Domain Name Jail

I’ve been having a fun couple of weeks wrestling with domains. It is really important that your domain name is similar to the name of your business. It’s so important that I advise my business plan clients to search for and register all “dot” com and “dot” ca domains that are a close match for their business type, and geographical location, in addition to the business name. Domain names cost about $10 a year, so protecting your business from “cyber-squatters” can be cheap insurance.

I follow my own advice in this area, so I have a lot of different domain names. I bought a “set” of domain names a year ago, all related to a business venture that I was working on. With all of the geographic variations, I had about 50 domains related to the new business. Like most things, you can often get a discount if you buy in bulk; and I got a screaming good deal from a different registrar than my usual one. Unfortunately, in business, cheap is not a very good adjective.

The domains were coming up for renewal, so I wanted to transfer them from the cheap registrar to my usual domain service. I started the process on July 23 and it is now a week later and I still have not yet succeeded in the move. The steps involved:

  1. Send the domain list to my preferred supplier, asking them to initiate the transfer. Discover that I had requested “Private” registration when I originally registered the domains.
  2. Have to set up an account with the “Private” registration service.
  3. “Bulk” unprivatize the domains.
  4. Ask my preferred supplier to try again.
  5. Discover that I have to unlock each of the domains before they can be transferred.
  6. Unlock each of the 50 domains, one at a time.
  7. Ask my preferred supplier to try again.
  8. Discover that I cannot transfer “private” domains.
  9. Unprivatize each individual domain.
  10. Ask my preferred supplier to try again.
  11. Discover that all of the domains are still (again) locked.
  12. Call the “discount” supplier and am told that they have a software problem and will notify me when it is fixed. Receive notification that the software problem has been fixed.
  13. Repeat Step 5.
  14. Repeat Step 7.
  15. Repeat Step 8.

Now I am waiting for it all to happen…

Moral of the story: In business, don’t be cheap. You’ll get what you pay for.