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Best of the Banter: Domain registration alternatives
by Donna Stryk, Moderator of the Online Ads Discussion List


A company's name is the starting point of its brand and identity. This is especially true for dot com companies, whose name not only hints at what they do, but also tells consumers where to find them on the Web. Since these names are essential to the success of the company, registering them on the Internet is vital. This is why the competition among domain registrars has increased.

On February 2nd, Shane Sacobie asked the members of Online Ads for their experiences with various registrars. He was frustrated with the decreased customer service and high prices he experienced with Network Solutions. Sacobie said that, "At first, I stuck with it because it was the only game in town. I then stuck with it because it was the first, largest, and most established. However, with increased problems and competition, looking elsewhere is something I now believe I'll have no choice but to do."

Matt Magri was the first to offer alternatives to NSI. He said that ISPs favor two options, www.joker.com and www.opensrs.com. Magri registered individual domains with joker.com and reported that there were no problems. He also said that Open SRS, "Is only reseller-oriented. It actually involves making you your own registrar, with their infrastructure as the base."

Magri also noted that www.register.com is a huge registrar, which although it is substantial in size, isn't favored by ISPs. He said that register.com has, "an ISP-style side businesses" (web hosting, email boxes, etc.) and people are concerned that they will "send email to customers advertising themselves" like NSI has done in the past. This is why ISPs don't recommend Register.com, but Bob Poulsen said he used them and had no problems with the actual registration process.

Chris Brandlon brought up another option, www.internetcrusade.com. Brandlon said that Intertnet Crusade's service was "affordable and efficient. Although it still doesn't show on Whois, the registration was effective within minutes, as a subsequent attempt to register the same name on register.com was unsuccessful." As testament to their service level, Brandlon said, "A follow up phone call to IC was answered promptly and my questions were answered."

One alternative registrar sparked quite a bit of discussion. That was www.dotster.com. Timothy Latz was the first to mention this registrar who offers one-year registrations at a very low cost. Max Tekchand responded to Latz by telling the list of a problem he had with only one DNS server being registered. Michael Murray Grant, on the other hand, successfully registered two domain names using this registrar.

Here are some other alternatives mentioned during the course of this thread. Adam Stanhope recommended www.registernames.com and said that they are "offering all the new 'cool' services surrounding domain registrations. I have heard some great feedback from people regarding their customer service." Boris Kontsevoi suggested www.registrars.com and said about the service: "It's not a lowest possible price, but normal reliable service." Kontsevoi also named a site where all new registrars are listed, www.icann.org/registrars/accredited-list.html.

After reading about all of these alternatives, Randall Rensch posed an important question. Considering how fast a lot of these registrars have entered the market and their small size he asked, "If a registrar goes out of business, what happens to the domain names it has registered?"

According to John Gaskill, "Unless the domain name is registered in your name, you may lose it if your registrar goes out of business." He pointed everyone to a discussion on domain policy in his response, which was posted on February 15th.

You can read this, and all of the other posts in this thread, at www.adbanter.com/wordsearch/registrars.shtml
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