I hate to admit it, but this is how pathetic my life is.
I have been an amateur astronomer for a long time now. When you get the astro bug as I have, you want to enjoy a few of the astro goodies that are available to enthusiasts.There is an online astronomy buy and sell web site known as Astromart. It has been a great boon to guys like me, you can save a great deal of money buying gear used as opposed to paying the full new price. I also briefly ventured into a small side business making and selling parallelogram binocular mounts.
Astromart began as a free use site. Then I suppose the cost of upkeep for servers, and at least an IT guy or two, eventually meant that the site had to start charging people for the service. It started off if my memory serves well (and it is suspect) there was discussion of the cost being 5 bucks per year, then by the time the for pay fee was implemented it jumped to 12 bucks a year. There are also other levels of support that cost more for the added benefit of some perks. A guy like me that was in effect a small manufacturer was considered a Blue Dealer, I don’t even honestly remember the rest of the support level structures they have, but there are several.
Now as I mentioned early on the site was free, and slowly progressed to a pay site. The Blue Dealer, which I was, had a built in loop hole. In that you bought a block of ads for a certain fee, and as you used up your ads you just bought more. Having these ads in your pocket from the Blue Dealer status secluded you from the ever pervasive “Support Astromart” push. Let it be known I did not set up the system as such. Note that while you have a paid subscription, the powers that be constantly pester the already paid account holders for more money. It is apparent the motive here is greed pure and simple.
Well, I only needed to use a few of the ads I had purchased. Once my binocular mounts started selling they were hot for a while. I had more business than I could honestly keep up with. As I am a family man, and was working full time as a commercial diver. What spare time I did have was dedicated to being in the shop sweating with these mounts.
At some point I decided to quit making them. If I placed an ad, I’d get more work than I could honestly handle, plus over time the cost of steel and hardware kept going up, or in some cases became no longer available. Toss in the fact that my shop is not air conditioned, and there is a lot of cutting, welding, and slaving over each and every part, being built from scratch. I finally decided to not post anymore ads, though I would still make a few by request, as word of mouth turned out to be a pretty good seller. I did not sell a lot more mounts after I decided to formally quit, but the requests did trickle in here and there.
Anyway, my interest in the site waned. I pretty much have all of the necessary items I need to enjoy my time under the stars. I am no longer interested in being a dealer. I no longer have any use for their forums. Many an online community requires the existence of moderators, and moderators tend to generally rub me the wrong way with their authoritarian Barney Fife tendencies. So I was reduced pretty much to a bystander, with access to the site, because of my Blue Dealer status. I did not in any way profit from or benefit from their site. I would drop in from time to time and browse. That’s it.
I tried to login yesterday and it was refusing my pw. So I used the online chat system to see what was up. Apparently they had decided that guys like me, that had the Blue Dealer status, were gaming the system. A system that they themselves had put in place.
Enter Herb York. The owner of the site. I have seen many an altercation with this guy on the site. He is somewhat a cross between a brutal dictator and a Clint Eastwood itchy finger. Also, though I have never seen the guy, he demonstrates much of the “little man” syndrome. I’ll bet you a cold beer he stands around 4′ 4″ tall. There is no dialogue or reasoning with the man. He is as cold and unforgiving as the Arctic ice. Perhaps the biggest case of a sorry, petty asshole I have ever seen.
They did not try to fix what they perceived as a problem. There was no attempt to notify or intent of discourse, they just deleted the accounts in question, and that was that. I know better than to even try to reason with the guy. With Herbie there is no rational discourse. Unless you are the getting down on your knees and begging for forgiveness type, or willing to wag however much $$ he is demanding today, to access his site under his nose. I am willing to do neither.
I repeat, I did not in any way profit from or attempt to profit from this site after my decision to quit being a dealer was made. I may have been open to some sort of change of strucure, or new system, but was denied the opportunity.
Herbie, being the dictator with a Clint Eastwood itchy finger, as most are, is always quick to eliminate any dissent at his site, and refuses to allow audience with his immortal self. So, while I was suffering just a tad from the sting of being deleted and dumped, all of my ratings being forever gone, I realized that “I have a fucking blog” I have a voice. All I have to do is use it.
Right or wrong, I was aware that I was able to avoid the yearly taxation they wanted. I figured at some point they would change the system to accomodate that, but I was never notified of any such intent. I am sure much better people than me were cleansed from this site. I am also sure I have been dumped by better people than Herb York in my life. It took me all of two seconds to delete the website from my browser, I will miss Astromart, a little, but it will pass.
I’ll bet there is a Herb York support group out there somewhere, I will have to Google that.
Herbie, I have been done with you and your site for some time. I was just unwilling to admit it.
Oh, and Herbie… stick it where the sun don’t shine. I don’t feel much better, getting that out of my system, but at least I was able to have my say. And that is something.
I have never had as much trouble with getting paragraph spacing just so, as I have had in this post…it was initially a copy/paste job from word pad, so that could be the problem.
