May 192008
 

The folx over at WebHostingRating gave me a sneek peak at their new template earlier today and I gotta say it’s far nicer than their current site design. It’s just as clean as the old interface, but has a much slicker ‘feel’ to it which I think will help them go far. For those who haven’t heard of WebHostinRating.com, they’re one of many sites that list the features and prices of various webhosts in order to make shoping for a new place to host your domains a little easier.

But they’re more than just a ‘catalog’ as they also provide an extensive article directory full of articles on domains and hosting topics including an excellent recent article on multiple domain hosting.

May 152008
 

When I started to get serious about monetizing the websites and blogs I’ve created over the years the first thing I realized was that it was going to take traffic. And large amounts of it. So that led me to pondering where, exactly, web traffic comes from. The answer, ultimately is two places: links and search engines. This, of course, led to Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. One of the first things I learned there was that links from governmental sites (.gov) and educational institutions (.edu) carried more weight with search engine rankings then those from the more common top level domains (.com, .net and .org).

As I’ve muddled along with my own attempts at search engine optimization I’ve often wondered how, exactly, one goes about getting such links. Despite my efforts I have managed to obtain very few although they have been some of the most effective direct links in driving traffic to my various sites. Have they helped with Search Engine Optimization? Hard to say. None of my pages have exceptionally high Page Rank, but then those that I promote the most actively have also been Google-smacked for other reasons, so there’s no way to tell for sure what their real PageRank is.

I recently learned that both Matt Cutts and John Mu (both Google employees) have come flat out and said that .edu links do not carry any more weight in Google’s algorithm than kinks from any other top level domain. Rather the weight a link carries is directly attributable to the trustworthiness of the page and the site itself. Well, both educational institutions and government websites carry significantly more trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines, so perhaps both sides can be accurate.

Whether or not .edu links in themselves carry more weight, per se, everyone still agrees that they’re desirable. As noted above, I receive more traffic from my .edu links than from any other particular links I have floating around the web. In fact, this blog is still the number one search engine result for the term “Applied Anarchy” and I credit that to the fact that this phrase was used on a link from a .edu domain.

But this still leaves us with the dilemma of how to obtain such links. Well, today I learned of .EduTextLink.com whose sole purpose is to aid in your SEO efforts by providing edu links to your website.  Prices start at a mere $399 for their Basic “Get Acquainted” Package, which seems pretty reasonable should you have a website that is well monetized.  Earning back that investment shouldn’t be too difficult.  Unfortunately it’s out of my budget for the moment, so I can’t yet give them a try.  However, if you’re looking to do some serious marketing of your latest web project and you’re looking for .edu links than I’d love to hear back on your results.

Apr 162008
 
Part of the Domain Registrars Series - Previous in series         

It’s no secret I used to be a huge fan of Dotster, or that they crashed and burned pretty severely in my opinion. But tonight I received a Dotster coupon code offer not even I can refuse. After all, free, is free. And that’s exactly what Dotster is offering tomorrow afternoon: free domain names! You read that right, Dotster is giving away free domain names tomorrow (04/17/08). They’re calling it their Happy Hour event and it’s essentially a race to the finish line. Dotster’s giving away 500 .com, .net or .org domain names starting at 1pm PDT / 4pm EDT.

All you’ve got to do is follow this link and look for the Happy Hour banner. You’ll receive a coupon code for a free domain name that may be used immediately or up until Tuesday, April 22nd.

But be fast and sure to read my latest Dotster review first so you know what you’re getting in to!

Part of the Domain Registrars Series - Previous in series        
Feb 042008
 

Reuters’ Oddly Enough headline RSS is probably one of the most subscribed to feeds on the web. So getting your website plugged in one of their articles can generate thousands, if not tens of thousands, of visitors to your site. Well, today I clicked over to check out the latest world oddities only to find a (rather weak) article on “The dumbest ever quiz answers” and, being unimpressed overall, clicked over to their source site to see if there were any better offerings. Unfortunately, the webmaster at www.jumpingjacksbar.com allowed the domain to expire just a few days ago. Ouch!

Whoever they are just lost a huge amount of traffic, and its accompanying revenue. All over a $15 domain registration fee. So, consider this a warning to all webmaster’s out there. You never know exactly when your site’s going to receive a massive traffic influx, so be sure to keep the domain registration up to date.

Dec 242007
 
Part of the Domain Registrars Series - Previous in series         Next in series

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

Best Regards,

Brian Tapio
Dotster.com
btapio@dotster.com
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.

https://secure.registerapi.com/order/register/agreement.php?siteid=4798

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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