Yes, the directory is not accessible except through a password. But it’s not a directory that I provide access to anyone anyway. It’s just a storage directory for my reports, which also allows me to be able to NOT store them on my own computer, which gives me more free space to let my VRS really race down the road, and lets Jim and me both have several VRS “voices” on the computer (my normal voice, voice with a cold, margarita voice, etc.).
The Client gains access to the file through my email. See my post where I quoted my email and provided the link (that’s where you got the file directory that you tried to access).
I never password-protect the actual file itself. I consider that too much of an inconvenience to my Clients, especially since they paid for the information.
Here I am, up from my catnap with [Zoey](http://www.abouthomes.info/pics/0039 - in chair.jpg)!
Here’s the secret.
First, the directory I store them in, as Mike discovered, is not accessible to the public, or anyone else, even my Clients. So you can’t just go to the http://www.abouthomes.info/rr/reports/2007/ directory and look at all the reports and then download the ones you want. Nope. Won’t work.
However, if I gave you the link to a file (an actual report from one of my LIST inspections):
you can get it from that directory. But even once you get it, you can’t roam around the directory and get whatever you want. And you can’t roam around any of the other directories other than www.abouthomes.info either because none of them are accessible to the general public.
Here’s why I don’t need a password to inconvenience my Clients:
I use a file naming convention that is virtually impossible to guess the previous file name and the following file name:
aaa = the year the inspection was done using just three digits, i.e., 007
bbbb = the date the inspection was done, month-month-day-day
cccc = a consecutive number for the year which allowed me as a nine-inspector company to do up to 9,999 inspections a year, 1,000 per inspector and then whatever I did.
x = the initials of the first Client, as many initials as you want to use, such as rr for Russel Ray
y = the initials of the second Client, again, as many initials as you want to use
If there is only one Client, then y is not necessary, providing even more guesswork and security.
For example, let’s say I did an inspection yesterday at 2:30 p.m. for Sir Paul McCartney. Here’s the file name:
Now go ahead and try to guess the file name for the inspection I did at 10:30 a.m. yesterday, or the two that I’m doing later today. You can’t because you don’t know the names of my Clients. You can try guessing, but good luck. You’ll need it because you don’t know how many initials I used–two, three, four, five, or six.
Try to guess the file name for the inspection I did in 2006, on October 8. You can’t because you don’t know the consecutive number for the year or the names of my Clients.
It’s highly unlikely that I would do an inspection next year for the exact same Clients on the exact same date with the exact same consecutive number for the year. But even if I did, the year (first three digits) would change. So once again you’re out of luck.
The length of the file name has no bearing on anything since one is providing a link to the file anyway, something that people in today’s world seem to have learned to do.
I learned that several years ago when I was following a plumbing truck down the road. On his tailgate, in two lines, was his web site address, something like this:
I thought to myself, “Who in the he!! would have such a long web site name?” I still ask the question, but it led me to the secret of how to name files so that no one could guess their names, and the secret of providing links instead of PDF email attachments.
The main reason why I wanted to get away from PDF email attachments was because my PDF reports had grown to half a megabyte. Holy storage space, Batman! 500 KB! I remember my third computer had a 20 MB hard drive; I was happy as a baby sucking its thumb because it held a gazillionbazillion files. But eating up 500 KB with just one file, even in today’s world, is a nightmare, especially since many of my Clients stil–still!–have only dialup. Dialup with a 500 KB link is not a nightmare like it is with a 500 KB attachment that has to be downloaded.
Before I started this method to drive traffic to my web site, my web site ranking was nowhere to be seen, and you couldn’t find me in the first gazillionbazillion pages of a search.
After a mere three months of using this system, I showed up as the #1 home inspector in San Diego County, right there midway through page four. The first 3½ pages had been purchased by the various inspection schools and real estate brokers. I’m sure someone searching for a home inspector in San Diego County, after searching the first two pages of returns, wondered if there were any home inspectors in San Diego County, or at least whether or not those who were here had Internet sites.
The number of inspections I got through the Internet jumped from 0% to about 5%. Interestingly, all of the inspections I get through the Internet are from relo’s, usually Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota, Florida, and Texas, with Massachusetts ranking #1 and Texas #2.