HostGator

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HostGator
Type Circlejerk
Founded 2002
Location Ghetto district, Houston, TX
Key people See below
Motto Lance is watching you!
Industry Technology
Products Web hosting, credit card theft, spam, and treason
Website hostgator.com

HostGator is a value-oriented web host run by a college dropout and his bros.

UPDATE - 4 November 2010: HostGator pays employees to troll the TNE thread.

UPDATE - 5 November 2010: HostGator impersonates FBI; sends a "subpoena".

UPDATE - 7 November 2010: CONFIRMED that HostGator is violating US trade regs.

UPDATE - 22 November 2010: The real subpoena arrives.

 
 
Even if all of the allegations are false, I've learned enough about their incompetent practices to never, ever do business with them. There are dozens of web hosting companies that offer the same service without the risk. Hell, DreamHost is even cheaper.
 

 

Summary of fail

  • (CONFIRMED) HostGator is a shitty company run by incompetent fucks
  • (supported by evidence) HostGator recently had a data breach
  • (alleged) The breach included stolen credit card information
  • (CONFIRMED) HostGator has done business with Syria and Iran in violation of trade embargo, which may constitute treason
  • (alleged) HostGator has an operation in Brazil where they host CP, bestiality porn, and other material
  • (CONFIRMED) HostGator is harassing current and former employees suspected of sharing information on its practices
  • (CONFIRMED) HostGator is paying people to harass current and former employees, as well as disinterested third parties
  • (CONFIRMED) HostGator makes all employers sign a three- to five-year, worldwide no-compete contract (even the low-level wage slaves)
  • (alleged, very plausible) HostGator has a partnership with the FBI (through the InfraGard project), as well as informal connections
  • (alleged, very plausible) HostGator routinely gives the FBI access to customers' data
  • (alleged) HostGator is abusing its FBI connection to informally harass a disinterested third party
  • (alleged, multiple sources) A large spam ring ran on HostGator equipment for several months
  • (supported by evidence) CEO Lance CustenJew was once denied entry to a city bus because he couldn't fit through the door

Alleged credit card leak

On the 31st of October, 2010, during a routine Sunday-evening intellectual discussion at The New Effort, new poster "a llama", claiming to be an ex-employee of HostGator, created a thread alleging that HostGator's billing system had been compromised.

 
 
I happen to work for a rather large hosting company (read: HostGator) in the capacity as a System Administrator and was recently privy to the knowledge that the entire blade of billing servers were compromised and that all the credit card information stored in the recurring billing database was stolen and is now entirely in the wind; This includes full credit card numbers, expiration dates and CVV2 codes.

This company has chosen to hide this fact instead of report it.

For trying to expose the cover-up, I've been fired.
 


 

—a llama


An employee reveals more details About missing Pics
[Collapse GalleryExpand Gallery]

HostGator responds

HostGator's Chairman, Brent, showed up, was baffled by BBCode, and managed to address a threatening reply to the wrong person:

 
 
We will be going after him legally for Libel due to the seriousness of the claims he makes based off of hearsay and rumors. I believe this claim he is making somehow originated from some type of rumor from us switching all of our office computers from windows to ubuntu. Things have been pretty chaotic for us during this upgrade.
 

 

—Brent, posted in the TNE thread

Though he failed to make any argument beyond "nuh-uh", he did successfully convince the world of a culture of widespread sexual harassment at his company.

He also tried to threaten the OP in a private message:

 
 
The legal game you are playing has some very serious implications. We have already Subpoenad somethingawful for your ip and will have it very soon. Once we have your ip we will be suing you for the full damages of your libel. What's even more serious is that if you do have proof of some type of hacking we aren't aware of, hiding this information from us becomes criminal and could result in jail time for you.

We obviously don't want you posting lies on the internet just as I'm sure you don't want us suing you. I suggest we talk this out over the phone or on aim to settle whatever vendetta you seemingly have against us. Please email me back your aim name to [dox], or call me at [dox]. If we aren't able to talk this out we will be proceeding with legal action.
 


