Anyone who has bid and won a domain on the expiring domain auction sites knows what it is like to deal with half-assed, no morals, unethical registrars who are submitting their customers’ domains for auction. These registrars (many or most are resellers) are more interested in preventing the renewal of your domain unless it’s $30 a year or more, and who make it almost impossible to transfer your domain out. This blogpost is a followup on my earlier blog post on “REGISTRARS THAT NEED TO BE EATEN”.
The obvious is apparent with these registrars as soon as you login (If you can, in fact, login). The fact that some of them are resellers who are bought out by supposed “legitimate” registrars should be a good thing for those who are suffering with the original registrar. My first article on crappy registrars didn’t name names. However, my blog article today is about ITSYOURDOMAIN.COM (IYD) registrar, a hideous bungheap purchased in July of 2007 by Tucows, who still has not yet done anything with it to improve or change its features or policies. ITSYOURDOMAIN.COM isn’t the only piece of sh*t registrar out there playing games with your hard-earned money and your valuable domains, but they happen to be on my radar at this moment because they’ve cost me hours of labor (which I charge a minimum of $100 an hour) for a domain transfer on a domain that’s probably only worth a few hundred dollars or more.
I warned IYD that I was going to report everything I experienced in my attempt to transfer out a domain that is actually one of my client’s domains that my client bought through me on Snapname bids. In fact, a very knowledgeable and respected source provided me with email addresses of inside executives of Tucows in order to help me with my issues with IYD. However, I didn’t want to go that route because I wanted the experience of any domainer who had to deal with the problem of IYD without my inside connections.
You don’t have to search hard to find lots of complaints on the internet about ITSYOURDOMAIN.COM, and most talk about the same issues I’m discussing here. A quote I found on a news release about Tucows purchase of IYD said: “Tucows has a solid reputation within the industry as a customer-focused organization,” said James McKenzie, IYD’s CEO. “We’re very confident that as Tucows customers, IYD affiliates will continue to receive the high level of service and support they have come to expect,” added Ted Cucci, IYD’s COO. “It was important to us that any buyer commit to continuing the services that our customers demand.” Well folks, demand we do. The words of Ted Cucci were apparently “Freudian slips” about their customers “demanding” services from IYD. Apparently, lots of IYD customers “demand” services from IYD and don’t get them. I have discovered this for myself, and it makes me fume blood lava out of my ears.
The following screenshots show the loving care that ITSYOURDOMAIN.COM gives its customers when they try to login, find their auth code to transfer the domain out and unlock the domain. At the date of this writing, I have no idea whether the domain I’m trying to transfer out has successfully been transferred. Why? IYD doesn’t let you know right away, especially when you’re very close to expiration date time! Even more insidious is that IYD will TAKE WHOIS REGISTRATION CONTROL OF YOUR DOMAIN AT LEAST SIX WEEKS BEFORE YOUR DOMAIN EXPIRES.
Before I show the screen shots, I want to make it VERY CLEAR that TUCOWS now controls this registrar ITSYOURDOMAIN.COM. So I put the blame on TUCOWS, which is no slouch of a domain service and is making millions of dollars a year, for not immediately upgrading the domain management system of IYD after they purchased the registrar with its “700,000 domains”. So let us proceed:
The domain in questions is IDEALDATE.NET. It’s expiration date is January 5, 2008. However, see the below screenshot of the whois registration taken on DECEMBER 13, 2007, at least THREE weeks BEFORE the expiration date of IDEALDATE.NET:
Notice that the new registrant of the domain is “Pending Renewal or Deletion _ SecureWhois, Inc.” That’s comforting to know that your domain, three weeks before it’s expiration date, has been “CAPTURED” by Securewhois, Inc.”. That entity is in fact, IYD.
It doesn’t end there. If you try to unlock your domain or transfer it out, even when you are INSIDE YOUR OWN ACCOUNT, you get the mysterious “Transfershield” lock, which I personally never set, don’t know what the password is, and the password for Transfershield was never sent to me:
Isn’t it nice of ITSYOURDOMAIN.COM to “protect” your domain from being “hijacked” by adding a secondary password requirement to your domain, even without your permission or your input? When you ask for this password, you will get the heavy handed “send us a copy of your driver’s license, social security number, etc. etc. by fax” to determine that the domain is actually yours, even though you are in your own account with them. More delays, more hassle.
Here is the smoking gun part of my blog post: Just how many domains out of the 700,000 domains that TUCOWS bought from IYD are in this “underground bunker” of snagging expiring domain names for resale at Snapnames or elsewhere? Take a look at Domaintools revelation of the more than 180,000 — yes that’s ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THOUSAND domains under the IYD whois registration ID of “Pending Renewal or Deletion _ SecureWhois, Inc.” And remember, they choose to SET THIS WHOIS CHANGE on YOUR DOMAINS at least six weeks before your domain expires. This means at least 25% of all domains owned by IYD are in the process of being procured for resale in the auction aftermarket. Want proof?
Here’s a snapshot of a domain OGANESYAN.COM which doesn’t expire until Jan 25, 2008. This screenshot was taken December 13, 2007, about six weeks before expiration. Notice that the domain does NOT have the name of the true registrant (which is me), even though the domain has not yet expired.
These screenshots are certified, dated correctly and true.
ITSYOURDOMAIN.COM changes the ownership of a domain that is not renewed at least six weeks BEFORE expiration to their own whois registration company “Securewhois”. They can be clearly seen as taking advantage of domainers who are trying to transfer out their domains before they expire. Imagine trying to SELL your domain a month before expiration, but not able to access it because that domain is locked under the “Pending Renewal or Deletion _ SecureWhois, Inc.” whois registration.
I am forwarding this article directly to my contacts at Snapnames for further investigation. I invite anyone who has had trouble with registrars cheating them or hindering their efforts to transfer out their domains to me, and I will list them. Take screenshots of all the steps you’ve taken to make the transfer and do not alter the screenshots so that the original date stands.
Be careful, fight for your rights, and be involved with any domain organization like DNOA or ICA to help discuss this travesty with ICANN so these rogue registrars can be eliminated once and for all.