How a local domain registrar screwed us up

I’m writing this in the hope that the local internet industry will try to pursue excellence, small as we are. There’s always a start. Pissing off clients is not.

Years ago, I moved and registered my domains — and my clients’ — to a local domain registrar. They claimed to be cheaper than the cheap domains. But looking back, I actually used their service in support of the local internet companies and not really because of the price. If there’s anyone who offers the same service locally, why would I go out? That’s my principle then — and still is.

Unfortunately, though, this local internet company started missing the essentials. They stopped receiving online payments, forcing clients go to the bank to pay for the domains. Their control panel keeps on failing. Their “mother registrar” — mydomains.com — keeps on emailing me. At one time, I renewed the domain at mydomains.com after I received the email, not from this local company, thinking that “it’ll reflect to my account anyway”. It didn’t.

I had no choice but to slowly move my domains out.

This week, I had enough.

2008 – I started moving my domains out

Oct. 2008 – I changed servers. So I had to change the NS record through the domain control panel. Their control panel was failing when I tried to have one of my busiest local client’s domain changed. So what I did was to call their customer support after my emails are left unanswered. And after about 2 days of trying to reach them via phone, at last, somebody answered! And she agreed to change the NS record manually. It worked.

Jan 5, 2009 РI planned to move the domain (one of the last 2) out. So, to prepare that, I updated my email address via their control panel. Take note, just the email address.  I successfully did that.

Jan 7 – It was Saturday and my client is bugging me. She was freaking out because their website is forwarding to the old server. I checked, and it really was. I noticed that the NS record has reverted back to the old record! Huh!? I didn’t do that? Who would have done that? Or was it an API failure? Meaning, their control panel isn’t speaking correctly with their “mother registrar”? Anyway, I tried to solve the problem by simply changing the NS record back from their control panel. Two hours have passed, 4, 8, a day, and then Monday, nothing was happening!

Jan 9 – I called the customer service and asked why, I have changed the NS record from their control panel but the WHOIS isn’t changing after 2 days. She said, sometimes, they do it manually. Manually? She means that their¬† control panel actually doesn’t work 100% of the time. So, no time to argue, I have a pissed off client shouting at me, I simply asked her to change the NS manually — again.

Next day – still nothing is happening. My client is loosing her business. I was freaking out. I tried calling the customer support. She was out for the day. I asked, who can I talk to other than her? The answer: none. And the owner is out too. They didn’t offer to call him. Why would they, I’m just one small client with issue on one domain? No big deal. At least to them.

And the next day — I finally reached the one-woman-band customer support. But she was clueless why.

Let me stop here and drive my point. I’m part of the local internet industry. My dream is for us to go head to head with international leaders like India. There are factors that we have no control off — like government support. But there are things that we can control. And by pursuing excellence, we can make a difference. So, local internet industry, let’s learn from this domain registrar’s mistakes:

– poor customer support

– very poor API integration to their provider, affecting their clients in a big way

– lack of reliable and systematic ecommerce facility.

Would you like me to name that local domain registrar? Nah…