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Sorry, Moniker. It’s Over.

My long relationship with Moniker is coming to an end due to irreconcilable differences.

MonikerI’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.

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  1. Mike

    Got to simply say I totally concur with what you have said. You need to be able to rely 99.99% on your registrar to do the right thing. I have always regged most domains with Fabulous and they are best I have found in terms of service,professionalism etc.

    One thing I would like to ask publicly is this ,and it is related to trust etc. How many days Grace period does a Registrar HAVE to give a customer to renew their .com ,any or none ?.

  2. adam

    That makes 2 of us, Andrew. I’m willing to wait a while for things to settle down in a transition but this has been a train wreck and there’s no signs of it getting any better. Say goodbye to another decades-long customer as well Moniker. 4000 domains will be heading out not soon enough. Very annoying.

  3. James

    Andrew – Well written and every bit true on all accounts. It is real simple pulling your domains out – Request from Moniker to unlock all your domains and send
    you the auth codes for each one. This will save you hours fumbling with their inadequate system which can’t handle bulk actions. I would suggest the same to anyone with inventory sitting there.

    • adam

      I am very curious about this as well. They have no incentive at all to provide help as you exit the sinking ship, but at the very least this would show they are willing to help and do the right thing. Bonnie are you listening ? It’s your time to shine. Provide a support mechanism to help people get EPP codes in bulk right now and you can rise above.

  4. Josh

    Moniker is now trigger fraud alerts with Chase credit.

    Chase just called me and said, Moniker is attempting to charge you $67.05. Is this authorized? I looked and sure enough, in my email, Moniker was billing me for domains no longer with Moniker.

    I told Chase it was unauthorized and to block any further attempts from Moniker.

    I do online purchases with this credit card all the time. I suspect there’s been so many complaints on Moniker’s billing practices that this is triggering fraud alerts.

  5. Josh

    The Chase rep also told me that Moniker is red-flagged in their system as being “compromised”. I don’t know what that means exactly. My conclusion is in the post above.

  6. michael berkens


    I wish I could take credit for having some special inside knowledge, but I just happened to move all my 400 or so domains out of moniker (snapnames pickups) to hexonet right before the disaster.

    Since I’m Monte’s partner in ROTD I have stayed out of the Moniker issue on my blog, but personally as a long term customer who spend many hundreds of thousands of dollars with them, its all just very sad.

    • Josh

      On the one hand, Monte must be horrified that what he worked so hard to build is burning to the ground. On the other hand, the world now appreciates Monte’s management skills rather than maybe taking it for granted, as I did for the Monte years.

      • Andrew Allemann

        A lot of people say things went downhill after Monte left, after the Oversee acquisition, after the KeyDrive acquisition. I don’t necessarily see things that way. They’ve actually done some good things to make it better, such as a centralized support system that worked fairly well rather than relying on a single point of failure (an account manager).

        Not taking anything away from Monte here, just saying this messup is a completely different issue.

  7. Jeff

    1.00 p.m. Eastern – Moniker is offline again:

    “We are experiencing technical difficulties. We will be back online shortly. Our team is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

  8. SF

    Yep …they seem to have LOST all previous settings and even credit card information. They are leaving it up to customers to discover & fix.

    Their personnel seem to have gone into hiding.
    I suspect their Attorneys May have advised them to “remain silent”.

    Surely, they must know they will be losing all of their best, long time domainer customers.

    They must be banking on that old PT Barnum quote:
    There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute. They must be counting on gaining a whole new customer base …of Suckers.

    Either that – or – maybe they are trying to self destruct with bankruptcy as an option. The whole thing is Beyond Bizarre.

  9. Josh

    Wow, I just logged into Moniker. I now have 30 more domains than I did yesterday. Moniker re-added domains that have already left Moniker. They apparently did this in the last few hours.

    Beware: SEVERE data problems.

  10. SL

    So sad. I still don’t understand why they wouldn’t use the old workflow for renewals. There’s no risk in alienating the customer except to get the new code right. Fine, add in the hipster javascript stuff but at all costs make sure the core checkout workflow is easy on the customer. Not to mention including saving settings and invoices. That’s stuff that should be way on the top of the priorities in the system spec, understood by everyone before a keyboard is touched.

