GLASGOW —The Glasgow-Barren County Tourist and Convention Commission is trying to figure out how to regain control of its website.
The tourist commission had contracted with Scott Biggers with NetGain, a website-hosting service, to design and host its website prior to his death in February 2017.
In November 2017, the tourist commission entered into a contract with John Doyle II with Affordable PC to design a new website.
Doyle has not been able to gain access to the website designed and hosted by Biggers because he listed himself as the owner and as a result the tourist commission is locked out and cannot gain entry to the website to make changes.
“I reached out to the Biggers family, Mark and Debbie, and they did not want to dig through his laptop. I don't blame them. There's everything in there. There's other businesses in there. It's not ethical,” Doyle said. “And then there is the hosting company, which again he had an account with and (we) can't get in there (either).”
The tourist commission followed Doyle's suggestion and added “.ky” to the end of its web address, which helped somewhat.
“I can get into the website, but with limited admin access. I can't even make a backup of the old website, but I can make redirects. I redirected every page, so that if you find an old page, you click it, it goes to our page,” he said.
That was about a year and a half ago. In the meantime, Doyle waited for the website domain to expire. It's expiration date was August 2018.
“Magically, it renewed it and his website is still up,” he said. “MacLean (Lessenberry) honed in on that, because it is something that I wanted and it is something that we can get but it's very difficult.”
1&1, the website-hosting company that holds the deed to Biggers' account, has asked for a signed copy of his death certificate before it will release the website, he said.
“I do still think it's a good idea to get the '.com' because of all the information that is out there in the world,” Doyle said. “Once we get the domain name, we really don't care about the website. Google has already learned that we are '.ky.'”
The domain is set to expire again on Aug. 25. Doyle is waiting until Aug. 26 to check with whois.org to see who actually owns the domain name. He explained that sometimes companies give people a three-to-six-month grace period in the case they haven't paid their bill before deleting the domain name after it expires.
“I'm going to tell you right now if that doesn't happen and you may not want to wait until then, we only have one recourse and that is to approach the Biggers family and explain to them we've got all this documentation that is out there floating around. We may want to keep the same .ky, but we want to own the old name. We may need their cooperation,” Doyle said.
Lessenberry knows Biggers' family and said she has reached out to them about the problem.
Lessenberry was hired to serve as the tourist commission's executive director in June.
She added that she mentioned in her interview for the executive director's position that when she ran the analytics for the website the search engine optimization wasn't good.
“That was because everything was going to the old website because it had been there so long,” she said.
Doyle pointed out that the tourist commission's website was not the only site Biggers maintained.
“We just want the domain name and that is through 1&1.com and they need a death certificate,” Doyle said.
“... And it needs to be signed by a family member,” Lessenberry said.
Lessenberry also shared that she wants to hire a marketing agency to conduct a rebrand for the tourist commission by creating new logos, style guides, mottos and other things that would help market the tourist commission.
“I think too that kind of shows we see the value in investing back into that marketing-wise and we are kind of progressing forward into the current century of cleaner advertising … and that everything is consistent across the board,” she said.
Lessenberry picked three marketing firms as possibilities for the tourist commission to work with on the rebrand — Odd Ball of Owensboro; Yellowberri of Bowling Green; and OOHology of Louisville.
After sharing information about each company, Robert Smith, chairman of the tourist commission, said he would like to contact the Kentucky League of Cities about what marketing services they might be able to offer.
Smith also said he would like for Lessenberry to continue to work with Doyle on everything they could do and asked Lessenberry to put together some packets of information about each of the marketing firms, including pricing.
In other business, Smith said he intends to work with Lessenberry on creating a draft of a new grant fund request application for the tourist commission to review.
He also announced that the tourist commission had failed to make its final $10,000 payment to the Plaza Theatre. The tourist commission had granted the theater a $30,000 funding request in 2018. Gayle Meek, bookkeeper for the tourist commission, suggested the final payment be made in installments of $5,000 each with one being made in July and another one in August.
The tourist commission approved a grant request for Anglers Outpost and Marine NTBA Fall Invitational fishing tournament at Barren River Lake for October in the amount of $5,000.
Lessenberry also reported that all of the special government entity information regarding the tourist commission had been taken care of through September.
She also asked for a job description from the tourist commission, with Smith telling her they would be getting her one.
The tourist commission met in closed session to discuss a personnel matter. Upon resuming their open session, an announcement was made that no action would be taken.