Dec 242007
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Almost seven years ago I wrote a glowing review of Dotster focusing primarily on their service. Over the years since domain registration has become highly competitive and prices have dropped dramatically, but I’ve always stuck with as my primary registrar. I’ve also highly recommended them to friends and argued that their higher prices (currently $15.25/year) are worth it. Most people won’t ever need service from their domain registrar (it’s mainly a “set it and forget it” issue), but I always warned that when you do need it, you’ll need it badly. Then the extra money would be worthwhile. Well, I was right and I was wrong. I figure I’ve spent more than $500 ‘extra’ by registering my domains at Dotster over the years and right now I need some support, really bad. It would totally be worth the extra money I’ve spent over the years except for one thing: I’m getting horrible support! Last year I purchased several pre-registered domains that were already on Their service has been acceptable even though they’re two-thirds the price of Dotster, so when my latest batch of Dotster registered domains were coming up for renewal I decided to transfer them to That was in November. One of the domains is set to expire in 3 days, and Dotster’s still holding on to them! They simply won’t let them go! They did, however, send me the following email-

Dear Aahz, Our records indicate you are transferring your domain(s) from Dotster to If you are transferring due to your current account pricing, I would like to take this opportunity to offer you a competitive price reduction on your Dotster account. If you decide to take advantage of this offer, your new Dotster account pricing will include the following – $9.37 Registrations / Renewals on com, net, org, info, us, and biz domains $7.75 Transfer pricing for the same TLD’s listed above. FREE URL Forwarding FREE Email Forwarding FREE DNS Management FREE Whois Privacy If you are transferring to an ICANN-accredited registrar that has a more competitive offer, please let me know. I will do my best to match or beat its offer. To take advantage of this new account pricing, simply reply to this e-mail with your interest. Please include in your correspondence your agreement to the updated account pricing, as well as your preference with respect to your pending transfer. Once I’ve updated your account with the new pricing I’ll send you a confirmation e-mail. If you have no interest in taking advantage of this offer, you do not need to reply to this e-mail. Your transfer is only canceled if you specify you want it to be canceled. If you need additional support or have any other questions, Dotster customer service can be reached by phone at 360.449.5900 or by visiting

Best Regards,

Brian Tapio
360.449.5945 – p
360.397.2903 – f

* All domain registrations are subject to the terms of the Registration Agreement. Click the link below to review the Registration Agreement.

Great! So not only have I been paying way too much for all these years, but you were perfectly willing to host them for less the whole time! Hah! How about just doing what you’re supposed to do and allow me to transfer my domains! I suppose I shoulda tried to transfer them to one of the bottom of the barrel $1.99 registrars to see if they’d match that price. But at this point, Dotster will never see another dime of mine. As if refusing to transfer the domains wasn’t bad enough I finally got fed up with waiting and sent them an email asking how much longer until the domains would be transferred. The response stated only that my domains were “in pendingtransfer status”[sic]. Um, wonderful. But what I asked was when would they be transferred. My further request for clarification has gone unanswered. Tonight was supposed to be the night that I finally transferred Philaahzophy to Top Hosting Center. However, I can’t do that, because Dotster is now refusing to change the nameservers (which tell your web browser where to find a specific website)! After spending the last few days preparing to move the site, and specifically planning to do it on Christmas Eve as traffic would be lighter, I’m now screwed because Dotster, who I’ve been over paying for years by their own admission, refuses to perform the one service required of a domain registrar. When I enter the new nameservers for THC I get a message saying: “PHILAAHZOPHY.COM:Unable to Change Name Servers with Registry, or invalid Name Server.” Say, what?!? Not only do I know the nameservers are valid, but it was only a few days ago that I used them to transfer a different domain over to THC. I even went through the process of changing them on a different domain that I own and that worked just fine. It’s only on the domain that I need transferred right now that they’re refusing to do so. Dotster no longer has a toll free phone number, so I first tried their Chat Support. According to their Support page I will find the link to this on the “My Services” page of my account. Of course when I navigate away from the Support page to the My Services page, all it has to say is that”There are no services for this account.” Well, I guess that just about sums it up, doesn’t it! So, email takes 24 hour-plus, chat support is apparently a myth, and there’s no toll free number. But I need to get these nameservers changed now, so I waste more of my money on a long distance call to their support line. Although it’s not a 24 hour support line (whic is what 80% of internet companies have) the site says they’ll be open until 6pm PST even though it’s Christmas Eve. So I call them at 5:30pm PST only to go through a bunch of automated crap, be told I’m calling outside their service hours, and then be told to leave a message! Leave a message?!? What good is that supposed to do. Their wonderful “customer service” reps obviously left the office early and since Dotster’s too cheap to offer real customer support there will be no one in the office until Wednesday. At that point my window will be completely passed. Just as an experiment I placed a call to GoDaddy’s 24×7 customer support line just now (7:47pm PST) and they picked up right away! Of course, my domains aren’t at GoDaddy yet because Dotster’s been screwing around refusing to release them or share any info with me. BTW, Network Solutions, not only has 24×7 support, but a toll free line as well as 24×7 chat support! As does my new web host, Top Hosting Center. I am soooooooooo frustrated right now, but I’m also powerless against these BS companies that control the internet. Aaarrrgggghhhh!!!!! Merry bloody Christmas to all!

