Newbies and domain names

I woke up yesterday and noticed that a friend of mines domain was expired. This is not usually a big deal and can be fixed up with a few minutes and a credit card. However this particular newbie originally purchased her domain from a reseller that was reselling Tucows registrar service. Well by the time this expiration happened this reseller had moved on and was no longer doing domain sales, Making it impossible to make a payment to renew the domain name. The contact information was listed within a whois, but nobody returned my calls.

Registration Service Provider:
Coast to Coast Hosting, dns-admin@ctch.net
303-333-8947
http://www.ctch.net
This company may be contacted for domain login/passwords,
DNS/Nameserver changes, and general domain support questions.

When I visited the website I got this “Out of Business” page.

Out of Business

Massive Server Failures Shut Us Down

Coast to Coast Hosting is no longer accepting new clients nor renewing contracts with existing clients due to several servers suffering massive disk failure.

This reseller probably did the right thing leaving the business. Heres a tip: If you can’t keep a computer running well DO NOT RUN SERVERS! Servers don’t fail on you unless you fail on them. Okay, so this guy dropped of the planet, fucking all his clients in the process. The clients did not know it yet because they are all newbs, but they will all be learning the hard way when the domains start to expire.

Next thing I did was attempt to go directly to Tucows and pay the renewal directly to them. It made sense to me that they would want to get some money still, even if the reseller was a jackass they would still want to get the cash and keep this poor lady’s web site back up and running. I was amassed at how difficult it was to get anywhere in regards to domain registration on the Tucows site. Look to me like the *only* do reseller accounts. I was able to find the login interface for the domain eventually at https://manage.opensrs.net/ using google. Unfortunately and as you probably have guessed buy now my newbie friend does not remember her login name and password, she has a few for me to try! I go through every email she has forwarded me from “Coast to Coast Hosting” making attempts and one thing becomes very clear to me quite quickly.. there is NO PASSWORD RESET option on this login page! This just sucks. What will I do if I can’t get this damned password. I go into hacker mode, trying every combination of login and password she had ever used and after about 40 attempts, I get logged in.

At this time I’m quite stoked. I am presented with some menu options like “Change Name Server” and “Edit Contact Information”, Everything looks promising so I give her a call on the phone and have her get a credit card ready so she can pay for it. Well all these options on this website and a few minutes with her holding on the phone and i fianny say “I’ll call you back when I get to the payment screen” That payment screen was never located. There is NO WAY to renew this domain without the reseller. Tucows does not have a payment screen on this website at all! I browse the Tucows FAQ and find this:

Q:If my provider does not help me, can you assist?

A:OpenSRS, as a wholesale domain registrar, likes to leave customer service issues between the Registration Service Provider and the end user. However, if you have tried repeatedly to contact your Registration Service Provider, using all traditional means (including telephone and email), to no avail, please follow the Email Tucows link at the bottom of this page and use the form there to let us know of your problem. The compliance department will normally respond to your query within 24-48 hours. The compliance officer will not necessarily deal directly with your issue; their first step is to try to contact the RSP to get the issue resolved. Failing that, they can take action to remedy almost all situations. NOTE: Please do not contact the OpenSRS compliance officer unless you have exhausted all other means of contacting your RSP.

And thats what I do. I “fallow the Email Tucows link at the bottom”, which opens up a form for you to write something in and hit a send button. I send in my complaint and the page refreshed to a “Your Registration Service Provider has been emailed”. I doubt anyone at Tucows is ever going to read it and i move to plan B, Transferring the domain to another registrar.

I call my friend back and let them know that I think it will be easier to transfer this domain to dotster.com and I ask her to verify the email address on the domains administrative contact before I get started she give me the go ahead and I get started. I head over to dotster and initiate a transfer. I have completed hundreds of transfers in the past with dotster and I know the web interface well. Time is of the essence when anyones primary domain is completely dead. In about one minute I’ve got this transfer started and a conformation email get sent to her administrative contact email address. Now we wait. Time passes, no email arrives to her. It’s late in the evening and we both need sleep so I jot out an email letting her know she should have received something by now. I ask her to re-confirm the registered email address. Hit send and go to bed.

Another day and a domain down for an entire 24 hours. I have email! She changed from one ISP to another and while the email addresses were similar; they were not the same, and the address I had “confirmed” with her on the phone, was not correct. 🙁

I don’t blame her. I have seen this happen before. Most new domain holders don’t realize the process involved or the importance of the accuracy of the registration emails until something like this happens. If you have a domain name that you rely on it is important to you to know when it is expiring. If your email is not accurate you will not receive any email invoices!

Now the fun starts for today. I go back to the Tucows domain page I found, log back in and update her email address on the domain. Then log back into dotster to re-send the transfer request. which she received right away. Which she fallowed through to dotster and inserted a bad auth code. Auth codes are a kinda new thing for domains.

As of Sunday, October 29, 2006 @ 12:00am, .COM and .NET domains will require an Authorization Code from your Current Registrar. If your .COM or .NET transfer has a status of REGREQFAIL and you have not requested an Authorization Code from your current registrar, you must do so and provide the authorization code in the box below in order for your transfer to complete.

If an incorrect auth code is inserted then it gets sent off to the current registrar and they reject the transfer, then we have to goto dotster and resend the thing, delaying the process. SO I ask her to just forward me all the emails she may receive and i will take care of it. 2 days later the transfer completed. done.

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