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 Dotster.com 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 GoDaddy.com. 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 GoDaddy.com. 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 GoDaddy.com. 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 http://www.dotster.com/support.php
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!
The Complete Domain Registrars Series-