What happened with AlphaRacks' Operations: The gossip included (Part 2)

Saturday June 15, 2019 - You may find that Part 2 has been edited. I restored an inaccurate backup and had to redo most of it. Now it's even better, with slightly more information. A win-win.

Saturday June 22, 2019 - Joshua Collishaw has reached out with an offer of their employee contract to correct employment status, but has yet to respond with a copy.

Since what is now part one, it didn't take long for AlphaRacks to announce they're officially going out of business. It's sad, and some are hurt (financially) more-so than AR themselves, but no refunds in sight.

In the short announcement (and email), AR said:

Given the recent outage that exceeded the provisions and financial capabilities of our disaster recovery plan, AlphaRacks will no longer be providing services. We were a budget focused VPS provider, which did not leave room for additional options financially within our disaster recovery plans. -- AlphaRacks

I assume this means revenue was so short that if any profit were made, it was likely to go straight into the pockets of the team and not back into the company to protect it as a whole. Not an uncommon usage of financial streams or projects operating with a small team or a starting business (that's another post). AlphaRacks had much more than a small team or... at least they were claiming to have over 100,000 customers. I'm not sure how only 2 or 3 people would be handling incoming support tickets for 100,000 people, let alone the 23,000 they supposedly recently acquired from HostMyBytes. Indicating by the slow response in support tickets, I'd say staff was short. Then again, if your hosting company is running smoothly, how many support agents do you need (can we really get an answer)?

Notice _alpharacks taking a jab.

Diving in

To quote something from part one before we begin, I cannot stress enough:

I’m not throwing any wild accusations against the company or its employees, etc, however their downtime or down fall (however you want to look at it) has costed many websites data loss, and money. Many services running under AlphaRacks and WootHosting went offline when QuadraNet allegedly took services offline. It’s unclear what this was over as AlphaRacks did not have an explanation from QuadraNet.

Services with AlphaRacks

Besides the cryptocurrency mining projects taking place on the AlphaRacks network, many people could have actually lost several hundreds of dollars. I do know AR was also big on reseller services, and I was also one of them.

Often my services were blacklisted in spam databases - email was blocked by various email providers.. a whole list of issues occurred while using AlphaRacks. Two of my websites periodically went offline with third-party uptime monitors to verify. With downtimes such as:

The canned support tickets

Some members of the DogeCash community had several virtual servers leased at AlphaRacks, including myself, so I started a list which was for affected customers to urge AlphaRacks to firstly upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04. Their virtual operating system templates were a bit out of date and stopped working after awhile. Their relaxed response was, "it'll be coming before November" - I'm paraphrasing to cut the Twitter conversation short. Around this time an update had been issued, which prompted many masternode operators to upgrade their operating system. AlphaRacks blatantly did not care to maintain or upgrade their OpenVZ templates (yes, I know, yuck) and continued refusing to upgrade despite private and public attempts by multiple people. In short, people were still left unable to run Ubuntu 18.04.

When my virtual server in LA finally went offline (I couldn't successfully login prior to it shutting down), shared hosting services went offline and one of my frequented sites went offline, I finally opened a support ticket. I quickly received a canned response, leading me to believe nothing at all was being done about the situation, and AR did in fact have too many services with QuadraNet. 

Here is the typical response customers were getting in support tickets:

We are aware of an outage and ask for your patience. It appears that our datacenter / network upstream is facing a route issue which is causing downtime for some customers. We appreciate your trust and patience and are working as diligently as possible to restore services.

We are just looking further into this matter for you and will be delivering a prompt up to you as soon as we can. This could take up to a couple of working days, but we aim to have this incidence concluded as soon as possible.

We are further in correspondence with our datacenter. Also if you've detected that our site is being slow its due the fact we are receiving a high ticket load.

Compensation will be offered in the form of SLA credit to SLA.

Thank you for your patience.

Kind regards.

--
Oziel Vazquez
[email protected]
Client Support
www.AlphaRacks.com
AlphaRacks Hosting - Defining Superior Service

Don't ask me why they were calling it an outage after knowingly confirming their access had been snipped. I guess this is what you say to your customers when you want them to sit with patience and ask very little questions.