    To be honest, it smells like the design of all this autorenew crap and brain-dead invoicing came from a non-technical type of manager. One that insisted on a waterfall model and was convinced they knew better than the user. It oozes with arrogance and contempt for the customer, the only goal in mind is to drive revenue by any means possible. When folks like that are steering the ship it makes it very difficult for competent tech folks to implement those fundamentally flawed design plans.

    It’s all a shame because the last thing the registrar landscape needs is less competition. I really wanted to stay but can’t. It’s too dangerous at this point because it’s more than just bugs to be worked out. The core workflow is too flawed to recover from.

  11. Hugh

    I am lucky I am using Epik.com, not Moniker.com. I never liked the interface at Moniker and to always have to call in for help with everything. The security was good but I think Epik.com is much better since you can specify access to your account on multiple IPs. Plus prices are much better.

  12. Robbie


    I paid for renewals, they show updated in whois, and they are back live pointing to my servers, but in your platform they continue to say the domain has exceeded it’s expiration date, what the heck?

  13. Josh

    A Message from Moniker’s CEO | Bonnie Wittenburg

    “I am still confident a system upgrade and platform enhancement was the right decision, but some things went wrong with the migration of our data”

    Stop reading right there. THAT is the fundamental flaw now with Moniker. The FAILURE to recognize that even if the data had transferred proprerly, the new system is so POORLY designed, especially the invoicing workflow, NO ONE will want to use it.

    Doubled down on stupid. Game over. Moniker is dead.

    • SL

      Yeah I certainly don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes but that’s pretty weak blaming it solely on the programming grunts. It was neither a “system upgrade” or a “platform enhancement”, those are simply bullsh*t bingo words.

      It was a full rewrite that didn’t consider customer input early on. That’s the project manager+architect’s job coupled with direction from the top dogs. And to add insult to injury, it was obviously rolled out too soon.

      • Joseph Peterson

        Testing, testing, testing!

        Data migrations have happened before. Software testing is essential. Moniker could have asked thousands of tech companies how to do things right.

        Pathetic, actually.

        Things that didn’t happen or that failed to happen adequately:

        (1) Advance customer surveys
        (2) Publicizing proposed changes beforehand
        (3) Software testing
        (4) Risk analysis
        (5) Customer service emergency procedures / training
        (6) IT emergency procedures / training
        (7) Communication during the crisis

        This wasn’t a single-point failure. This incident could only happen with failure in all 7 of those areas, at least.

  14. James

    They can’t even display the correct expiration date of your domains… all of mine show expiration 1 day earlier compared to the real whois.. is this the same for everyone?

  15. George

    Expiration dates are all over the place… I can’t even transfer some of my names out because the whois (multiple whois) shows “unable to update”. Oh and did I mention that when I tried to login to the new system I was unable to. Tried my customer id and password about 10 times. Had to phone in to find out that they had changed my customer id! I never received any emails about this “handy” change. WTF?!

  16. SF

    Dear Moniker,

    There is an old fable: “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”

    The story concerns a shepherd boy who repeatedly tricks nearby villagers by saying a wolf is attacking his flock. Finally, a wolf actually does appear and the boy again calls for help. The villagers assume that it is yet another false alarm and simply ignore him. The sheep are eaten by the wolf.

    The moral stated at the end of the Greek version is, “it shows how falsehoods are rewarded: when they finally tell the truth, no one believes them”.

  17. Alice

    Where are you moving your domains to?
    Looking for safe, stable management of a1500 domains.

    Invoicing system is awful, just want the old system back

    Please share where you are moving to…

    • Domainer Extraordinaire

      The best bulk management system out there is Internet.bs. I take a lot of credit for it. I asked for and got 95% of what I wanted in a system after moving from Moniker years ago. They became a better system than Moniker used to be. Now they are 100X better.

  18. Rob

    I’m sure many have heard of the saying: “In confusion there is profit”.

    Has anyone thought of the possibility that there may be an element of planned chaos in all this? Think off all those premium domains that have vanished from people’s accounts and/or not been renewed… where will they all end up? How about the missing $ from people’s accounts? Or the renewal of expired or unwanted domains?