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  8 Responses to “Dotster Customer Service – A Big Fat F”

  1. It is amazing what some registrars will do to hold onto our business, even if it includes twisting arms. I have two domains from back in the days when Network Solutions was pretty much the only game in town and I am paying $30 per year. Yes, you heard me right — and insane $30 a year. And, they have been nothing but trouble when I try to move them. I need to take some focused effort and move them over to the registrar Host Monster is using, because that’s who hosts me now for my newer domains. One of the guys at HM told me we need to start months before the domains expire, becuase it could take that long.

    Seems like we lost the idea of good customer service in the early part of this century and now that we are all screaming to get it back, only the businesses that make good will survive. If I cannot get someone on the phone or on chat at all times (that I can also understand), I am not leaving my service with that company.

    Angie’s last blog post..Princesses and Pirates – Part Two

  2. Hi,
    I have been using Doster.
    Just one word: crap.


  3. I think $15.25/year is a lot. You can easily find some other company, will give you lower prices.

  4. Man domain companies are such a hassle. A blog of mine recently got hacked and inserted with some bad javascript mojo. The company denied that it was their servers that had been duped. Finally we managed to convince and it turns out that they dont even look after the servers, they had to send in a third party to go and fix them. Shoddy hosting ftl.
    .-= confused´s last blog ..Obama versus Wall Street…. =-.

  5. If you usedto Dotster it’s OK, Even they are expensive though.

  6. Doster is BAD. They have answered my tickets – so far. But it took 3 tickets, a threat and 2 days to get and pay to foward a url. Now, since they do not provide email forward I am trying to create Off-site DNS Management thru GoDaddy…but the servers won’t update and I get the same error message as above. At least GoDaddy has full service, easy-to-use tools, real user documentation and support who ANSWER the phone.

  7. In my own impression, Dotster people do not seem to be very reliable
    Facts are the following:
    1. According to their representative, at April 30, 2012 Dotster bought my former hosting company.
    2. At May 4, I discovered that access to my former homepage is blocked and I can’t login.
    3. I was not able to contact Dotster customer service. Their direct E-mail address was not accessible.
    4. Dotster people failed to respond my four requests about withdrawing files.
    5. Dotster made a special login webpage for former fortunecity customers that in my knowledge never worked.
    I believe that is not reliable and Dotster people do not follow good business practices. In my opinion, they should inform customers of their policy changes in advance (1); They should provide customers an option to opt-out and reasonable time for closing their accounts (2); They should respond immediately the requests and provide a public E-mail for complains (3); They should not erase users’ files and other information from their servers unless the resolution of all potential problems.

    Thus, my conclusion is obvious. It is based on facts and my personal experience with Dotster. I believe Dotster people are inexperienced and unorganized. I would not purchase from Dotster because there do not provide any warranty of anything, they do not see potential problems and they can’t handle existing problems professionally.

  8. Dotster just took a turn for the worse. I have spotted numerous bugs in the “new and improved” interface they just rolled out, the worst is how they double or even triple charge you if renewing by paypal. The first time I figured “OK, it is a new interface, surely they will fix the bug by the next time I renew one of my 40 domains”. NOPE. Same exact bug popped up, and I was charged twice. Now, I am trying to get a refund on one of them with no luck so far. I was on hold for 30 minutes when I called, and then got the most angry, pissed off “support” person you can imagine. She did not fix my problem, but did want to tell me that somehow it was all my fault (not!) As a Systems Administrator, I understand a thing or two about “new platforms”, and BUGS. So, now I have a trouble ticket open, to no avail, we’ll see. That is one reason I chose paypoal, since at least I can dispute the charge via paypal if it comes to that. Like I told the gawd-awful support person I talked to, parking domains and paying for them should be EASY anad FAST. Now, I am stuck with this piss-poor registrar called Dotster, like an albatross around my neck. Oh the joy. Dotster is a pissant of a company. Grade F is right!!

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