This is in response to this article.
I think the original article hits some really important points about lock-ins and timeliness for most types of customers. However, the article misses the biggest reason why it's so hard to find a good registrar.
Registrar and Customer interests are NOT aligned.
We agree that the registrar business is a commodity for most people and treated as such. This causes a race to the bottom in pricing, service and other aspects. The problem this has created is: how do registrars earn more money?
Screwing domain registrants and keeping/selling/monetizing their domain names.
A incomplete list of the ways registrars do/have screw(ed) over domain registrants:
- Automatically parking domains on their own PPC, creating the potential for legal issues for the owner and collecting any income made.
- Creating barriers to domain transfers such as 'faulty' email systems (looking at you eNom - over 4 years and you still claim it's on my end, yet every transfer in from the same email address works perfectly)
- Keeping domains that expire for themselves
- Selling off expired domains without them going through the delete process (Pre-Release)
- Marking up Redemption Grace Period renewals (often hundreds of dollars)
- Spamming (hi intrustdomains.com)
- Upselling useless products/services (godaddy is the worst offender)
- No incentive to create good user interfaces once you've registered domains
- Non-existent support (looking at shell registrars used for drop catching)
- Domain Tasting
- Exposing whois queries
- Frontrunning (buying a domain as you go through the registration process before you actually purchase)
Registrars watched others make money in the domain name business but saw razor thin margins. The biggest problem in my opinion is expired domain names. They make pennies for each domain I register but can potentially make thousands for each domain I expire through pre-release partnerships and drop catching (mostly pre-release these days).
With those sort of incentives, it becomes obvious why there are no (or few) good registrars. It takes a special level of commitment and someone who truly cares about creating a service that's good for their customers.