watched him so closely that it felt like I was stalking him. I think that by this time, he realized that he couldn’t do anything illegal again, so he was on his best behavior. But his good behavior wasn’t good enough for me – he could never make up for everything he had done in the past.
After a while, Zubair noticed what I was trying to do, and started intentionally driving me even crazier than what he done in the past. In return, I acted extremely picky toward his actions, and started infracting him for things like unnecessarily repeating information and posting one-line posts in debate threads. Other staff members that didn’t like Zubair also helped me, and infracted Zubair for things like back-seat moderation and spamming. After what seemed like forever, Zubair finally collected the 25 infraction points needed for a ban. Then something utterly unexpected happened.
An account manager named Jarryd, known as Hellsheep on the forums, abruptly unbanned Zubair. Jarryd used to be one of my favorite staff members. He was a nice person with a likable attitude and an intelligent mind. I would have never expected him to turn on the other x10Hosting staff members like that – he simply stated that Zubair was “trying as hard as he could,” and that we shouldn’t pick on him. The only thing I could think of to finish his sentence was, Zubair was “trying as hard as he could” to spam and drive us crazy.
I talked with Corey about what had happened and asked for his opinion. He said that he was too busy at the moment and passed on the issue to Anna, who was an account manager at that time. I continued to pressure her to make her decision quickly, but she kept telling me that she was thinking about it and kept avoiding making a final decision.
I had enough.
Without any warning whatsoever, I posted a message on my profile along the lines of “Due to circumstances outside of my control, I have chosen to take an extended leave from x10Hosting. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.” The only way I felt I would be heard is if I demonstrated my true frustration with actions.
Shortly after, Corey read my note of resignation and started raging. Corey had a reputation to uphold. He immediately demoted me in rank – not that it mattered, seeing as I had already voluntarily chosen to leave the x10Hosting staff. I refused to be a part of a group of staff members that allowed criminals to roam freely.
Mere hours later, Corey decided that a simple demotion wasn’t enough. He knew that it no longer mattered to me what my status was at x10Hosting. He permanently banned me from the forums. Of course, that also made no difference to me, and he knew that – so he permanently suspended my hosting account as well. Fortunately, I take daily backups of my website, so that didn’t matter too much either – it was just a small nuisance to register for another account at one of the abundant competitors.
Corey then went on the staff forum and announced, “This is what happens when you threaten to leave x10Hosting because things don’t go your way.” The only problem was, I never threatened to do anything. I just simply did it.
So now that you’ve read all this, you must be wondering, what really is the truth about x10Hosting?
x10Hosting has a staff member (Zubair) that has a record of breaking the law. This staff member is allowed to access personal information about everyone that uses x10Hosting’s services.
So now that you know that, do you still feel secure about using x10Hosting?
Note: Everything presented in this article is 100% factual. Nothing has been exaggerated or modified in any way whatsoever, and was explained exactly as it happened.
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Before publication, comments will be corrected for capitalization and obvious typos will be fixed.
I would agree that Corey acted juvenile because his demands weren’t met. That is very unfortunate for x10Hosting because you did a lot of great things support-wise for that company. Too bad the CEO’s inability to recognize a criminal produced nothing but negative things for the Free Hosting Support.
After reading this, I feel angry at that Pakistani guy for some reason. You wrote it so well you made me feel emotion about something I was never involved in. Good work.
This is a funny story. I’m proud of you for doing the right thing. Now that you quit working for x10Hosting, you can spend those extra few hours a day writing beautiful stories like this one!
– Glory Kapoor
It’s funny how good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. But don’t worry, if Corey continues to be the poor leader that he is now, his x10Hosting company will fail without a doubt. He who gets the last laugh is the one that is victorious.
– Walter Davis
I don’t suppose you remember me? stpvoice from x10Hosting? Anyway, I just wanted to say that I support you all the way, after knowing just what happened to you on the forums. I think the decision you made was noble, especially under such pressure from seniors. If you ever need anything, let me know.
– Thomas Lewis
In my evaluation about your review is you are really pissed off by the CEO of x10Hosting. I think you really don’t understand what the CEO is thinking. Hey, this is the internet world! You can do whatever you wish to do!
– Ricoshet Lamuto
(IP 184.108.40.206, invalid email used)
I can tell you that you have no legal liability so long as everything you wrote there is mostly true, and for Corey to prosecute you, he must (1) prove that it is wrong, and (2) that it caused damages to him. There is a lot involved – too much to post in a comment – but look at the link in the bottom. Right off the bat, this statement is not considered defamation because it is ‘substantially true’.
If that call was made under Corey’s direction, and he does in fact have legal advice, then it is a poor attempt to try to quiet you with threats. Just forward anything Corey says to me, and I will disarm it. I am in law school :)
I find it hilarious that it took Corey almost five months to find this article. That shows how much he really cares about his company.
The guy is a douche, but I don’t think I know enough about the entire situation to understand why you were so particular with his comments, specifically his one line responses. As I have never used x10, I’m not sure how it works or how its staff responds to inquiries.
I get that he did wrong, and I don’t fully understand the gravity of the situation, but I find it a little over the top to increase his punishment from a warning when what he is doing is no different. I agree with what you did, just not necessarily the way you did it. As I am rapidly learning just from experience and from my dad is that the business world is messed up. Stupid people often obtain positions of power, and they have absolute control over your future with a company.
So I agree that he needed to be kicked out, but I would not have ever let him back in the first place. I disagree with what Corey did / is doing.
– Roger Manarik
Hello and thanks for that interesting story! I was wondering if the Zubair guy you’ve written about has access to all the paying plans and VPS hosting ones?
I had planned to purchase a VPS from x10hosting, but it would be terrible if Zubair had access to them. I mean, he could steal code from you, steal database information and so on.
Seems scandalous that they’d allow him into the staff. Perhaps you don’t know the answer now, seeing as Zubair could’ve climbed to even higher ranks.
– Steve Jackson
My website got banned because it gave “hacking tutorials” but the truth is that it displayed just some of Photoshop and basic command prompt tutorials, they are just a bunch of fools specially that ANNA and CALISTOY. You did right, I too would have done same thing, also I too had a backup, so it was not much trouble. I wish I could legally sue them, but it’s not worth the trouble of it.
– Abhinav Khare
To you: How long since you lost your mind? You are really mad. You need help.
(IP 220.127.116.11, invalid email used)
What? This has got to be a hoax.
– Gordon Lu