 

—Brent, forum private message to the OP

A company memo leaked on the 3rd of November, 2010:

 
 
Anyone that can provide me with information to who this ex employee is I will provide a $1,000 reward to. Please email me at [dox email address], thanks!
 

 

—Brent, internal company memo

Brent has been lurking in the thread in "invisible" mode regularly ever since. Why is he so nervous if the allegations are groundless?

UPDATE: HostGator employee and professional troll Rob was paid a special bonus by management to troll the TNE thread, in a ham-fisted effort to tarnish the credibility of any information there.

UPDATE: HostGator employee Brian Modanski used his dad's FBI connections to have an email sent to TNE proprietor Hangly Man:

The FBI responds (indirectly): Special Agent Due has no clue what is going on, and said reporting the email to the FBI was the right thing to do. He was doubtful that there would be any action on the impersonation bit.

Corroboration by other employees

TNE admins confirmed that the ex-employees were not using proxies or TOR and had plausible Texas-area ISPs.

   
 
The whole company is a frat party. If you're not one of the favorites of the owner, or his six friends, you get hazed, bashed, abused, and placed in a hostile work environment simply because they can.
 

 
 

—combatwombat, ex-employee

   
 
I remember a homeless guy wandering in and begging for change on the second floor (where the break room and several employees are stationed)
 

 
 

—NAUGHTY ON THE POTTY, ex-employee

   
 
Many employees are fired for a first offense, even when said offense isn't relatively offensive. This is common at Hostgator. ... I've seen people get suspended for standing up to stretch their legs.
 

 
 

—NAUGHTY ON THE POTTY, ex-employee

   
 
The fact that everyone in the HR department is married to an upper level staff member which creates a conflict of interest that is impossible to bypass for an employee. Which creates even more hostility as everything anyone attempts to resolve with HR just gets passed to your supervisor and gets sent to the "shredder" complaint box.
 

 
 

—combatwombat, ex-employee

   
 
Each admin has root access to any server hosted by the company, including those hosting the customer's billing info.
 

 
 

—NAUGHTY ON THE POTTY, ex-employee

   
 
Should I also post on here how you made your now CEO go through people's FACEBOOK PRIVATE MESSAGES a few months ago and fired an employee over it? Should I also mention the fact that you made the person who was forced to cooperate or get fired employee of the month?
 

 
 

—jvlas, ex-employee

   
 
the dudes in charge will find any reason to give you shit / fire you. The management regularly reminds employees that they don't need a good reason to let them go. I've seen some really tenuous bullshit 'evidence' used to fire fellow employees just so HG wouldn't have to deal with unemployment claims.
 

 
 

—NAUGHTY ON THE POTTY, ex-employee

   
 
they all have spouses in HR. Basically if you have an issue with the management / supervisors, you literally can't take it to HR, or any of the management above them
 

 
 

—NAUGHTY ON THE POTTY, ex-employee

   
 
A few months ago, our new CEO Lance Custen (Brent's best friend, mind you), was basically going through employee's facebook messages because of "rumors" being said OUTSIDE the office, between employees. The option was basically let the "CEO" go through your private facebook messages, or get fired.
 

 
 

—jvlas, ex-employee

   
 
The original door had a door code that was the same code in that unlocked cvv2 encryption in their billing system. They later swapped to a system about two years later that uses the white cards many of you are familiar with for entry and exit of commercial buildings.
 

 
 

—a llama, ex-employee

   
 
After he saw some messages exchanged between the two employees, they fired one of them, and to cover their tracks, awarded employee of the month to the other.
 

 
 

—jvlas, ex-employee

   
 
I don't think anyones mentioned that its the creepiest office space on the planet earth, every cube has a camera watching your every action recorded possibly multiple times, which i'm pretty sure Lance watches religiously.
 

