Saturday, October 9, 2010

LLC Registered Agent, Part 3

We recently renewed InCorp Services as the registered agent for our LLC, and I am happy to report that they honored their guarantee to "beat any competitor's price on any product or service."

After receiving a renewal invoice for $99, I emailed their customer service with the URL of a competitor who charges only $50 per year for the same service. The next day we received a new invoice for only $49. If you're curious who the competitor is, you'll have to read my first post in this series; however, if your LLC wasn't formed in California, you'll have to do your own research because the competitor must do business in the same jurisdiction.

InCorp Services has friendly, responsive customer service, and their "entity management system" is very cool—and comprehensive. We definitely recommend them. If you decide to use InCorp after reading this blog entry, please consider using our referral code.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Statement of Information Notice

We recently received a postcard-sized notice from the California Secretary of State informing us that our Statement of Information (LLC-12R) is due by October 31, 2010. Well, whaddaya know? I managed to determine the correct due date, despite the oddly worded filing instructions:
"Every domestic and registered foreign limited liability company shall file a Statement of Information with the Secretary of State, within 90 days after filing of its original Articles of Organization or Application for Registration, and biennially thereafter during the applicable filing period. The applicable filing period for a limited liability company is the calendar month during which its original Articles of Organization or Application for Registration were filed and the immediately preceding five calendar months."
For those unable to penetrate this language, rest assured you'll receive a notice informing you of the deadline. And if you're wondering what the difference is between Form LLC-12 and Form LLC-12R, the latter has a box that can be checked to indicate no information has changed since the previous filing. I appreciate the added convenience, but it would be nice if we didn't have to pay the Secretary $20 to tell her nothing has changed.

Update (Oct. 31, 2012): Form LLC-12R no longer exists; its features have been merged into the latest Form LLC-12.

Update (Oct. 30, 2016): Form LLC-12NC is now the correct form to file when there are no changes to the Statement of Information.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Final Sprout Update

The folks at Sprout have finally deleted the Flash widget that was featured on the landing page of our temporary sign-up site. We expected this to happen last summer, so I am pleased we were able to use it as long as we did. I visited their site to see the current pricing, but the link redirects to the landing page. (Their site contains a number of other errant links as well.)

When I tried to log in, I was informed that our account had been closed on March 30, and that they no longer offer the Sprout Builder subscription service. According to this FAQ, access to our widget ended May 14, which, if accurate, means it took us nearly two weeks to notice. Oops. It appears that they only support enterprise clients now, with service starting at $2,999 per year (for previous subscribers). We wish them good luck with their new business model.

Friday, April 30, 2010

We aren't really using Drupal. Really.

Okay, not really. But according to a MetaFilter user (and, I suspect, some other Drupal purists):

"If not using the views module and CCK, you aren't really using Drupal. Really."

We started out using CCK (Content Construction Kit) and Views, two of the most widely used Drupal modules. I began defining our custom content types using CCK, and Mike began using Views to create the various renderings of those content types. Unfortunately, CCK was too restrictive with regard to the permitted types and relationships of field declarations, and too inefficient with regard to the database types it employed for those fields. Eventually, I abandoned CCK in favor of rolling our own nodes. At the same time, Mike was encountering a number of limitations with Views. Because we were no longer using CCK, it made sense to ditch Views as well. And with those two modules went several other submodules—right into the recycle bin.

Based on our brief experience with CCK and Views, I see how they would be useful for creating conventional objects and displays—especially for non-programmers, who couldn't take the route we did. But for us, they weren't a good fit. As it turns out, for a variety of other reasons, we would've ended up writing our own nodes anyway. No hard feelings, eh?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Domain Registry of America Scam

Another day, another scam. This one is a misleading domain renewal notice from Domain Registry of America, which, by the way, is actually located in Canada. As with the scams that target LLC owners, this one, too, comes in the form of an expiration notice. In the notice we received, the domain they claim is about to expire was renewed last year, and doesn't expire until 2011. Oops!

This company has been operating for several years, but their notices are not nearly as deceptive as they once were. Why? The Federal Trade Commission went after them for misrepresentation, and a federal district court issued this order in 2003. To comply with the order, the urgency of their notices has been muted, and their offer is more transparent. Specifically, the text of the notice makes it clear that if you pay them to renew, you are actually transferring your domain name from your current registrar to theirs. They are, of course, hoping that you don't read it too carefully, because it is a terrible offer (more on that below). Furthermore, the actual registration agreement, which is on the reverse of the notice, is printed in a font so small, most people would need a magnifying glass to read it. Again, they are complying with the law, but hoping you don't actually read it.

Other than the bogus expiration date and the fact that some recipients will mistake it for a renewal notice from their current registrar, what really makes this offer a scam is the price: Their annual renewal rate of $30 is several times the going market rate. Unfortunately, the fact that they are still sending out these notices means that they are still getting people to pay that exorbitant price. Compliance with the law has simply lowered their profit margin, but hasn't put them out of business. Wake up, people!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Status Update

With the recent migration of our sign-up Web site, we have completed our transition from Go Daddy shared hosting to Linode VPS hosting. Behind the scenes, development on the actual Web site continues. As we approach launch, we still have some openings for our upcoming beta test. If you're interested in participating in this noble venture, sign up here. For those who have already signed up to be a beta tester, we apologize for the delay.