I jumped through a lot of hoops to get the domains I acquired.
Last month I started buying domain names on SnapNames after a long hiatus. I purchased 20 domains over 30 days, taking advantage of SnapNames’ access to expiring Network Solutions and Register.com inventory. I’ve had to jump through a lot of hoops to get control of the domains I acquired.
I blame buggy systems for the majority of the issues. SnapNames makes GoDaddy Auctions look like the latter is built on pristine, modern code.
Let’s start with the weirdest issue that causes the most pain. SnapNames creates a lot of new registrar accounts to put your domains in. In my case, it has split the 20 domains into five accounts.
Each time SnapNames creates an account, you have to do a “forgot password” process to get control of the account. Then, unless you want to manage lots of logins, you have to merge the accounts. It’s a fairly simple process once you figure out how to do it (Network Solutions’ own instructions are incorrect).
Merging works most of the time. But in one case, I got this cryptic error message:
After 30 minutes with Network Solutions support and an escalation to the “back office,” I learned that you could not merge accounts that have .IO domains in them. I have no idea why, but an error message that states, “You can’t merge accounts with .IO domains in them,” would have saved me and Network Solutions a lot of time. Network Solutions told me I could transfer the domains individually into my other account, except that Network Solutions puts a 60-day lock on new registrations even for internal transfers.
I ran into another issue with some accounts. I tried to do a password reset when I got the usernames from SnapNames, but I didn’t get the reset email. I tried it multiple times over multiple days. Then, looking closely at the obscured email address Network Solutions said it was sending the reset emails to, I noticed it had a different number of characters than my email address.
Somehow, Network Solutions managed to change my email address. It dropped the plus sign from the email address I use (more on that later) and created Network Solutions accounts using the incorrect email address.
When I asked SnapNames how to fix this, they told me to talk to Network Solutions. Network Solutions told me I needed to send in a copy of a photo ID, a utility bill, and a notarized letter to get control of the accounts.
I can appreciate Network Solutions improving its security measures given the number of thefts it faces. But at this point, I’m talking about spending even more time going to a notary (during the pandemic!). I was also worried because the Gmail address Network Solutions used to create these accounts didn’t exist. If someone sent an email to the email address in Whois and got a bounceback message, they could register the Gmail address and get control of the domains.
So I registered a brand new Gmail address that matched the bad address SnapNames used. Now I have access to all of my domains. Yay!
(I went back in forth with SnapNames support about not receiving a domain at Moniker I was owed, too. It turns out it was due to the incorrect email address.)
Web.com’s trouble ticket systems are also broken, leading to headaches resolving these issues.
The first ticket I submitted to Network Solutions went through just fine. Subsequent tickets disappeared when I submitted them.
After working for a while, SnapNames’ support kept giving me a security error. Monday, when I checked if it was fixed, clicking the support ticket link on the Contact Us page just forwarded to the Contact Us page, sending me in an endless loop. I tried it in Chrome and Firefox.
Add in other weird things, like the Order History page telling me I was the winner of auctions I didn’t win…
And you’re left with a decrepit system.
It’s important to keep track of your wins to make sure you get your domains. And plan on spending time to get your domains. All told, I probably spent over 10 hours just getting control of the domains I already paid for.
Web.com leaves thousands of dollars a day on the table with old bidding apps that don’t properly send alerts and customers who aren’t willing to put up with the headaches necessary to get control of domains they win.
I hope that Web.com, under its new Newfold Digital umbrella, will create a new expired domain system that replaces SnapNames and NameJet. It’s time for something new, built from the bottom up.