 
 

—combatwombat, ex-employee

   
 
I remember mass emails going out from management asking for info about dangerous stuff happening in the parking lot, like cars broken into, and i think someone got robbed; meanwhile if you're on the clock and turn your eyes from the screen for a couple of seconds, he [Lance] would magically appear behind you and suspend you for the day.
 

 
 

—NAUGHTY ON THE POTTY, ex-employee

   
 
One admin lovingly known as "derpville" managed to kill a VPS host node by installing bad RPMs and corrupting virtuozzo, and only got a slap on the wrist. I've seen others get suspensions for the day for checking Facebook just to check on the status of a family member.
 

 
 

—"John", current employee

   
 
I can confirm that the Facebook firings and the internal spam ring were very, very real.
 

 
 

—Jack, ex-employee

   
 
HostGator's reseller servers are designed to house about 3-400 customers. Most of them have closer to 6-700 customers on them; HostGator purposefully oversells them to save money, which results in poor performance for its customers. If you complain, you will most likely be told its something to do with the SQL queries or some other random part of your code making the site run slow, and not HostGator's almighty servers.
 

 
 

—"John", current employee

   
 
Hard work without kissing management's ass will get you nowhere. However, if you kiss management's ass and screw up EVERY ticket you reply to, you will be rewarded with employee of the month or shift lead.
 

 
 

—Jack, ex-employee

   
 
Lance has it set up so he can watch all the cameras from his bedroom, on a projector at night when he can't sleep, and will call the supervisors when he sees someone slacking off
 

 
 

—"John", current employee

   
 
HostGator does not have timeclocks anymore, and as such, employees are required to get to work 10-15 minutes early to log in (working without being paid) just to use a web-based timeclock.
 

 
 

—Jack, ex-employee

   
 
The only mistake I made at HostGator was befriending coworkers (you know, teamwork and camaraderie, which they frown heavily upon). Per Lance, one friend ultimately stabbed me in the back for his own advancement in the company.
 

 
 

—Jack, ex-employee


   
 
So aparently hostgator is VERY aware of this thread and my post in particular, for obvious reasons they refuse to post here, basically they want this to go quietly and unnoticed, and have even threatened to fire some people currently employed over it to make it go quietly.
 

 
 

—jvlas, another ex-employee

Here's a recording of a phone call between employees with some more details (Tindeck link) The person on the phone is reportedly the security supervisor's current girlfriend, also an employee, who has been told all the details of the hack. YouTube mirror

HostGator violates US trade regs

CONFIRMED. HostGator does business with organizations in Iran and Syria.

Verify for yourself at http://network-tools.com/default.asp?prog=express&host=mg-me.com. Any WHOIS tool will confirm.

 
 
If you happen to see something that is breaking our TOS you are to ignore it completely unless it's illegal and someone has submitted a ticket with our company to take action.
 

 

—then-CEO Brent Oxley, internal company memo

See other .ir domains supported by HostGator: http://www.google.com/search?q=inurl:%22.ir%22+websitewelcome

This information has already been passed on to the appropriate federal agencies.

Spam ring and CP

   
 
INSIDE hostgator's own network, own datacenter, was a spam ring being run. Yes, a spam ring to send millions of people unsolicited spam messages in bulk, blacklisting houdreds of IPs, one of the BIGGEST concerns to a customer and email marketer, exploited by hostgator's own network, going by unnoticed (or ignored) for months.
 

 
 

—jvlas, ex-employee

   
 
The spam ring firing involved 3 people, and one of the fired individuals actually brought it to the support managers attention months in advance. Josh Banks told him to get back to work, and ignored it.
 

 
 

—"John", current employee

   
 
Additionally, HostGator has a Brazilian branch: these servers house a lot of interesting material, ranging from bestiality, to child porn, to more Iranian and Syrian sites. The accounts are provisioned to a guy named "Robendo Ascieondo" (sp?) in modernbill.
 

 
 

—"John", current employee

Subpoena arrives

On 22 November, 2010, Hangly Man announced that he had received a subpoena from Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. White III demanding the IP address of the original poster (See above). It also commands Hangly Man to fly to the opposite side of the planet and appear in a Houston courthouse. The document was addressed to his internet handle instead of his real name, and was curiously sent to him rather than his hosting provider.