    I’m not convinced this is 100% an “accident”.

    I just started moving my domains from godaddy. Thankfully I didn’t go to Moniker.

  19. thelegendaryjp

    So wait, to get an auth code now I need to open a ticket and request them one by one? Is this a joke, I have my second largest investment at a rar I can no longer trust, renew or delete yesterday ended in email invoices stating the opposite request, scary stuff.

    • Andrew Allemann

      No – you can get auth codes one-by-one in the account interface. If you want them in bulk you would have to open a ticket, although the rep I originally spoke with said they won’t provide them in bulk.

  20. Mike

    In addition to other problems, we have now found additional domain names that we successfully renewed according to Moniker’s emails and control panel but that are still showing as “in redemption” at the registry. We have not heard back from support on these non renewals. There has only been a statement that no domain names have been lost. Also, interesting that many of the domains that were renewed successfully (after checking both at Moniker and the registry to confirm) now appear to redirected and parked at KeySystem’s NameDrive where KeySystems makes pay per click revenues. When will these issues be fixed?

    • Mike

      Unfortunately, no. We have at least 9 domain names which Moniker shows as renewed in their control panel but which still show “in redemption” in the Verisign registry.

      We also have many others (at least 15 domain names as of now) that are renewed at Moniker and the registry but still point to NameDrive parking pages on behalf of Moniker’s parent company KeyDrive.

      There are other domain names that have been renewed at Moniker but still do not show that they are renewed at the registry but are not yet in redemption.

      Lastly, we have not received any response to our inquiries about these domain names from support @Moniker but we did receive a general we are working on the backlog of renewals general message a few days ago. Time will tell if these errors are corrected before many domain names become lost.

  21. James

    I still can’t believe you have to wait 6 days for your transfers to complete! That was always my only complaint on the legacy site. The fact they did not fix this on the new site is just another flawed problem to the list of many. If I am missing something let me know, however so far my transfers have taken the full 6. days

  22. Louise

    Hi Rob, What you said. It seems to big to tackle, but this has roots with ICANN and Verisign, according to my theory. As I draft it, I published an appeal for information:

    Moniker Migration – Time of the Essence

    If anyone reading this wants to offer information, or ask me to advocate for them with Key Systems and Snapnames, I will be happy to try.

    Together, we are stronger than individual voices and complaints.

  23. Domainer

    Moved all my names out of moniker. Their VP was an arrogant S.O.B. when I had an issue with them earlier. That’s when I transferred almost all names out of moniker and into Fabulous. All I have now are less then ten domains…. and a couple hundred in “account credit”. Glad I did this before the fiasco here.

  24. Sebastian D

    Has anyone been able to unlock just one domain in the new system,? I have now been trying to get away for more than 10 days –

  25. Reality

    I’ve managed to unlock some, but it seems random as to whether they actually unlock. ORG seems more successful than COM. They are now also charging me for domains that are no longer registered with Moniker, and the price has doubled to $19/year. Desperately trying to get my domains away from them but they seem to be blocking transfers.

  26. Bobolob

    Today’s Moniker screw up: invoiced $18.54 for two renewals, credit card billed for $37.08, refunded $9.27, and neither of the domains are actually registered with Moniker!

  27. tim

    Can anyone help me out? I have several domains set to expire one of which will expire in 7 days. I cant renew because my card company flagged moniker for suspicious activity after they hit me with several unauthorized transactions at random. They literately charged me 11 times for totally random amounts all in a row and my card company is telling me that they are continuing to try and charge me random amounts. Needles to say they canceled my card and are sending me a new one now. I put a second card into the system just so I could take care of my renewals but instead of renewing my names they charged me $564 spread across 4 different transactions and didn’t renew my names! And of course this card company also flagged them for suspicious activity and canceled the card.

    The problem is that I’m afraid to input another new card into the Moniker system because of all of the fraud. I’ve opened several tickets, tried phone support and even sent off a few emails that I found on the boards. This has been going on for over a week and I still haven’t made contact with anyone.

