Yesterday, I initiated four transfers that formally end my customer relationship with Network Solutions. When the process completes, all my domains will be with GoDaddy. The end is long-time coming. I registered my first domain, editors.com, with what was then InterNIC, managed by the U.S. company, in August 1995 (I regrettably, in retrospect, sold the web address a decade ago).
Customer service and costs are main reasons for the registrar change, which is quite the turnabout. Three years ago, on December 29, I joined the “Dump Go Daddy Day” bandwagon, moving my domains to NetSol for affordable $6.99 each plus $6 private registration. Now I am absolved of my original registrar.
My first problem with NetSol started nearly a year after the bulk transfer, as I explained in November 2012 post “Network Solution’s Auto-renew Scam“. My domains were set to auto-new, which unexpectedly trigged payment 60 days in advance of expiration for $37.99 each and $15.99 private registration. Cough, cough, choke. I subsequently turned off auto-new on all domains, which, by contrast, is enabled at GoDaddy, where billing occurs day-of. Customers aren’t charged months in advance.
I hadn’t paid NetSol its outrageously high renewal fees in years before the incident. I learned that if you initiate a transfer from domain manager, the registrar will offer to renew for 10 bucks, rather than the typical $38 (or as little as $18 for some customers). Calling on the phone and asking for a transfer authorization code is another way to get a big discount on renewals.
Soon after this incident, I started moving domains back to GoDaddy, where I now subscribe to the Discount Domain Club, which costs about $90 per year. Benefits include significantly-reduced renewal fees. According to a GoDaddy rep I chatted with on December 27: “The rates for different tlds fluctuate. The Discount Domain Club reduces the price of each domain name 44 percent-50 percent…Roughly $8.29 for a .com depending on the tld and timeframe”.
GoDaddy’s published fees are much higher than those the rep cites. Check out the official price list, which puts .com at $19.99 per year, or $11.99 under Domain Club. I’ve never paid that much, whether or not a subscriber. The registrar runs ongoing discounts of 20 percent or more. This morning, I got an offer for 36-percent off any new service.
Other Domain Club benefits include ad-revenue-generating domain parking and auction access. I hold a number of domains for future use. I don’t park, or squat them, such as aroostook.org (first registered in 1996, for my home county’s name), urbanwits.com (for a site that might someday offer crowd-sourced city-living tips), and ufocats.com (for a possible future feline scifi series).
But I have looked into selling some or parking for profit from advertising. I will only keep the ad-on service, at May renewal time, if deciding to use the others. Before then, I will take advantage of the club membership to lock in good multi-year pricing on all my domains. Once that’s done, without, say, parking for profit, the $90 fee unnecessarily adds to my yearly domain costs.
In another money-saving move, I stopped using private registration at the start of 2014. For $60 a year, I rent a mailbox, which is my street address for public WHOIS record. That way, I don’t reveal my home address to the entire Internet, while eliminating ridiculously wasted expense. Private registration is such a ripoff. Also, should someone want to offer money for a domain, reaching me (or you) is rather difficult.
I am sentimental about NetSol, until reminding myself that the organization I once knew is long gone. Today, the registrar aggressively tries to upsell additional services, charges way too much for what competitors comparatively offer for much less, and lags behind in areas domain owners should worry about. For example: GoDaddy offers two-factor account authentication, and Network Solutions doesn’t.
A personal era ends, and this is the time of year where I often make changes or acquire new domains. For example, I registered joewilcox.com, .net, and .org on Dec. 31, 1999; cusper.com. .net, and .org on Jan. 26, 2001; urbanwits.com, .net, and .org on Jan. 7, 2012.
Photo Credit: Corrine Klug