After RegisterFly, ESTdomains, and Parava, here are some tips to avoid bad domain name registrars.
Even when a relatively small domain name registrar, such as Parava, loses its ICANN accreditation, it can have devastating consequences for web site owners. But there are usually tell-tale signs that a company isn’t doing well. Below are six warning signs that your domain name registrar might not be in it for the long run.
1. It isn’t accessible in a public forum, such as a domain forum, Twitter, or Facebook. Most good domain name registrars care about their public relations. It will regularly monitor customer feedback on open forums and will even proactively participate.
2. Registry and registrar expiration dates don’t match. If a registrar takes your money for a multi-year renewal but the registry shows only one year added to the expiration date, the registrar may be holding back the rest of the money to manually renew the domain each year. This means the company has a cashflow problem, and it will only get worse as it pays higher wholesale prices year-after-year to renew your domain. It’s sort of like a Ponzi scheme. Don’t rely on the registrar’s expiration date; only the registry’s.
3. It never sends a representative in person to a domain conference. If the registrar never sends a real, breathing, human being to a domain conference, you should be worried. Perhaps the registrar is located in a remote locale different from its stated location. Or it doesn’t want to establish personal relationships with customers that it might screw over one day. The biggest registrars should send at least one employee to each conference; smaller ones should occasionally attend.
4. They use whois privacy for their own domain name. If a registrar protects its own contact information in whois, it’s time to run for the hills. What are they hiding?
5. Its founder has a criminal record. ‘Nuff said.
6. It isn’t escrowing whois data. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know right now if a registrar is escrowing its whois data. But if you find out (likely through a default notice), then transfer your domains out right away.