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Canvas Host Opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

flush-the-tpp

Have you heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership? If not, don’t feel bad — that’s a big part of the problem with it.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement between twelve Pacific Rim countries and which has received very little public awareness, and for good reason: If the general public knew much about TPP, there’s simply no way it would have gotten as far as it has.

For several years, the United States government, along with other countries, has fleshed out a 30-chapter trade agreement spanning almost 6,000-pages that claims to “enhance innovation and productivity”, “reduce poverty”, “promote transparency”, and “enhance labor and environmental protections.” However, the details point to business that would look nothing like those claims.

The extent of the TPP’s impacts are bewildering and dangerous; They grant greater power to corporations at the expense of private citizens’ rights and freedoms.

Why are we taking a stand on it?

Though some Internet service providers and web hosts have actively supported the TPP, Canvas Host opposes it for a simple reason.

In an age when the world needs transparency in business and triple-bottom-line accountability (people, planet, and profit), profit-only business has no place.

The TPP puts at risk Internet users’ freedoms and privacy; It is anything but fair, equitable, and accountable trade; And, it has no place in a world where increasingly, triple-bottom-line (people, planet, profit) thinking is needed over profit-only business.

Specific to the online world, which we tend to care quite a lot about, the TPP outlines intellectual property and copyright laws that shift the balance of protections away from public interest and private users, and place them in the hands of copyright holders, compelling draconian punishments even in the face of legitimate, legal, fair-use claims.

Worse, the provisions press Internet service providers to work with corporations to determine if users’ activities are infringing on corporations’ copyrights, at the expense of user privacy. It’s not too far removed from the way China’s “Great Firewall” continuously polices its citizens against accessing information the government deems unfit for consumption.

Where is legislation at right now?

While the United States government has in various ways both opposed and approved of this legislation, the ultimate outcome has sadly been approved at all levels, including the President, House of Representatives, and Senate, under a “Fast Track” provision of the 1974 Trade Act. The TPP was signed on February 4, 2016 by all twelve member countries.

The only thing remaining is for Congress to vote on the final bill this summer, or later this year.

What can you do about it?

With an upcoming Congressional vote on the final bill surrounding the TPP coming soon, there’s still time to act. Community engagement is a powerful way to get messages through to your elected representatives. The Trans-Pacific Partnership hasn’t been fully enacted.  We encourage you to get involved in stopping the TPP, by contacting your local Representatives and Senators:

Find Your Representative
http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Contact Your Senator
http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

Additionally, MoveOn.org has an active petition that is nearing its 50,000-signature goal:
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/stop-the-trans-pacific

As an example of what you can post, here’s what I submitted today:

tpp-moveon

Where can I go to learn more about TPP?

Citizen.org’s TPP Analysis and Summary
http://www.citizen.org/documents/analysis-tpp-text-november-2015.pdf

Wikipedia’s page about the TPP:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Pacific_Partnership#U.S._Trade_Representative.27s_summary

Flush the TPP!
http://www.flushthetpp.org/

Flush the TPP Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/FlushTheTpp

Fair, equitable, and just business are things we and all B Corporations fight for. If you have additional information to share with us about developments surrounding the trade agreement, feel free to contact us, at sales [at] canvashost [dot] com.


We’ve Recertified Gold with Sustainability at Work PDX!

sustainability-at-work-pdxWe’re pleased to announce that Canvas Host has recertified Gold with Sustainability at Work PDX. This is the highest certification level achievable by Portland businesses through the program, and recognizes us for various steps we have taken in our sustainability program.

Highlights of our achievements include:

  • We design our own servers to maximize performance while minimizing electricity consumption throughout our fleet of web servers. All technology is purchased locally to support our community.
  • To offset our energy consumption, we purchase 27,000 kWH every month of renewable wind energy from local wind farms, through Renewable Energy Credits with Bonneville Environmental Foundation. This equates to 200% of their energy needs, which offsets not only our business, but also 15 Portland-area homes as well.
  • We are a certified B Corporation and Oregon Benefit Company, and are committed to responsible business practices. When making operating decisions, we take into account the impacts of all decisions on our staff, customers, community, and environment.
  • We organize two monthly Green Drinks events each month: One in Portland and one on the Westside. Green Drinks features educational speakers, and offers attendees a progressive space to network over topics of sustainability, environmental issues, and political developments of concern.
  • We aggressively recycle and have reduced our waste stream to near-zero by recycling additional, non-curbside items such as all plastics, styrofoam, metals and electronic waste.

