Lost Domain

Several years ago when I wanted to register a domain name I did a lot of research to see which company was most cost-effective. At that time there were not many companies allowing free domain parking or domain redirection. In most cases, the costs for these services were only slightly lower than leasing space on a domain server. I didn’t want to pay a high price for another server when I had so much space already leased. Then I discovered Domain Direct.

Domain Direct allowed a domain name to be re-directed to another URL. They also allowed a variety of options for email service with my domain. This was a great way to give the appearance that I had leased my own Internet server but without the costs normally associated with leasing a server.

For a few years, I used their service for all my domains. I recommended them to many of my clients and set up a few of my other domain names there as well. As an Internet Developer, I spend many hours each week researching new technology and more cost-effective means of doing business on the Internet. I discovered that many other companies were becoming registrars for domain names. Some were offering low registration costs and including a variety of other features. Features such as domain redirection, (allowing your domain name to point to another URL), email forwarding and a variety of other services.

After comparing the current costs and features of other companies I found that the costs of Domain Direct were much higher than many other companies that allowed domain re-direction. I requested a transfer to another registrar and waited several weeks for the transfer to be completed. I finally received an email message stating that the authorization timed out. Apparently, the email address on record was invalid. Actually, I had closed that mailbox so having not been notified of the authorization I was not able to authorize the request. These things do happen from time to time. I reopened the email address and the transfer was requested again.

I was later informed that Domain Direct had locked the domain because it had expired. I called their toll free number. I had to press several phone buttons to get to the proper department. I was then placed on hold for 15 minutes and forced to listen to commercial advertisements, (and an old Huey Lewis song), from a Toronto radio station. During my wait, the recorded message changed which led me to believe that I was getting ever closer to speaking with a real person. Finally, a real person answered the phone. He spoke with a Hindu accent which seemed a bit odd since the company was located in Canada. I was able to understand most of what he said including the sales pitch he gave trying to keep me as a customer. I informed him that I had already paid the transfer fee and wanted complete the transfer. He informed me that domain names are “locked by default” to prevent other registrars from making unauthorized transfers. This is either a safety measure or a way to make it difficult for customers to stray. I strayed.

I finally made the changes to the registration and assumed that all was well. About a month and a half later, just days after paying an annual fee for web space and changing the name servers, the domain stopped resolving. I contacted the current registrar and was informed that they did not have my name registered with them. Of course, I thought they were crazy. After several emails, an online chat and a long phone conversation with them I found that my domain name had never been transferred. Allegedly, the transfer was never made. I was also informed that, for a small fee, I could have access to my name again. My other option was to wait until the domain name became available to the public and hope to register it again.

I still have not received an accurate explanation as to how this could have happened. What I did receive was an offer from the new registrar to split the cost of regaining access to my domain name and removing it from “redemption” status. I agreed and within two days my site was up and running again.

Be careful when dealing with domain registrars and double check everything or you might wind up with a big surprise the next time you visit your own website. I recommend that you avoid Domain Direct but, by all means, do consider domainsite.com for your next website registration. Some registrars/hosts that I’ve used are mister.net, hostdepartment.com and, my favorite, hostmonster.com.

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