In my CIO August column I wrote about my frustration when dealing with Domainz.
In particular were my issues over the need for compulsory fields when registering a domain name and, most importantly, difficulties over whether my business was real or not. Mostly the column centred around the fact my access to my account was denied even though I had soon-to-expire domain names. Also, I couldn’t gain access until I agreed to submit a form certified by my solicitor saying my company was a company. This I saw as a form of coercion under which my clients would suffer if I didn’t tow the line. At the time I was venting my spleen over this series of frustrations. Being able to vent like this is very calming and I thank the nice Mr Editor for the ongoing opportunity to do this from time to time. I fumed, typed, kicked the cat and then sent my article away.
Afterwards, I really thought no more about it. That was until I started getting emails back from readers. In fact, I got more emails on this column than on any other subject I have written about. More messages, in fact, than columns where I have purposely set out to offend as many people as possible. More emails even than it was possible for just my mum and wife to have written.
It seems I was not alone … In the column I had referred to my nemesis in Domainz who was out to make my life difficult. Sadly, it seems I was nothing special after all, I was just caught in a flow of frustrated customers. Since then my own dealings with Domainz have been amicable and I even managed to renew the names that were at risk without the need for the certified form.
Okay, so I cheated a little. As Domainz wouldn’t give me a password to my account, I got my wife to renew the names over the phone. Interestingly, she was not asked who she was, why she was renewing them or even why she was giving them details of a MasterCard with a man’s name on it.
Coincidentally, during this time Domainz transferred all my details to a third party that is now my .nz provider as well as my billing contact. This is all part of the changes happening in the world of domain names. However, if I have to submit forms saying who I am just to add three letters after my name-holder name, then how Domainz can transfer responsibility for all my clients’ sites to a third party without notifying any of us is a little hard to understand.Fortunately for me, this third party is a company called Web Drive and it has a bunch of guys I trust. Web Drive is actually the home of our Kiwiwebs web servers in Auckland, and a nicer bunch you could not meet. But while giving all power to Web Drive for developing its business, somewhere in this process my 150-plus domain names should have been notified and given the opportunity to decide whether to move to a third party or stay with what is currently the official agency. The reality is we probably would agree to the change anyway as Web Drive is cheaper than Domainz.
So there I was sitting at my desk, having a company identity crisis, lots of emails to answer, a new .nz provider to deal with. What could I do? Simple, I did what any other grouchy old fart would do. I contacted Domainz and arranged to speak with the CEO himself, Derek Locke. I figured if he can’t explain everything then no one can.
First thing he says is that he has a copy of my previous article in front of him, along with a few comments from his team <gulp>. He never told me what they wrote — I guess he probably doesn’t like saying too many four-letter words in one day but he did assure me he was not my nemesis. He does not wear thick glasses and, most importantly, he is an accountant, not a failed lawyer. And while he is keen to put his side of the story about my dealings, he takes time to say he does like some of my humour.
So what about the issue of unnecessary bureaucracy and the time-wasting involved? Locke was quick to apologise for the process Domainz is required by law to use, but was also quite clear he did not apologise for the steps the organisation took to meet this law. “Name-holder details are the biggest bane of our role,” he said. “We don’t try to annoy people.”
He was more than aware of how some people felt about the processes currently in place and he believes steps are being taken to address them. He mentioned current changes under way and also referred me to www.dnc.org.nz for further information. Most interestingly, he did say that investigation of a unique domain identifier was under way and how this could be used to create a system where transfers can be carried out online. (As I write this I can already hear the cheering in the streets.)
I accept that any transfer process needs to be secure, but if someone breaks the rules or transfers a name fraudulently, let them be prosecuted and punished rather than punishing all domain name holders by putting a process in place that makes basic actions a nightmare.
Locke (I am sure he is Derek to his friends) also pointed out most complaints he gets are about content on some .nz sites. He wanted to make clear that he manages a process and he will “make no judgement as to content”. His role is a business one, not a moral one. This is one aspect we agree on.
After the .nz issues, we moved briefly on to the topic of compulsory fields in the registration process. Requiring a US state to be entered was quickly dismissed as a mistake that has now been corrected, along with an apology for me getting stuck in the middle of this error.
Locke did request that I ask anyone who has had a problem, or is having a problem, to contact him directly. His personal email address is email@example.com. He says he will look into any cases that are raised with him. My suggestion is that readers should take him up on this offer. After all, if we don’t tell him what we want changed we deserve what we get.
At the end of the phone call, I hung up satisfied that I had spoken with my former nemesis and that maybe he was just a bloke stuck doing a job. I still don’t agree with how my situation was handled, but at least we could agree to disagree. Now Domainz has given all my clients away, I guess I won’t be hassling them too much more anyway.
So, now that Domainz is out of the picture, I guess I will have to find another windmill to tilt at next month.
Nygllhuw Morris can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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