Displaying posts tagged under "Moniker"
Moniker makes it easier to transfer domain names to another registrar.
It’s been a frustrating six weeks for Moniker customers. After a disastrous switch to a completely new registrar platform, many customers wanted to move their domain names to another registrar.
Adding insult to injury, there was no way to get transfer authorization codes in bulk. Instead, customers had to request them one-by-one.
Finally, some good news for customers: Moniker has added bulk auth code exporting. I’m not quite sure when this was added, but I spotted it this morning when I tried to transfer another bunch of domains.
First, you need to unlock all of the domains you want to transfer. (I was able to unlock a couple hundred without any errors this week, which is also good news.) Then, select “Export Authcodes” from the drop down menu. Moniker will email the auth codes to you for the selected domains.
The confirmation page says you’ll receive an email with the auth codes within “minutes”. Be patient; in my case it took about 30 minutes.
Moniker “wins” three spots on June’s top stories list.
Is there no such thing as bad press?
That phrase probably went out the window last month for Moniker. It took three of the month’s top five spots on Domain Name Wire for highest-trafficked stories. The stories also combined for over 350 comments. It was not good news.
Here’s the complete top five.
1. The new Moniker: Love it or Hate it? – It’s definitely the latter.
2. Moniker CEO Bonnie Wittenburg discusses botched transition – customers are not appeased as they still wait for many things to be fixed.
3. .XXX interview: Lessons on premium domains, marketing and more – This is a great interview for anyone interested in new TLDs.
4. Why Google is becoming a domain name registrar & what it means for the business – It will mean a lot of Google executes.
5. Sorry, Moniker. It’s Over. – I can’t imagine how many domains have been transferred out of Moniker over the past month.
My long relationship with Moniker is coming to an end due to irreconcilable differences.
I’ve been a Moniker customer for a decade. Probably longer.
I haven’t been a completely satisfied customer, but I have been a content customer.
Until a week ago. That’s when Moniker flipped the switch on its new system. It completely scrapped the old Moniker we all knew. It replaced it with KeyDrive’s reseller platform.
Unfortunately, the transition has been an unmitigated disaster.
When it comes to my own domains and account, I decided to sit on the sidelines for the first week after the system switch. I didn’t have domains that were expiring soon, so I wasn’t in danger of losing any. Yes, I was charged for domains that had already expired, but that can be fixed in due course. So I figured I’d let others work out the kinks in the system.
Later this week some of my domains expire though, so on Monday it was time to take action and figure out what to do about this mess.
I don’t want to renew domain names that expire this week. I previously set them to not autorenew, but Moniker lost all of the autorenew information when it switched to the new platform. It unhelpfully switched them all to autorenew.
Fortunately, I have Moniker’s old weekly emails telling me which domains were coming up for renewal and the autorenew settings on them. These emails allowed me to go in yesterday and “fix” all of the domains that were wrongfully set to autorenew.
This is a pretty big breach of trust. It seems Moniker simply lost the autorenew settings. Or it’s choosing not to fix them itself.
On this issue alone, I’m dumbfounded that Moniker hasn’t contacted its clients to alert them that they need to reset all of their autorenew settings.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. Throughout this entire disaster, Moniker has posted just one tweet. One.
(Speaking of domain expiration, the old Moniker sent out expiration notices that were helpful. They gave you a list of your domains expiring soon along with the expiration status. The new Moniker sends out expiration notices, too. But they aren’t helpful. They say your domain may be on autorenew. Or not. You have to log in to find out.)
Having to change autorenew settings is just one example of customers being forced to clean up a mess created by Moniker’s lack of preparation.
Many of us were charged for domain names that had expired previously. I was charged for two. (I think I was only charged for two. I’ve found at least five other domains in my account that were set to expire that are now showing as renewed for another year.) I received a refund for one, but had to open a support ticket for the other.
I’ll probably get a refund at some point. I opened four tickets on Monday morning. They were not responded to by Tuesday afternoon so I called in to talk to support. The support rep had to escalate the refund ticket. (I really feel for Moniker’s frontline support people right now. They must feel beaten down.)
Lots of other things are broken. There’s no status or communication about when they’ll be fixed.
Whois privacy emails bouncing. Domain names no longer working with AfternicDLS and SedoMLS. The wrong currencies denoted on invoices. It appears all invoices prior to the transition have been lost. Credit invoices don’t show up in your account.
Moniker clients lost a system they liked. It has been replaced with a system that annoys them daily:
Those aforementioned renewal notices that don’t tell you if the domain is set to autorenew. Or when you fix Moniker’s autorenew settings on your domains and get a confirmation email…you get a separate email for each domain changed in your batch process!
One of the first things I learned in business was that you should include your employees or customers in decision making processes when it comes to change. Even if you don’t take all of their suggestions, they’ll feel committed to the change you implement.
Interview them. Ask them why they use your service. What would they like to stay the same? What would they like to change?
I don’t think Moniker did this.
I understand that this move was about cost savings. It would have cost a lot to manage a separate Moniker system. It would have cost a lost to upgrade it to meet the requirements of the 2013 RAA. To add new products and services.
Moniker surely knew it would lose some customers over its cost-saving decision, but it’s losing a lot more than expected due to its own ineptness.
I’m one of those customers. It’s not because I can’t handle change. I can look past a short blip and having to clean things up a bit.
Rather, it’s because I’ve lost confidence. When you lose confidence in a bank, you pull your money. When you lose confidence in a registrar, you transfer your domains.
