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Old 08-29-2015
LittleAfricaAquatics.com's Avatar
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Trophs.com Owner Sponsor And Admin
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Louisville, Ky
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Age: 46
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So I know updates are long over due, at least some of them, some have been done. While a member brought them up on a thread that was 2 years old I thought it better to make a new thread as there are multiple threads on it and some I have responded to months ago so it may get confusing. Easier to follow one thread, but I posted on some of them to bring them all back up so you can see some things have been done and I haven't forgot about all of our wish list.

It has been too long so to catch up, the sites were in disarray after I purchased them and a lot of money and time went into them in the beginning, but the first time owning sites I had no ideal what was involved weekly with money and time. As most know I took the sites over when they were all but abandoned and admins hadn't been on them for months if not longer. I was approached by Mark to take them over and I loved the sites so while I really wasn't interested as im a importer he told me they were gone if I didn't because he wasn't going to just trust them to anyone. I didn't know what I was signing on for, but was up to the challenge of balancing being a importer and forum owner at the same time, most said I was crazy. I said ok and its been a ride I tell you that.

So fast forward a bit and remember about 2 years ago, the site was shutting down, we would come to our beloved sites and a error message would be the only thing waiting there for us. Well we were on out dated servers and limited memory and we have a lot of memory as the sites have been around along time. So we were constantly down, a few times info and post were lost, it was a mess and we couldn't trust if the sites would be there when we logged in. On 5/5/13 I posted upgrades and servers were coming, this was before any ideal of donation was in the works. Once I got involved I found out there were tons of things to be paid for that were not disclosed when I was asked to step in and save the sites and make the purchase. So that's why on 10/5/13 you see Congoblues post about asking for help for the sites. It wasnt my ideal but at the time it was a bit overwhelming and sounded like a good ideal to me and the help was much appreciated. Many times over the years members and mods had brought up to me hey you know a lot of sites have a donation button on their sites all the time just to donate for the use of them, whether you sale stuff there or just love them why don't you? One mod told me I have made thousands from these sites, let me show my appreciation. Well sounded great at least to help get things back on track so we did donations for a few weeks. It was awesome, we had 52 members from Cyphos, Trophs and Petros (Who I have all on file and wont forget) donate $825. We got brand new servers through our hosting company Zenutech for all the sites and paid to get more memory for them. Now $825 was great, but didn't cover that just to be clear, let alone monthly hosting and domain fees, but it was a great gesture of support. Since that time I don't think the site has been down once and I know for fact it moves way faster when im doing weekly maintence and in general. Then we started the list and got to the first bump. The photo galleries while trying to get updated had not been paid for correctly. One license was bought for all 3 sites. While working with Vbulletin I was told I would have to buy 2 more for the other sites and was in breach for using only 1 to run 3 sites, a fact that was not disclosed to me when I purchase the sites. Well that wasn't cheap, cant remember exact, but I think each one was $300-$400 something like that. So I got that taken care of so the list off broken things and issues to fix was the last thing to work on, the bones were in place now just had to build around them.

As stated before while the donations were great it wasn't enough to get to this point let alone everything, but I wasn't looking for everything to be paid for I just was asking for a little help and glad to get it. So now all left to do was pay someone to do the work and I wasn't going to entrust this to just anyone. I ask Pierre Grandmaison the owner of Zenutech to do the work and he agreed, not the cheapest but I felt the best. Well all was in line to be finished when Pierre told me our software-Vbulletin was old and he didn't feel comfortable with it or know enough about it. He did try, but thought it was too risky and at his billing time would be crazy so he declined to do the work. I then was working with a guy Andy locally who was a IT guy, but I got behind and when I went back to him he had moved up and had his own guys working for him and was going to hand me off to one of them. I had that happen with my own site-LittleAfricaAquatics.com and it wasn't a good experience. So that gets us to last year, sorry its long winded but there's really so much to it and im trying to just do a brief explanation.

Well was set to find someone and well life happens. Some of you know last year I last my grandmother you was like my mother. Have been dealing with multiple herniated disc and other health issues and it was along year. Most probably know this past month my grandfather was told he has 6 months to live, terminal stage 4 lung cancer and my son, dog Vinnie is a diabetic-2 shots a day has had a rough year and recently wouldn't eat and was constantly throwing up. First and foremost I am a importer and that's what pays the bills. I try to make sure I am on the sites daily and answer all members issues and request daily, at least try daily. I pay the bills for hosting and domain etc... on time when every they show up and try to do a good job with the sites. Bottom line is I know im way behind on fixing some of the issues at hand, but the lights are still on and the sites are better. Most of you have to notice we never go down, I know (jinx), and the site operates faster. We do all of this with one sponsor. Not like some sites with 5 or 10. One of the plans is to add more sponsors, eventually, I know, once again time. But I have not shyed away from any sponsors and while some say im trying to be a monopoly I have my biggest competition currently on here with me as my sponsor. Before Doug retired (Reserve Stock Cichlids he was on here with me), in the end there's not many of us left. When you look at the biz and my main competition there's about 5 companies in the US and 2 of them are on here. I have asked some, but not all are probably going to want to be on a site in direct competition with 2 of the bigger importers, not sure. We can go after dry goods and that's one of the plans, but anyway back to the matter at hand.

In closing I hope this explains some of it. I know its not been a perfect ride and im not even sure I would do it again. I can look back where I needed to get shipments or water changes done and I was on here breaking up fights or trying to restore the peace for hours. It is a job that takes hours a week away from my company, but I do still love the sites and see them as a beacon when it comes to forums these days. I was scheduled to have my new import arrive Monday the 31st, it was ready to go and for the first time ever I had to cancel it, well postpone until the next truck comes in because of family issues that were more important and that's what pays the bills. So in closing I just ask for a little more patience. Like stated the lights are on, the servers are working great and we are here. The broken links and issues that need to be fixed will be fixed it just takes a lot more time for a guy who puts family first, runs a major import company by himself and has his own life and issues to deal with too. Im not perfect, but I try to do my best I honestly do. I had just posted 3-4 weeks ago that I am in talks with someone to get the last issues resolved. They too are busy, but hopefully come aboard and can explain to you also that we have been talking about it all this past month and since July and schedules haven't got close to meeting up. So hope this helps and hang in there. Big changes are coming and all issues will be fixed, I know you have heard it before, but as long as no one else dies and I don't have to have back surgery I will try to make sure all the sites are running in tip top shape before the new year. That gives me 4 months which sounds like a lot, but in my world its a blink, but I will make it my focus and I know it needs to get done. Im excited about the future and changes and there are some major changes coming. Thanks for all the support, I know its been along process but things have been done and the rest of the loose ends will be tied up, I assure you.
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