Hangly Man responded with an address to which the Department of Justice can send some airline tickets.

Meet the team

Brent

File:Hostgator brent.jpg
I guess there's a minimum BMI to work in management at HostGator?

Stage name: Brent Thundercheeks. Brent "put school on hold" in 2002 so he and his friends could piss away his parents' money prentending to run a company. Brent has no plans to return to school to complete his degree in Professional Eating.

 
 
Lance and Brent had matching Black C6 Corvettes, Brent now drives a Nissan GT-R and I've seen Lance in a 2ng Gen Lexus RX and a newer model IS.
 

 

—That Man, ex-employee

LanceJew

File:Hostgator lance.jpg
Too big to fit in a goddamn chair. He has to lie on a bed at the office.

Stage name: Hotpants Lance. This guy has some serious trust and control issues. LanceJew buys his jorts from King Size Direct. He's also madly in love with his best friend Brent's wife. Both of his parents are lawyers.

Lance'sJew flickr was found, but was quickly deleted. It contained 1,019 pages of photos, mostly candids of his female employees. archive.org link here

 
 
A few months ago, our new CEO Lance CustenJew (Brent's best friend), was basically going through employee's facebook messages because of "rumors" being said OUTSIDE the office, between employees. The option was basically let the CEO go through your private facebook messages, or get fired.

After he saw some messages exchanged between the employee and another, they fired one of them, and to cover their tracks, awarded employee of the month to the employee who they threatened to fire if he did not cooperate.
 


 

—jvlas

File:Hostgator lance.png
This was the actual header of their internal billing system. LanceJew wanted to promote an open and empowered work environment.
 
 
if LanceJew rolls up in here, it'll be way obvious. He does like to role play, eg get on live chat and ask chat techs ridiculous questions, or post loaded replies to threads like this - but the guy is a technological retard with the attitude of a four year old in a pet store, poking at the glass, icecream on his face..
 

 

—NAUGHTY ON THE POTTY, ex-employee


 
 
The only one you would see was LANCEJew. He would walk the cubes looking to be shitty to the employees, picking on those he didn't like or who pissed him off. One guy was banned from the 3rd floor because LanceJew thought he said something about him.

This guy LanceJew was so weak he used to bring chicks to the place and show off; THIS was his game. I'll never forget, hot chick at 1am walking around and he was showing her the phone system. They have some older and newer VOIP phones and he made it a point to tell her that there are only a few old phones.
 


 

—pluto459, ex-employee

Doug

Doug is the Chat Technician Supervisor. It's clear how he got the job, given his excellent history of dealing with customers:

 
 

Douglas Be: Hello, welcome to HostGator Live Chat.
[boring text omitted]
Jan: How do I send godaddy the IP's?
Douglas Be: Here is the video tutorial on how to do so: zakwood.com
Jan: bro
Jan: thats a gay porn site.
Douglas Be: Sorry
Douglas Be: I meant: http://www.hostgator.com/tutorials/dns/...odaddy.htm
Jan Closed this chat intentionally
 


 

—actual support chat transcript with customer

Rob

File:Hostgator rob.gif
Rob does impressions. He calls this one "Trisomy-21".

Stage name: Cindy. Rumored to be Symbion, founder of 7chan. Confirmed longtime member of g00ns.

He bumped into Brent and Lance at DEFCON one summer, drunk off his ass and reeking of moist garbage. They offered him a job on the spot.


 
 
Rob was highly involved in the spamming operation. He is a known spammer and scam artist.

Rob was at the very least a ringleader in the operation and I strongly suspect HostGators records will substantiate this. Rob is also in communication with others at hostgator over their internal message network, spark, which being an ex-employee, he should no longer have any access to.
 


 

—anonymous current employee

Rob was fired amid some as-yet-unknown drama. He was said to have "burned them pretty good" before he was terminated.

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External links

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