Analysis of Better Business Bureau complaints alarming yet inconclusive.
Domain Name Wire surveyed the Better Business Bureau records of the seven largest domain registrars with considerable North American consumer operations. Registrars ranged from 2 complaints on the low end (over the past 36 months) to 321 on the high end.
Consumers can register complaints with the Better Business Bureau when they are unsatisfied with how a company responds to their customer complaints. Most consumers don’t go through the hassle of filing complaints, but many people who feel they are unable to resolve issues with a company will file a report.
Domain Name Wire’s analysis showed alarming numbers of complaints for certain registrars, although caveats abound:
1. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a fragmented organization with local bureaus. These bureaus may handle complaints and presentation of complaint information differently.
2. The BBB reports reviewed for this article included outdated information. For example, Register.com showed that it also did business as Afternic.com. However, Register.com sold Afternic in 2002. This may have resulted in complaints erroneously credited to Register.com.
3. Larger registrars should be expected to receive the greatest number of complaints.
4. Registrars that deal with unsavvy customers are more likely to receive complaints. GoDaddy’s Super Bowl commercials have attracted lots of customers, including many who don’t know much about domain registration.
5. Registrars offer a number of services in addition to domain registration. Registrars that focus on webhosting may receive more complaints compared to those that focus on domain registration. GoDaddy is the United States’ largest shared hosting provider.
6. Registrars often use different company names, which may affect the correct allocation of complaints.
So how did the registrars fare? Below are the details on the top 7 registrars. Click on the registrar name to see the report.
Moniker – Moniker joined the BBB in 2004 and is a member of both the ‘offline’ and ‘online’ versions of the BBB. In the past 36 months it has received only 2 complaints. Although Moniker has fewer domains under management than the other registrars in this list (source: RegistrarStats), having only 2 complaints gives the company top honors.
GoDaddy – GoDaddy is the world’s largest registrar with over 16M domains registered. It also has the most BBB complaints (321) according to the analysis. The company appears to respond to and resolve complaints.
Wild West Domains – WWD is the reseller arm of GoDaddy. The company received 22 complaints in the past 36 months. It is unclear if these were from resellers or resellers’ customers.
eNom – eNom, the world’s second largest domain name registrar, received only 21 BBB complaints in the past 36 months. The company joined the BBB in 2002.
Network Solutions – Because it was the first registrar, Network Solutions deals with a lot of complicated issues from domains registered over a decade ago and has many unsophisticated customers. It received 130 complaints in the past 36 months.
Tucows – Canadian registrar Tucows received 28 complaints for NetIdentity, Tucows, and a couple other company names. Tucows isn’t a member of the BBB, so it doesn’t respond to complaints.
Register.com – Register.com received 68 complaints over the past 36 months. 48 of these have been resolved, 18 have resulted in responses from Register.com that the consumer did not consider satisfactory, and the company hasn’t responded to 2 complaints. Register.com is not a member of the BBB and has an ‘unsatisfactory record’ according to BBB.
A number of readers will find these results, given the caveats, in line with personal experiences.