Feb 042001
 
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When I first heard about PSI Web Domains (aka web-domains.com) I wasn’t sure why anyone would pay $66.50 for a 2-year domain registration when so many cheaper options were available. In fact, I’ve always recommended people not pay more than $20/year for registration (and it can be had for much less with a little shopping. But, being a curious little cat I went to go check out PSI anyway, and was amazed at what I found.

The site originally loads in Japanese, but there is a clear link to an English language site (which I clicked immediately). Once in my native (and only) tongue I discovered that the site is actually available in 17 different languages (including transliteration and original alphabet versions for several!). Wow! This is an amazing service.

The Site

Note: When I am referring to the site I am only referring to the English site. While most of the others have their home page set up in a similar format I did not explore them as I am sadly monolingual.

The site is utilitarian in nature and not particularly attractive or unattractive. I suppose plain would describe it best. Several areas of the site (most notably the domain check option) lead to dead ends without any links back to other areas in the site. While your browser’s back button will get you out of these dead ends, it can be rather annoying. In fact, the entire site appears to be designed with only a minimum of HTML knowledge.

Considering the site is based in Japan I was very impressed with the English usage. Then I discovered that the company was actually founded by two Americans living in Japan. Still, there are few typos or grammatical errors on the site.

A nice glossary is available on the site to clarify some of the more obscure terms and I found the site to be very informative in general. It’s the odd navigation that was troubling. In fact, I tried to go confirm some information while doing this review and could not find a page I had been to less than 15 minutes earlier.

Registering Your Domain

PSI only accepts registration of .COM, .NET, .ORG, and .IO domain names. If you’re not familiar with .IO domains visit http://www.io.io for more information. I’m not sure why .JP (Japan’s top level domain designation) is not available for registration as PSI is based in Japan.

If you wish to register a name in another alphabet (Japanese, Chinese, etc) a converter is available to allow you to do so.

Most registrars allow you to check if a domain is available and then continue forward to register it. At PSI you must back up to the Home page then click on a graphical link (which took me a while to identify) in order to start the registration process.

You will be taken to a page asking for your email address and the domain name you wish tor register (if your name is not available you will be informed and instructed to try again). The next step is completion of your contact information and listing your DNS servers. If you do not yet have a web host, you may park your domain at PSI for free.

Pricing/Payment

Original domain registration, for .COM, .NET, and .ORG domains, is available at $66.50 for 2 years when paying by US credit card on-line, 7,900yen when paying via fax or with a Japanese credit card online, or 11,000yen when paying via bank transfer from within Japan.

.IO domains names are available for $99.00 per year.

Domain parking is available at PSI for no additional charge.

CORE Domain Names

PSI is a founding CORE registrar. This means (among other things) that they have first opportunity at registering the new CORE top-level generic domain names when (IF) they become available. The proposed generic domain names are .firm, .web, .shop, .info, .arts, .rec, and .nom.

They no longer accept reservations for these names as they have come to believe (as have I) that these names are unlikely to ever become a reality. I applaud PSI for this and it makes me feel more comfortable recommending them as a domain registrar.

Summary

For your average, American, English-speaking internet user I would not recommend PSI.

However, if you’re more comfortable in one of the other languages they support then I do feel comfortable recommending them.

I would also recommend them if you are looking to register a .IO name as few registrars actually offer this service.

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