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Personally, I like domains.yahoo.com because of their integrity and their DNS control panel, but I know these same features are available elsewhere for less than the $35/year Yahoo! charges and Yahoo! customer service is virtually non-existent. So, I'm shopping for a one-stop registrar that has an optimum mix of everything I need--affordability, features, reputation, integrity, reliability, and customer service. ...or I would at least like to know who are the best at each of those virtues. I must say, I have not been impressed by Network Solutions, or "Network Problems" as I like to call them.
In my experience the most valuable attributes are 1) customer service; 2) efficient user interface; 3) security; 4) ease of transfer process; and 5) price.
If you control >100 domains, or less in some cases, price is negotiable.
If you hold only a few domains then it matters very little who you choose so long as they have a good UI and a secure transfer away process.
After a lot of experience I'm in the process of moving my collection to Moniker for reasons such as price, support, UI, security and did I say support? Like being able to get an intelligent person on the phone? Any registrar that wants to attract a better clientele needs to invest (compensate and treat well) its support staff. I can tell from years of experience that most registrars trreat their support staff like disposable goods. It's been a breath of fresh air to get adult level responses from Moniker, who, by the way, were adult enough to sponsor PubConf. (No I don't get a toaster or freebies for the post. What I get is to share years of experience for the benefit of anyone savvy enough to pick up on that fact.)
In my book the most valuable attribute is customer service and security if you hold more than a few domains. Like I said, price is negotiable as the number of domains go up. Customer server and security is not negotiable. Only the best will do for holders of larger collections.
First things first: of those registrars I've seen, there is not a single sector of the web in any category of site that is denoted by such slipshod, impossible to use, poorly maintained -- just plain poor programming - site design.
Of those 30, I have not found a one that I would recommend over another one. When I think of registrars, I think of the difference between a sharp stick in the eye and a dull stick in the eye.
In that scenario, the only thing to do is go for price.
The only time you should ever need a customer service at a domain reseller is if they screw up. I can't ever recall talking to cservice except to correct their problem.
Lastly, for those just reading this thread, please remember that most major registrars have "forum recon" people and affiliattes that monitor and participate in discussions and that any recommendations should not be taken with any more than a sales brochure.
So, before any more affiliates show up to pump their fav registrar, lets call it a thread and move on.
The only time you should ever need a customer service at a domain reseller is if they screw up.
Gee, I guess people registering or transferrring domains never err or get confused?
Some sites allow you to pull EPP codes from the UI for transferrring .org or .info domains. Some, you have to ask them, but guess what? They don't tell you how or where or why. Send 'em an email and hope they reply.
Some call them EPP codes. Some call the transfer codes. Some call them blah, blah, blah.
Some have systems that have domain locks that are less visible than others. Call them and wait on the phone for 15 minutes for explanation about how to unlock them. Poor UI? Yep. Poor system? Yep. I just had one major player tell me that due to the age of a domain they would have to probe into their system to determine how it was locked and unlock it at the command line.
Ever have a domain walk away? Just had that experience with Register.com. No one could quite explain how it happened. There were irregularities it seems. No confirmations.
I just transferred away a domain from one registrar without ever getting a confirmation email of any kind. I just signed a handwritten fax provided by a buyer. No notary. Nothing. Scary. Won't mention which one. All my domains have since been moved away.
The list goes on.
There's plenty of variation in my experience. One of the most distinguishing has been customer service. Brett, you've been around long enough to remember NetworkSolutions circa 1999 - 2001. I remember waiting 40 minutes on hold to speak with someone who often had no clue. There a still companies that act as registrars that handle everything by email or online forms. Try getting someone on the phone.
>In that scenario, the only thing to do is go for price.
This is one of the odd things I've noticed about domain name registrars. Imagine that I am eating lunch with a guy who is the owner of a quite profitable e-commerce website. This guy comments that because his domain is so important to his business, he asks me to recommend the absolute best domain name registrar. He even comments that price really isn't an object to him. He'd happily pay $100 or more a year for a registrar that had a spotless reputation, including as part of the service a 24/7 telephone support staff that really knew their stuff, and could make sure if there was any hitch, it'd get fixed pronto.
I don't know of a registrar that I could recommend that I feel meets those qualifications. There's no "Mercedes-Benz of domain name regsitrars" I know of.