I’ve lost confidence because there’s been essentially no communication. I’ve lost confidence because the number of domains in my account has magically changed post-transition. I’ve lost confidence because little things that should have been caught before the transition haven’t been fixed a week after the transition.
I’ve lost confidence in the integrity of Moniker’s systems.
It’s time to move.
This is going to be easier said than done thanks to a change Moniker made when switching to the new system: you can’t get transfer authorization codes in bulk.
One of the reasons I don’t use eNom for many of my domains is because you have to request transfer authorization codes one-by-one. I don’t want to put my money in a bank that makes it hard to take the money out.
Now Moniker is the same way. They’re “working on it”, but understandably enabling bulk authorization codes is probably low down on its list.
For that reason, I guess I’ll end be a Moniker customer a little bit longer. Hopefully not too long.
Wittenburg discusses what went wrong and what the company is doing to fix it.
It’s been a long week for Moniker and its customers.
The company transitioned its entire platform over to Key-Systems’ reseller platform over the weekend and it didn’t go as planned. Domains not set to renew were renewed, domains were missing from accounts, pricing was erroneous and other features didn’t work correctly.
Moniker took the entire site down for 24 hours starting Tuesday to address the issues.
This is obviously a major disruption to a customer base that has already endured a registrar transitioned between several owners and management teams in the past decade.
I reached out to Moniker CEO Bonnie Wittenburg with several questions regarding the botched system transition.
DNW: It’s understandable that things go wrong during a major transition like this, but it seems like a lot more went wrong that should have. What sort of testing did Moniker do prior to the transition? What happened to cause so many problems?
Wittenburg: The entire team involved in this project – both at Moniker in Florida, and at Key-Systems in our German Headquarters – conducted testing to ensure quality for functionally, usability, and reliability. Some testing required a live environment that encompasses all system components to be functioning together, rather than independently in a silo. Moniker’s systems were not technically maintained to Key-Systems’ standards in years past which resulted in a loss of fidelity during the data import process. Our efforts have brought Moniker systems up to standard from which we can begin a program of improvement. Although we anticipated difficulties with the transition, it has proven to be more complex than anticipated.
These issues have been solved or are in the process of being solved since the initial roll-out and subsequent maintenance period. We are working diligently to further improve the Moniker experience at every level. We are working closely with select customers to identify pain points and to better understand how we could prevent further issues and to learn from what has happened.
Independent from the data migration issues, some customers are affected from our transition away from SnapNames and domain names which were acquired on the SnapNames platform. We are working with SnapNames and Web.com to resolve these issues. The transition is not complete resulting in a portion of some clients’ domain names being temporarily unmanageable. We are actively working with all parties involved to resolve these outstanding issues and to ensure that these domains are safe.
DNW: I imagine much of the code base in Moniker is very old. Are any of the technical staff from Moniker still involved with the company today, or was it all handled by Key-Systems staff?
Wittenburg: Moniker formerly operated off a legacy code base built on outdated technology that would not support the introduction of new products and services in line with our goals. Although we work closely with technical staff at SnapNames in support of outstanding issues stemming from the sale of the company, none of the former engineers are still with Moniker. It has been this way for some time and all of the technical components of Moniker are handled by Key-Systems out of Germany.
DNW: What is Moniker going to do to regain the trust of its customers?
Wittenburg: We are aware that a reputation takes years to build, countless hours of hard work from our employees, and is solidified by providing quality services to our customers. To us, that means creating an easy-to-use platform that enables clients to manage their domains while maintaining security protocols. We are also aware just how fragile this relationship is between a business and consumer. These recent events are a blemish on our record, but we are not a damaged company. We remain hopeful that our clients will give us an opportunity to prove our commitment to them and we are working to restore their faith in our organization and the staff we employ. Our technical staff is working around the clock to fix and improve remaining problems to allow Moniker to operate at full capacity, our main priority. We have a top notch customer service team in place that is core to our renewed commitment to providing the best in customer service. Simply put, we are committed to making this right and will stop at nothing to restore and improve our services and quality of product we deliver.
I also had a chance to speak with Moniker Director of Marketing Mark Mariani.
Mariani explained that one of the big issues was that, while all domains were in Moniker’s database, not all were placed in customers’ accounts. This was obviously one of the big causes of alarm.
Customers who had domain names renewed that were set not to auto renew will receive refunds if they have not already.
The company is also working to address the $25 minimum PayPal payment issue and bulk authorization codes for transfers.
Moniker offers phone and ticket support for any outstanding issues but queues are longer than normal. (In my opinion, submitting a ticket might be a better option for non-urgen issues — you won’t spend time on hold and you’ll have a record of your support request.)
Moniker has had a long week. The months ahead cleaning up the mess will be even longer.
Moniker has taken its website offline to fix numerous problems with its new system.
Domain name registrar Moniker switched its interface to a reseller platform over the weekend. It didn’t go so well, as evidenced by the 100+ comments on my post about the change.
Issues include being billed for renewals on domains set to cancel, incorrect pricing, inability to execute order, domains disappearing from accounts, missing whois information, and an unclear user interface…it goes on and on.
And it just got worse. Moniker has been taken offline.
A notice at Moniker.com explains that the site has been taken offline to fix these issues.
The good news is you don’t have to worry about all of the problems Moniker is having right now…because you can do absolutely nothing about it.
A message at Moniker says “all operations will be resumed at 9:00 am (EDT).” I guess that means tomorrow, since the notice appears to have just been published. I was on the site after 9 EDT this morning and didn’t have any problems.