More lessons in how not to market your services

About a month ago, I was having a run in with a domain registrar that just didn’t get it. Back then, despite their best efforts, I managed to move my domain to another registrar although they did keep contacting me afterwards about confirming the transfer (ummm, it’s already been done) and then an email re: expiring domain (erm, no, it’s been renewed during the transfer).

Surprisingly, they called me today and left a message saying that my domain was expiring. An amazing demonstration of disconnection between marketing/renewals and actual content. I called back but it was after 5pm on a Friday, so they’d already left. Guess we’ll see how they handle the “Umm, no, it’s already gone” message on Monday.

How not to market your services…

Back at the start of June, I realised that my domain was coming up for renewal. Now that I’m hosting with DreamHost, I figured I should use them as my registrar as well (“first domain registration free” did have an influence :) ).

Both and another of my domains were with an Australian registrar who were charging about AUS$40 per year for a .com – ouch! When I tried to move them to DreamHost I couldn’t find the registry keys anywhere on the current registrar’s control panel. Nor could I unlock the domains so they could be transferred. Most annoying.

So, I logged a support ticket on their web based system and figured I’d give it a few days as it wasn’t critical. A few days later and there’s no response, so I update the ticket to put more info in and ask for a prompt response. Another few days later and it’s been over week with no response, so I call their 1-300 number. Fortunately I get through to someone pretty quickly and they knew what they were on about, unlocking the domains and emailing me the keys. Yay.

I pointed out that I’d logged a support ticket and been waiting for over a week. The guy said it sounded like that queue was stalled again and that he’d organise to clear it out. Nice one…

So, with the domains unlocked and the keys in hand, I went straight back to DreamHost’s control panel and kicked off the transfers. Within about 24 hours the domains were transferred and renewed out another year each. Excellent.

There the issue would have remained had not the Australian registrar demonstrated that stalled support queues were the least of its problems. From out of the blue a few days later I get an email from a person at a completely different company stating that they’d noticed I’d asked to transfer my domain so could I please confirm it so they could allow it. If I had any questions I could contact them or my “account manager” who was also at this entirely different company.

Fortunately I knew that the organisation that sent this “out of the blue” email was actually the owner of the registration company I used to be with. Of course, there’s nothing on either group’s web pages to say this.

I replied advising that the transfer had already occurred so thanks for asking but there’s no need…

Once again, you’d think that’d be it, but no, there’s more. I received a snail-mail letter from the ex-registrar which was dated a day or two BEFORE the transfer took place but arrived just over one month after the date it was printed. It was a reminder to renew along with an invoice to make it all easier. It also featured vertical stripes and fades associated with a printer that badly needs its toner cartridge changed. Such a good look, both in presentation and in content.

Then, I get an email a few days after that which also sought to remind me that my domain was due for renewal – you know, the one I transferred away from them over a month ago (and renewed in the process). Ummm, hello???

So lets see:

  • There’s no way to unlock a domain or find its registry code
  • The online support request went into a stalled queue
  • I get a “please confirm your transfer” request after the transfer is 100% completed
  • I get a “domain renewal reminder” letter/invoice a month later
  • The letter shows that the printer that produced it desperately needed a toner cartridge change
  • I get a “domain renewal” email over a month after I’ve completed the transfer to a new registrar

Way to go gang – a great example of “how not to keep your clients.” Still, at least their phone support was pretty good…