Internet Research Gang

The Internet did its research and they found some interesting things you'll need some popcorn and drinks for. I'll mostly be quoting forum posts to piece together the overall picture, but don't let the slightly verified research put you off - All of the information provided matches up at a glance, but of course, does any of us have the money to put AlphaRacks in court? Is the data we lost on AlphaRacks substantial enough to make them pay?

I'll be quoting mostly from forum posts, but just because they're not fully verified doesn't make them non-shareable. It's just that juicy to share. To give some background information on this ghost company, however, two to four names are always passed through the wire:

  • Joshua Collishaw (AlphaRacks owner)
  • Dustin
  • AdamNG
  • Julian Jin (AlphaRacks owner)

Dustin seemed to be running a true skunkworks while employed with QuadraNet, and it's believable considering the sudden halt in AlphaRacks services. Dustin's name was also removed from QuadraNet's team page, and had I known an incident close to this was going to take place I would've taken a screenshot prior. I did quick Way Back search with Archive to confirm if Dustin was even on the team/leadership page, and he was there:

A Ryan Ybarra was also listed - Don't know who this is yet, and if his name came up in the trove of gossip, I somehow missed it.

While Dustin is definitely a real person, some would believe Julian Jin isn't real at all, again, believable considering all previous questionable information.

Here's a TL;DR someone broke down which is mostly about QuadraNet (too long, didn't read):

In text it reads:

TLDR for the people that don't want to invest the same amount of time I did reading 14 pages of the thread:

1) Chris G made some mistakes when he was 16 and was banned from WHT.
2) QuadraNet hired him after getting the whole story about what happened.
3) QuadraNet allowed him to use a different name to avoid controversy on WHT since people were still out for blood.
4) WHT found out and freaked out over rumors of what really happened.
5) People are pissed and wanted to know why QuadraNet wasn't banned from WHT.
6) QuadraNet explained what really happened and offered to fix it for the person that was impacted (unpaid bill at Steadfast).
7) People were confused how Kate used to be Kevin thinking they were also Chris.
8) QuadraNet messed up on words and titles (this part still confuses me but whatever).
9) People claimed that the WHT mods were giving QuadraNet special treatment for allowing their staff to continue after hiring a "scammer" (this term was used for somebody who wasn't able to pay their hosting bill while undergoing radiation treatments for colon cancer).
10) Ultimately Chris G had a second account banned from WHT for ban evasion (which QuadraNet said was the right move).

One funny thing to note was that some of the posts demanding all QuadraNet accounts be banned were from accounts of providers who would end up selling their companies to QuadraNet some years later... it has nothing to do with the situation but made me chuckle.

SWRay had some things to add to this TL;DR:

You omitted some details
11) Quadranet CEO claimed Chris G is just a sales man, on another forum he said Chris is a co owner of the company. They claimed he is just a sales agent in 'formal explanation' and it has proven to be a lie - see 12
12) Chis has been proven at that time, not to be 'just a sales man' he was Quadranet's VP
13) Quadranet CEO claimed on another forum, to own the whole building, this was later restated as 'all the datarooms in the building' that is still untrue, as there are two other companies in the building that own their own datarooms in the building. This was explained away as 'Quadranet CEO has a bad understanding of English'
14) Bad English ? https://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=712643&page=7&p=5246303#post5246303
15) Chris scammed afterwards more people, announced BOGON Ipv4 and went on spamruns with them
16) Chris was blackmailing at least one company, to try make them hand over their domain.

And Kujoe wanted links, so SWRay provided them as such:

Examples

https://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1578152&p=9710864&highlight=Chris+gotzmann#post9710864

https://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1537627&p=9616825&highlight=Chris+gotzmann#post9616825

http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1578152

https://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1433639&p=9304274&highlight=swiftnode.net+chris#post9304274

I find this one interesting now i spotted it, but have not looked into it deeper
https://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1537627&p=9616825#post9616825

http://spammergotzmann.blogspot.com/

Coincidence? ALPHAred ALPHARACKS, PacificRACKS

That's just a little bit of background regarding QuadraNet, and some others. AlphaRacks comes up in the list a little bit. Don't think I'm asserting QuadraNet are shady or are somehow involved in the AR scandal, but you can't leave out this information out when it's so tightly woven.

