Who is MAKUK and are they connected to Babys Days?

Hey folks, sorry for the lack of posts over the weekend, it has been so busy here!  We had a Childminder night out to celebrate Xmas and then chopped down our Christmas tree and decorated it and before I knew it the weekend had gone!  Anyway enough about me and on with the first of this weeks blog posts….

Who is MAKUK?

Following on from the last post, I said I would be blogging about adverts places by a user called MAKUK on website advertising for freelance workers.  This was after I discovered that Baby’s Days possibly use freelancers to design the system and that possibly the system is not created “In house” as they claim.

MAKUK has posted many many adverts, so I will just provide you with a brief overview of this users activity.  Obviously I do not know if MAKUK is connected with Baby’s Days (by the way the company director of Baby’s Days is called Mark Adam Kahl and he lives in the UK) so I will show you one advert made by this user that possibly shows there may be a connection with Baby’s Days.

The user MAKUK has posted many jobs and has used many different contractors from the Ukraine (at least 2 different contractors), the USA (again at least 2 contractors), India and Sri Lanka.  This could account for the possible small bug that I found on my system and which led to me being removed from The Official Support Group.  Let me explain…..

The best way to describe it in lay person terms is to say, there are essentially lots of different authors writing chapters in the same book; the authors don’t know each other and possibly don’t speak to each other, so they don’t know each others thoughts or ideas and without reading all the other chapters they can’t be sure what others have written.  So although the story makes sense, there are times when the language used is different, or where one author might write in a different tense to the next.  The flow of having only one author just isn’t there.

When you transfer this analogy over to a computer system, it means there is the potential for small bugs to creep in as there is no “master author” overseeing how the software (or ‘book’) is coming together.  That would explain how my possible bug and other possible bugs I will blog about later have come to be. 

I’ve posted already on this blog that many companies use contractors, that’s isn’t what the problem is here.  The problem is that it isn’t good practice to also mislead your customers and put down your competitors in the process of using them.

I also wonder if Baby’s Days head in the sand approach to their use of contractors may have led to some problems in terms of systems bugs and problems as it doesn’t seem that anyone is properly overseeing the flow of the “chapters” these contractors write.  Most companies have systems in place to do this, but as Baby’s Days deny using contractors I am unsure if they have considered this possible problem.

I have had over 60 questions in my inbox / on Facebook over the weekend and sadly I can not answer them all as I am not the director of Baby’s Days but I have done my best.  It is a shame the company hasn’t taken the opportunity to clarify their use of and supervision of freelance workers and the work they create.  I think they are rather hoping I will go away, but I will be here and I will help you all as much as I can.  Feel free to post any worries in the comments below anonymously, it might take me a few days but I will get back to you.

Pop back tomorrow when I will be blogging a collection of Babys Days reviews sent to me anonymously or written on other websites.

Baby’s Days and Contractors.

So last night, I blogged about a possible contractor used by Baby’s Days who lives in the Ukraine.

Kel Thomas has posted over in the Official Babys Days support group that it’s none of my business, “who they employ and it’s [also] none of our [meaning customers] business”.  A few other users go on to say that banks and electricity companies employ people all over the world.

 I thought I’d use this blog post to perhaps clarify some points.

  1. I don’t care if a contractor lives in a yacht off the coast of St Trpoez or in a mud hut in Yemen.  I do care that a company claims to only use in house developers when potentially they are not in house at all and are actually contracted.  This would be dishonest.
  2. Secondly and more importantly, I don’t care if Baby’s Days use contractors, as I said, it’s pretty standard.  But I do care if they put competitors down for using contractors when they are actually potentially doing the very same thing!  Is it a bad thing to use a contractor?  Not necessarily.  Is it bad to lie about your use of a contractor?  Of course it is!  This would be dishonest.

Do Baby’s Days Use Contractors?
Baby’s Days claim that they don’t “subcontract the development of their system to unknown individuals”. I have asked Baby’s Days how they explain the gentleman based in the Ukraine and also the countless other adverts placed on Freelance websites over the last 3 years including one for a logo redesign and another as recent as December 2014 for an IOS developer to develop an app.  They have declined to comment.

Is it any of your business who works for Baby’s Days?
Anyone who actually thinks it’s none of their business who a company potentially uses as a contractor obviously needs to think long and hard about making such claims.  As a childminder, I can’t let one person over my threshold without signing a visitors book (ok, it’s not a legal requirement, but you know what I mean), so why would it be ok to potentially share a load of information with a stranger a company may or may not have vetted?

As Baby’s Days deny their use of contractors they haven’t published parameters for how contractors will operate or what they can and can’t see/do, which is what most companies tend to do.  Their Terms and Conditions say, “Each party will ensure that any agents or subcontractors that are permitted to access any of the other’s Confidential Information are legally bound to comply with the obligations set forth herein.”

But what does that actually mean?  Can contractors access Confidential Information?  Would Photos fall under this?  Can contractors download photos?  Importantly what happens when the T&Cs change again, without customers knowing as happened in November?  What additional rights could possible contractors potentially be given?

These are the questions that pop into my head as an ex user and really they should be popping into everyone’s head that has used this service since it began.  Until Baby’s Days clarify this matter we really wont know all of the facts unfortunately and it’s quite frankly extremely arrogant to suggest customers have no right to know who may potentially have access to their data.

DISCLAIMER: Since Jan 1st 2015 the previously mentioned, “Official” support group endorsed by Baby’s Day was re-branded and no longer contains the word “official” and seemingly is no longer endorsed by Baby’s Days.  At the time of writing this blog post the details within were 100% accurate.

Has anyone complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office about Baby’s Days?

So I have been contacted by a few people advising me I should contact the ICO regarding how Baby’s Days have handled the data they have stored for me through the service my co-minder pays them each month.

Section 7 of the Data Protection Act provides the right for customers to request a copy of the information an organisation holds about them.  However, the right of access goes further than this, and an individual who makes a written request and pays a fee is entitled to be:

  • told whether any personal data is being processed;
  • given a description of the personal data, the reasons it is being processed, and whether it will be given to any other organisations or people;
  • given a copy of the information comprising the data; and
  • given details of the source of the data (where this is available). Source

When Babysdays “terminated” the account of my co-minder we immediately emailed them and asked if we could please make a subject access request as is our right under S.7 of the Data Protection Act.  Here is the email that followed:

I am still hoping, perhaps niavely, that Baby’s Days will give me back my system come Monday and in return I will remove my blog. If I don’t get back my system I will be contacting the ICO to see what they think about Baby’s Days response to my subject access request.

In the mean time I have made a Freedom of Information request with the ICO regarding Baby’s Day, Mark Kahl and Sys IQ Ltd to determine how many complaints or concerns (if any) have been made against them.  In 20 working days I will have an answer to post here. 

At the top of this blog there is a bar, it says email address, fill that in with your address and you will be notified of any changes to the blog.  Baby’s Days will not know you have done this.