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…

Paypal bank transfers to the Philippines — finally!

Paypal is now a legitimate, “round trip”, 100% ecommerce provider in the Philippines. Over the weekend, I learned that this US based e-commerce company has started allowing bank transfers to the Philippines. Previously, Paypal only allows transfers to debit cards. Pinoy e-commerce companies wished that they can directly transfer to their bank accounts, therefore allowing unlimited withdrawal to their Paypal accounts.

A few details:

* 5 to 7 days transfer to your Ph bank
* Free for transactions over P7000
* for transactions below P7000, a fee of P50 will be charged

Hooray† for Philippine e-commerce! World, here we come!

eBay Philippines and Paypal

eBay Philippines is serious about growing their operations locally. They have recently relaunched with a design facelift — even got actress/singer Jolina Magdangal as one of their front pages’ model. And, with the complete process offering of Paypal, the sister company, to local users, it has become even more interesting and exciting. Yesterday’s mass email from Paypal said:

Express Checkout – Up to 40%* increase in conversion rate on your site. Integrate Express Checkout on your site and increase your conversion rate up to 40%. It helps your buyers save time and pay fast using information they already have securely stored with PayPal.

We now have the missing link for active trading, an online payment processing system. I wonder how local auction sites will take eBay’s aggressive plans.

Paypal update: it worked!

I did a Paypal transaction a couple of weeks ago before the long Halloween break. Last week, I received it through Unionbank EON after 5 days. So, there you go — IT DOES WORK!

Now that it’s been tested well and good, what’s next? Think of the many possibilities that a Pinoy entrepreneur can maximize this service.

  • You can start bidding and selling (thus earning) at popular local auction sites, especially with the entry of Ebay.ph months ago.
  • Some small businesses that were declined of their application by merchant account providers such as Yes Payments for having expected low volume transactions can start selling stuff online without monthly payments.
  • Freelancers (web designers, web programmers, copy writers, etc.) can have the flexibility and the popularity of Paypal on their side. It’ll be easier to collect for their services.
  • I have not looked at this yet if its available on local Paypal service, but if it is, non-profit organizations can now accept donations online through Paypal.

Any other use of Paypal that you can think of — specifically catering to a Pinoy’s way of business living?

Free online tools for the technopreneur

1. Email/Documents/Calendar

Google Apps (Free)

Personalized email. Work on your documents anywhere there is an internet connection. Schedule. Lots of goodies. Simple set-up.

2. Online CRM

Zoho (Free, 3 users)

I particular like the Web to Case feature. It generates a form which you can publish on your website. An excellent customer support tool. More details at http://zohocrm.wiki.zoho.com/Working-with-Cases.html

3. Online / Paper Billing

Freshbooks (Free, 3 active clients)

Great service for freelancers, small business, etc. Accepts PayPal for credit card processing. A nice workaround for the three-client limitation: after a client has paid, just deactivate the account (reactivate the following billing period). Remember the term “active”
client :-)

4. Payment Processor

Paypal, Standard Business (1.9% to 2.9% + $0.30 USD)

For a low-volume, low-cost, easy-to-implement processor— nothing beats P/P. Keep an eye on Amazon Micro Payment. Wishlist: Smart and Globe would come up with a cut-and-paste micropayment ecommerce implementation for a website and none of the horrendous paperwork requirement.

5. Voice Mail / Local US Number

GrandCentral (Free for now, got acquired by Google)

Free voicemail, free local number, accessible online, redirects; am
not complaining. Or you can try Gizmo ($3/mo)

Originally posted at Ph-Cyberview by a guy nick named “bus”. I just think it’s useful to post it here.