    The second problem I’m having is trying to get my names away from Moniker. They wont allow me to unlock my domains. Every time I unlock a name it re locks itself. In fact every time i try to make a change to my account in any way shape or form with the exception of adding a new credit card it doesn’t work. Nothing I do is working. Can anyone help me out? I’m on pins and needles here because I don’t want to lose any of my names.

    • SL

      Can’t address the unlock issue because it worked for me, but wanted to throw this out there:

      I was able to successfully transfer to GD a bunch of names that were a couple days past expiration (including .com/.net/.org/.info). It still took a full five days but it worked. May not be a surprise to some but it’s something I never tried before and assumed it wouldn’t work…

      Point being, even if they do go past expiration and that’s when you get the unlock+auth solved, give it a try since you have nothing to lose at that point. Or if you get it solved with time to spare, test a single transfer and see how it goes.

      Best of luck.

  28. tim

    I did finally get some of my names unlocked this afternoon, in case anyone else is having this problem just keep doing it over and over until it works. It took me several hours but I finally got them to stay unlocked. I found the authorization codes to be a major pain because they have to be done 1 by 1, does anyone know if it can be done in bulk?

    My only other concern at this point is that I haven’t received any kind of confirmation from Moniker for the transfers. Those of you that were able to successfully transfer names, can you please tell me what happened on Monikers end if anything after the transfer process was initiated at new registrar?


  29. Alex

    Hi, can anyone help me on how to renew a domain (just expired) at Moniker? A step by step guide would be great. I could not find a way to renew it. Thanks

  30. Jules Jules

    I tried calling customer support manager Marti Johnson and her voicemail said she is away until next week.

    If you had any questions about how this company is being run this should answer them. Support is nonexistent and the company is losing customers by the minute and the support manager is on an extended vacation. Unreal.

  31. Fred B

    unlocking domains even after trying for 10 hours is not working, ICANN complaint goes unanswered, this is just ridiculous

  32. SL

    I honestly think they’ve given up trying to fix this disaster.

    Over a month later and it’s still impossible to bulk change domains from autorenewal to delete after grace period. Check the list of domains, change the pulldown to delete-after-grace, hit submit, looks like it works in the jobs list. Except it doesn’t, going back to domain list shows them still as one-year autorenew.

    Then I needed to renew a particular cctld that is a day from expiration. So I (very reluctantly) put in my credit card info. Since there’s still no add-to-cart for renewals, I figured I’d try renew immediately. Did that…ok, now what? The invoice shows when they tried to renew it a few days ago. How do I get the credit card to apply to that invoice? There’s no indication in the transactions section. It’s probably in there somewhere yet here I sit wasting time trying to figure out how to use this clusterf*ck. Looks like I need to check my credit card transactions to see if it went through.

    Thankfully transfers out have been successful but it sucks to get hit with the entire annual renewal bill all at once. The old way was once a month evaluate the expiring domains and renew with a single transaction. Done.

    Bottom line is all this idiocy could have been avoided by simply letting customers select the domains to renew, add to cart and pay with the credit card on file. The mental giant who came up with this workflow deserves a special place in hell.

  33. SL

    Success! Looks like the renewal charge went through but I didn’t see the email. Why? Because it was buried in the middle of almost 400 other Moniker emails that were sent this morning, one for each of the autorenewal changes I tried to make (twice!). Of course none of those changes actually worked…

  34. Kevin

    Where is everyone migrating their domain names to?

    I am thinking about sending my Moniker domains names to my NameCheap account.

    Although NameCheap is an eNom reseller, I have had very good experience with them over the years?

    Any thoughts?

  35. Don Edmands

    I feel quite sure Moniker is doing all of this purposefully. I am gathering all my info now to show the extent in which they are trying to keep my domain names. I sure would hate to be “Bonnie” or “Marty”…. if I lose a domain name because of this! What they have attempted looks like pure fraud and I believe will shed true light on their attempts….stay tuned and get ready for a thrashing people! ! !

  36. john

    Am currently having DNS troubles with Moniker and looking for solutions when I found this page via Google. I’ve been a only slightly content with their changes anyway and am currently leaning towards fabulous. Just need to pull the trigger…

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