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I've sent in an e-mail to email@example.com as instructed by the domain registrar. They say it will take up to 72 hours to have the hold removed. Anyone else have any experience with this?
I'm changing registrars.
FYI, all registrars must ensure all domains registered with them must have complete and accurate WHOIS details. This is one of their agreements with ICANN.
If they receive a report from either ICANN or a 3rd party that a domain's WHOIS details aren't updated, the registrar will use all available resources to notify the domain's registrant and contacts. If no one responds, the registrar will shut down the domain to hopefully get their attention.
And it worked, in this case. Just do what the registrar said and they'll restore access to the domain soon.
Unfortunately it doesn't matter what registrar you use. All will send periodic notices to their customers reminding them to ensure their domains' WHOIS details are updated.
Your client is actually lucky. One registrar I know will charge $9.95 if the domains' details aren't completely updated on time, and all registrar will eventually delete the domain if no one responds despite the website being shut down.
If you're looking for someone to blame, blame the higher authority who's forced this on the registrars. Or even your client who didn't proactively update his/her domain on time, although it's understandable if s/he didn't know this thing anyway.
That being said, they have also charged us $23.99 for an invalid whois. So now they have a revenue stream when they try and contact a registrant but get no responses.
I understand the ICANN requirements but this registrar is using this as an opportunity to extract more money out of its customers. Their process has gotten in the way of attempting to take care of its customers.
The new registrar is someone I've actually met and talked to and they speak at the SES and WebmasterWorld conferences and exhibit there. I was able to pick up the phone, talk to someone I had met, and I feel reasonably sure that if this happens in the future, I won't be in this situation in the future.
They have my business now.