EDIT: Just for shits and giggles I Googled “Herb York Astromart” Here is just a bit of what I found:
There are many more, but these few trend towards my experiences and what I have seen of others. Turns out there really is a Herb York support group out there. It lives in the blogs and posts of those who have run afoul of ole Herbie.
Nuther Edit: I just had a look at ole Herbies Twitter feed. Sickening bastard. I should have known from the way he handles his business, he is a RWCRFM. (Right Wing Conservative Republican Fundamentalist Moron)
That was a good rant you got over there
Thing about a good rant, you feel some better when you get it out of your system. When you are dealing with a megalomaniacal petty dictator with all of the issues that tend to go with that title, they leave you no avenue to vent.
When you have a blog, no matter how small or its relavancy to the world, you at least have an avenue to vent, if nothing else.
Good to see ya Mak, hope all is well in your part of the world. 🙂
Yes yes, all is well here. I like your telescope
Heh, those are just my big binoculars, on one of the mounts I used to build. I’ll have to line up my telescopes and get a good picture of them…
I would love to see the collection
I just renewed support at AM for a year $15.00 but now I am told I have to be sponsor because I run an Astro Business (see classicoptics.com). I have a site that I sell vintage and antique microscopes and accessories. How does that equate to Astro Business. I’ve asked for a refund, I doubt I’ll get it. And also I can’t use the site until I do fork out more bucks. Cloudy Nights here I come.
I feel your pain Mr. Stanley. Herb York is an enormous ass. I can tell you that CN will welcome you with open arms.
I got out of the parallelogram building business a long time ago, but if I still wanted to, CN would be my venue of choice.
I love what you are doing. Much success to your future sir! And don’t bother even looking in the rear view. Herbie ain’t worth the effort.
Oh…and I don’t know how in the devil a seller of microscopes can be accused of being in the astronomy business. Unless… It might be you need a microscope to find Herb York’s integrity. 😉
I had the distinct displeasure of meeting Herb in person once at the Anacortes Telescope store. I lived in Seattle at the time and was thinking about picking up a C14 on a CGE Pro mount, Anacortes was the only store within 500 miles that had one on the floor, so I made the 2-hour drive north to see it. Not 5 minutes in the door I experienced the Herb syndrome: arrogance, hostility and just bad customer skills. This is clearly a miserable human being. I walked out and bought my C14/CGE Pro elsewhere.
And yes, I would believe he is a RWCRFM. The store is officially a gun shop that sells some astro gear.
I’m surprised more people don’t just defect to CN. It’s a much more pleasant platform, at no cost, and best yet: no Herb.
I feel your pain man. I never had the displeasure of seeing him in person. Bad enough over the net. Just a sad excuse for a human being.
How did you like that C-14?
My biggest scope is a 12.5 Discovery dob. I keep thinking someday I might get a 16, but in all honesty the 12.5 has been very satisfying.
There was a discourse on the now defunct Topix forums where Herbie was showing his ass. I don’t think that is accessible anymore. A shame. It’s nice to have documentation to point at.
I’ve been a member of CN for some time now. I find it much more satisfying than AssMart.
Thanks for stopping in 🙂
I know this post is 7 years old, but since there have been replies as recently as 6 months ago I’ll leave a comment as well.
It’s pretty funny to see how consistent this guy has been over the years. I have a one-man-show astro shop, and when I had originally signed up for AMart there was some kind of structure to support a spectrum of dealers. My account was glitchy and I could never figure out how to properly sponsor the site or whatever I was supposed to do, and all my emails went unanswered. Now, years later, I decided to give it another go, and I was able to make it through to someone (Herb as it turns out) and my account got properly set up. But when I try to pay my dues the scale is gone and I’m greeted with a mandatory $600/quarter charge and a $300/10 ads charge. I try to ask on the quick chat if I was missing the scaled fees I saw earlier, and also get Herb. He informs me I gotta pay my $900 first before posting a single sponsored ad. And if I want to keep it going that’s $2400/year to “sponsor” the site and $300 every time I run out of ads.
It wasn’t until googling around after that experience that I learn he owns the website??? And I find your blog and a ton of the threads with people who’ve been burnt linked here. And I learn he apparently personally handles all the support emails, admin duties, even the quick chat…
Man, I’m just glad the price of admission was waaaaaay beyond my budget, saved me a lot of grief it seems.
Welcome to the online Herb York support line!
I can’t think of one good thing to say about the man. He is a greed driven, egotisical jackass, with no redeeming qualities I am aware of.
You are lucky you got out relatively unscathed.
I am glad this post came up in your search. I will keep this website up as long as I am able, just so this Astromart post can breathe a little air.
Thanks for stopping in and relating your story. Untold thousands are still out there. All with a story to tell. You are welcome to tell it here!
I love this!!! I’ve had the displeasure of meeting him at the store years ago. Ugh.
It’s a wonder he gets any return business. Thanks for dropping in!
Sorry it took so long for me to approve your posting. I been busy busy busy… 🙂