Burned over $16

A client and I have just been burned by a combination of things that happened. And the root of the cause was the whopping sum of $16.

It all started this morning when I get a txt from a client complaining about no email. This is on top of existing problems last week with spam filters getting aggressive, and other email issues.

So I do some digging and discover that the domain which is supposed to expire next year has been marked as cancelled. Great.


So I call the registrar phone number on the WHOIS, which takes me to Orcon, and they make me wait 45 minutes before I get to speak to someone (Fuck you Orcon). The help desk guy unapologetically tells me I should have called their corporate department for domain issues, which I do, and get straight through this time. The corporate guy tells me that they are just the wholesaler of the name, and I need to call the actual registrar.

While this seems like common sense, I had just assumed the the original registrar (Web World) had been bought out by Orcon, just like most other small ISPs in this country. And in all fairness, I did call the number advertised on the WHOIS record.

Web World

The guy at Web World tells me that they cancelled the name yesterday because there was money outstanding on the account. $16 outstanding.

I quiz him on the reminders, and he tells me these have been going to an address which doesn't exist, and that no paper reminders are sent.

20 hours of downtime, and my sanity levels are at an all time low, all for the sake of $16.

Some lessons...

  • Just because a WHOIS says a domain expires next year, doesn't mean it expires next year.
  • Register domains on behalf of your customers putting yourself as the technical contact. Shit like this doesn't happen when you have lots of names registered in one place, and you know the reminder emails are getting through.
  • If you let the customer manage their own domain, it's their responsibility, but still your problem when things go pear-shaped.
  • Don't deal with companies that don't staff their help desk properly. I don't ever recall having to wait more than a couple of minutes with Webdrive.
  • If you run a company that only deals with a customer once a year, is it too much to ask for a paper invoice? This wouldn't be the first time an email address was recorded incorrectly, or had changed. This is especially important with spam filters gettng tough on automatic emails (such as invoice / statement emails).
  • Registrars: for the love of god, please put the correct phone number in your WHOIS records. I waited 45 minutes today to be told I had called the wrong number (the same number advertised in the WHOIS record).
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Tags: worst practicedomain namesweb worldwhoisorcon"worst practice" "domain names" whois orcon "web world"