Certification for many downtown Portland businesses can be challenging, as tenants of large buildings do not have direct control over critical building systems, such as water/sewer, waste management, and HVAC. We’ve worked with building management to gradually increase buy-in and deployment of energy-efficient and saving systems, and our own score is a result of some of these steps.

The certification process helps remind us all that we each play a role in helping green our city by refining our sustainability program, as well as helping others adopt these same principles.

For additional information on Sustainability at Work PDX, please visit their website, at:
http://www.portlandoregon.gov/sustainabilityatwork/

To view our profile on the site, please visit:
http://www.portlandoregon.gov/sustainabilityatwork/article/460772

 


Being Present

The phrase, “being present” has become increasingly important to me lately. I work with many talented people, know many smart friends, and of course count many passionate family members. In all the things each of us do, I’m wondering — just how “present” are we?

Lack of presence (or participation) is something phrased in the business world as “showing up for a paycheck” or “meeting minimum expectations”. But if you think about it, each of us do likely does it in our own way, at various times and places in our lives.

Sometimes we’re too tired to put out 110% or even 70% and just want to coast through a tough patch. And yet, there are times when nothing will stand in our way from reaching for that 110% goal despite everything standing in our way. It’s times like that, that I feel we are fully present and realizing our potential.

I’ve been challenged in many ways lately, to re-frame my perspective on all aspects of my life: parenting, business, family; roles I fulfill and hats I wear: spouse, parent, entrepreneur, role model, boss, runner; and so forth, and it’s gotten me looking at all of my relationships with others, on all levels, and has caused me to stop taking anything for granted.

Just because a relationship is a certain way, doesn’t mean it has to always be that way. Those we work with, live with, play with, or know only through digital lines — they are what we have made of them. If we want things to change or evolve or get better, we have to be fully engaged and committed to it. We have to be ready to fail, but first, we have to be present if we are to have any chance of succeeding.

If only we applied ourselves in our lives fully, more than just those times when we are being driven by our deepest motivations… it makes me wonder what it would look like, to be in a world in which we were all truly engaged with each other.

I recognize that each of us is motivated through different means. We each have our own love language, if you will — the stuff that fills up our tank and inspires us to do more, to help others, to achieve goals, in response.

It’s one of the reasons I founded this company, developed its sustainability program, achieved B Corp certification, and continue to work at bettering it for all. I want this company to be present for you and your needs. If ever there’s a time when that is called into question, please contact us and ask for me personally, so that I may understand your concerns, and do what I can to make it right.


Warning about predatory domain registration scams

predatory domain registration scams

We’ve seen an increase in junk mail at our office. I’m not talking about email spam, but actual letters sent through the postal service. The letters all focus on one thing: Renewing domain names registered to our company. At first, we ignored the letters. Then, several of our customers informed us they were receiving the exact same notices. After repeated letters arrived at our office, we decided to take action with this blog post, about predatory domain registration scams.

The letters are sent from iDNS, a New Jersey company, and addressed to the registered owner of the domain name. The letter states that the domain name is due to expire soon, and that you (the owner) can “take advantage of our best savings” by renewing it through iDNS instead of the current registrar. If you read through the letter, and recall how much you have paid your current registrar, you’ll quickly understand it’s a scam.

According to iDNS’ letter, the cost is $45 for one year of domain renewal. Their “Best Value”, a 5-year renewal, is $180 (“save $45”), which works out to $36 per year of renewal! These prices top even Network Solution’s ongoing $30-35/year price which by all contemporary standards is already very high.

In comparison, Canvas Host charges just $12.99-14.99 per year for popular top-level domains, such as .COM, .NET, and .ORG.

These types of domain notices are designed to catch a customer unawares. It is addressed to you, mentions the domain name and actual expiration date, and looks somewhat official.

