If you’ve ever registered a domain, there is a high probability that you’re dealing with folks in a far off, perhaps even exotic location. Australia, India or perhaps even as far off as Philadelphia.
Allow me this short history:
I don’t know if this makes me “old school’ (I’m not “OG”…you know, “Original Geek”), but while I didn’t begin my internet experiences on a hacked Commodore 64, I do recall the painstaking days of domain registration and management that involved returning delicately prepared text based emails. It was a nerve-wracking process where an mis-aligned “X” could result in an error of some sort. And worse, the edits that can now be seen in minutes, really DID take 24-48 hours to propagate. Beyond that, domains were a whopping $100, and then finally down to $50 a pop. Only after some sort of “ICANN deregulation” was put in place were there options beyond what is now Network Solutions. For some time–that was the only game in town. Love it, or leave it.
But now we have a multitude of registrars available to us and as such, prices are extremely affordable. If you want to buy a domain for your cat, it’s not that big of a deal…pathetic, but financially viable. The flip-side to this relative registration ease is that there are some players that have no business being in “the business”; sub-standard business practices and sloppy or non-existent customer service.
Prior to our business relationship, a client of mine registered their domain with 2000domain.net. Kudos to them for being on top of the game, but shame on them for using a fly-by-night service like 2000domain.net. And proving that the internet business really can be a home-grown business jewel (I have no issues with that at all), the 2000domain.net address returns to a condo/apartment in what I’ll assume is a Philadelphia suburb.
For several years, I’ve been trying to transfer my domain to another registrar as 2000domain.net continues to charge a whopping $35.00 a year. No it’s not a lot of money, but it is terribly out of step with competitive pricing schedules and I wanted out. Going back at least 3-5 years, I would attempt to initiate a transfer to a preferred registrar. But with German-grade precision, my emails and phone calls were systematically ignored. I never got close: no lip-service or no empty promises and a “support” answering machine that lead to nothingness. Eventually the renewal date would draw too close for comfort and I would relent by paying the bloated renewal costs vs. finding my domain expired and snaked up by an automated domain skimming bot.
This year, I decided to take another route by stepping around my friends in Philly and heading down-under to Melbourne. I don’t know why it took me so long to take this angle, but 2000domain.net is an affiliate/re-seller for Melbourne IT in Australia, so I opted to contact them in directly. Since it was their affiliate providing sub-standard services, one could argue that it was reflecting poorly on their organization. Work the business ego, I say. Contacting Melbourne IT eventually worked (it took weeks) and they returned with the required transfer authorization codes–but with less than ten days before my domain was scheduled to lapse. Nevertheless, I scrambled and forwarded the codes to 2000domain within 2 minutes and again found myself at the will and whim of Philly. Days and then more days passed with no word about releasing my domain and the 2/26 expiry date was looming.
After two more phone calls literally pleading with them to “do the right thing”, and as many emails I actually got my first email from the “support” team at 2000domain.net. Comically, they offered instructions for transferring the domain TO them vs. away. Ugh.
The Anti-Climactic Ending
After yet another email clarifying my need, the domain was transferred with two days to spare (a mere 3-5 years after my first effort) and now the planets have aligned and cats are living peaceably with dogs. I decided to post this for others that have most certainly found themselves in similar situations with 2000domain.net. Likewise, let this be a lesson in business diligence: work with reputable organizations, take a few moments to investigate, ask a question and see how long it takes to get a response. When you’re handing over your brand and your identity to another party, take the time to learn what they’re all about or you might find yourself being held hostage. Take it from me (and my client).