The AlphaRacksening

So going back to AlphaRacks again, no refunds and now the company is out of business. They were trying to pass the stick to other companies, and one in particular, PSK Hosting stepped up to "takeover" AlphaRacks client list. It's difficult to tell if AR truly reached out to these companies or not.

A day after writing part one, as a former customer, AlphaRacks announced they were going out of business, followed by an email from PSK Hosting (remember, AlphaRacks named them in the closing email). The email from PSK Hosting followed as such:

In text:

Jun/14/2019

Hello,

We have been attempting to help customers migrate to us with free months of service. We noticed that customers are now struggling to obtain invoices through the Alpharacks website as it is now offline, so we were unable to validate customer pricing, duration of service remaining and some customers do not recall which plan they were on.

PSK Hosting is inviting those who have been impacted by the recent issues at Alpharacks to explore our rescue effort. As one of several providers contacted by Alpharacks, we have agreed to help affected former clients obtain reliable hosting services. We’ve obtained the client list from Alpharacks and have changed our initial affiliate agreement terms with them to better help former Alpharacks customers.

We cannot guarantee that we can fully match the previous rates Alpharacks were providing but we will be competitive. Please contact us if you do not a see a plan on our website that suits your needs.

You may use the same login you had previously used, or click here to request a new PSK Hosting login.

Please feel free to email us at [email protected] if you have any questions. We are here to help as best we can in this rescue effort.

For anyone wondering, don't worry about grabbing any invoice directly from AlphaRacks, look at your bank statements, PayPal, or whatever it is you paid with - It was quite obvious no one is going to get access, unless we see this go to court, if ever.

The timing and odd marketing email template (remember this template is used by AlphaRacks, Welcome Hosting, Mega Zone Hosting, and n3servers. All their pricing structure is very close. I'm not saying they're all operated by the same people as AR, but everything looks freakishly similar. The frequency of the marketing emails are also consistent with each other.

I'm not the only one to question PSK's response, as per Low End Talk:

PSK Hosting's WHOIS returns:

Updated Date: 2019-01-04T13:36:19Z
Creation Date: 2004-01-04T02:26:10Z

The articles do look slightly out of place.

OpenVZ 7, still no Ubuntu 18.04

But remember the whole Ubuntu 18.04 template not being able to run due to lack of support, and the fact they were running an old version of OpenVZ? In PSK Hosting's latest marketing email, the subject line states OpenVZ:

[NEW] 4 GB VPS, OpenVZ 7 with Docker Support for $5/month + 30% OFF SITE WIDE!

When you go to click the product link to list the available OpenVZ templates, you'll find there is still a missing Ubuntu 18.04:

Odd, huh? PSK Hosting, nothing to do with AlphaRacks exhibits the same marketing emails, same lack of OpenVZ templates. It doesn't stop there, remember Mega Zone Hosting? Here's their marketing and template selection, too:

When you go to the product page to list OS templates:

Again!--No Ubuntu 18.04!

I'm not going to bother listing the other ones, but it's quite clear here - all look like the same tactics.

[1], [2], [3], [4].

So there you have it, 2 guys allegedly went rogue at QuadraNet, more companies like AlphaRacks exist or are springing up to save customers.

What do you guise think is going on? What I know is going on are some lazy practices, and numerous ghost companies. AlphaRacks was probably as successful as it was due to coming up with names, humans, and appeared to be not-so-ghostly until the end. The end is when it all started to pile up. Let's hope the four named above are all innocent, and have nothing to do with it - Because not refunding your customers and lying about it from the start is some serious stuff - scandalous

Feel free to chime in via comments and always lookout for bad hosts!

Ty Clifford

A Friend
Written by A Friend on June 20, 2019

definately a scam, i was with hostmybytes a while back, and they too shut down. I got an email from another ghost domain with my login info on their database. A year or two later hostmybytes comes back online, claimed they sold to alpharacks. This whole group is a scam.