There are, however, several things you should look for in identifying predatory domain registration scams. If you reference the attached image, you’ll see these highlighted in yellow and numbered accordingly:

  1. The issuing business name, in this case, iDNS, is not affiliated in any way with Canvas Host, or any other domain registrar;
  2. The letter has a presorted postmark, meaning it was sent out as part of a bulk mailing, and not an actual account notice, which would never be done by your actual registrar;
  3. The letter indicates it is not a bill and you are only obligated to pay if you complete the signup form and go so far as to fill out your credit card information on the paper form (If you ignore the letter, nothing will happen with your domain, which indicates this is a solicitation);
  4. Next, note the exorbitant price for domain renewals, which has already been covered in this blog;
  5. Finally, a domain renewal notice should not include an upsell prompting you to purchase additional domains, as they have nothing to do with the current domain’s renewal, which is what the form letter claims to be about.

iDNS isn’t the only registrar participating in predatory domain registration scams. That said, if you know someone who has received such a letter, please forward them a link to this post, as it may prevent them from making the costly mistake.

Here are a few follow-up questions to help you understand domain scams, and what you can do to prevent them.

How can I prevent predatory domain registration scams?

Whenever a domain name is registered, information about the domain is stored in a publicly accessible database called the WHOIS registry.  The WHOIS registry stores complete contact information, including the domain registrant’s name, business name, mailing address, phone number, and email address. Additional information is stored for the domain’s administrative, billing, and technical contacts, if they are different than the primary registrant.

As the domain owner, you have the option to hide that information through a process known as private registration.

What is private registration?

Every registrar offers an additional service to anonymize WHOIS data. This is called private registration. Though not required, Canvas Host offers this service for $7.50 per year, for any domain registered through us that supports the service. Some top-level domains, such as the .US registry, do not support private registration.

Private registration hides a domain owner’s contact information, including their email address. It prevents anyone scanning the WHOIS registry from being able to locate your physical address, or send you postal mail and even email spam. Private registration is the first line of defense against predatory domain registration scams.

Read our article about private registration services

Private registration can be added to any domain, whether you registered it through Canvas Host or another registrar. If you’re uncertain about your options, please contact your current registrar to inquire about private registration.

I just filled out iDNS’ form. What can I do to stop this process?

If you filled out the payment information, you can notify your bank you were misled and potentially reject the charges for iDNS. They will most likely not transfer your domain unless they receive full payment.

Even if iDNS does run your card for the costs, you can contest the charge with your bank. In order for the domain to transfer, a confirmation email will be sent to you first requiring action. If you do not act on the email, the domain should not transfer away.

If you are unsure what to do, please contact your domain registrar’s customer support team for immediate assistance.

I already filled this out and the domain was transferred away. What now?

Whenever a domain is transferred away, a 60-day lock is automatically placed on the domain preventing it to be transferred again. After the 60 days have transpired, you should be able to unlock and transfer the domain back to your old registrar.

Will I lose out on any time I paid to the predatory registrar?

You shouldn’t, but that is up to the other registrar to determine. On transfer, a domain is also renewed for one additional year, and whether the domain remains at that registrar or not, an additional transfer should simply add one additional year to the expiration period. So if it was transferred away, then transferred back, theoretically you should have two additional years of registration left on the domain.

This domain stuff is confusing. How can I prevent hassles like this in the future?

If in doubt, contact your current registrar. As a B Corporation, we are committed to helping you ethically and transparently. Whether you registered your domain through Canvas Host or not, we are here to help answer your questions about predatory domain registration scams, to protect you and ensure you get the support and knowledge you need to make an informed decision about your domains.

We welcome your feedback and any additional questions you have. Simply contact us at 800.574.4299 x1, or email us at sales@canvashost.com, and we’ll be happy to assist.

Thank you,

David Anderson, Owner


Our 2015 food and clothing drive

food and clothing drive

Join our 2015 food and clothing drive! Together, we can help people in our community who need our help.

Our food and clothing drive will benefit people and families served by these organizations:

Most-needed items include:

  • Canned or non-perishable food (high-protein items like tuna or beans, or bags of rice, boxes of pasta, etc.)
  • Clothing (adult winter coats, infant/toddler clothes)
  • Toiletries (unopened shampoo, soap, disposable razors)

We are collecting donations at our Portland office, located at:

Canvas Host, LLC
921 SW Washington
STE Suite 700
Portland OR 97205

We’d love your help! Please bring donations in a cardboard box or grocery sack.

BONUS: If you’re a customer, bring us a donation and we’ll add $5 credit to your account!

We will deliver all donated items on Friday, December 18.

If you have any questions, please call us at 503.914.1118 x1, or email us at: giving [at] canvashost [dot] com.

Sincerely,

David Anderson, Owner
Canvas Host, LLC