There’s a price to pay for cut-rate domain name registrations.
In November 2005 I wrote about a seemingly great offer from a webhosting company and domain reseller called IPOWER that was offering domain registrations for $2.95 with no strings attached. You didn’t have to make additional purchases to get the low price. With the wholesale price of .com domains hovering around $6, this meant IPOWER was losing money on each domain registered. The company’s goal was to cross-sell its webhosting and other services to people who took advantage of the offer.
But it quickly became apparent that registering cut-rate domains can create headaches. Sure, there weren’t any strings attached, but managing your domains was tedious. All domains defaulted to “locked” status. To make any changes, including nameservers, you had to unlock the domains. But you couldn’t unlock the domains without creating a support ticket. Furthermore, with each domain registered you opened an additional account. If you registered ten domains then you had ten account usernames and passwords to contend with.
Suddenly $2.95 wasn’t such a great deal. If it takes countless hours to manage your domains it might not be worth saving a few bucks.
I registered four domains from IPOWER before deciding the cost savings weren’t justified. Those domains were set to expire a couple weeks ago, so I dutifully transferred them to my preferred registrar, Moniker. The transfer went through without a hitch on Moniker’s end.
But then I received a renewal notice from IPOWER saying that my webhosting (sic) account(s) had been renewed for another year at $6.50 (the current IPOWER registration price.) Although the domains were no longer at IPOWER they were charging me for them.
This matter should have been easily resolved with an e-mail to IPOWER’s customer support. But it took several e-mails and finally a phone call to resolve it. (“Your estimated hold time is…19 minutes.)
Part of the problem with IPOWER and its user interface is that it’s a reseller offering domains on another registrar’s platform. Another such reseller is 1&1, which offers .com domains for $5.99. It’s a good deal, but managing domains is a nightmare.
At the end of the day, price is important but for usability and service it is worth paying a couple extra bucks.