Domaining MBA Monday: Pick A Registrar You Can Trust

One of the most critical elements to running a Domaining business is your registrar. Okay, this may be downplaying the importance of a registrar, it probably is the most important element of your business. The registrar you pick impacts your business in many ways, including but not limited to:

  • The price you pay to register new domains
  • The price you pay to renew domains
  • Ease of transfer when you buy or sell a domain
  • The security of your domains

Looking at the above list it’s pretty easy to see why a registrar is so important. Unfortunately, many new Domainers pick the wrong registrar when they start which can lead to huge headaches later on. I know this from personal experience since I choose a terrible registrar when I started 1&1. Soon I realized that to change simple contact information on a few hundred domains had to be done manually taking an entire day to update something like a phone number. I also found the transfer process incredibly slow, which, coupled with terrible support, lost me a few of my first sales. So I learned my lesson and picked a better registrar and if you’re just getting started you need to make sure you are going with a registar you can trust.

Over the years I’ve used over 20 different registrars and through this experience I’ve narrowed it down to one which has been the best for me, and a few which you should avoid. Of course this list has changed over time as well since registrars change their interface, management team, support team, website, etc. Also I know that Domainers are very passionate about certain registrars so I’m sorry if I throw your favorite registrar under the bus, I am not being paid to write this post, this is based on my own experiences so I’m not here to make sponsors happy, I’m here to tell you what’s worked for me, and what hasn’t.

My top pick for registrars is Go Daddy, and here’s why.

  1. Security – this is #1 in my book since my domains are the main asset that my business has. Once you are a VIP with Go Daddy (more than a few hundred names) you can use their DTVS service. This is a bulletproof system that makes it impossible for anyone to ever steal a domain name from you, period. In order to transfer a domain from your account your account manager calls you on your personal phone and asks you to verify a secret key. Since my account manager also knows my voice this means that even if someone managed to steal my phone which is already highly unlikely, they still wouldn’t pass the voice test, and they wouldn’t know my secret key. There is no other registrar out there that I’ve seen offer this level of security.
  2. Support – I want to be able to call my registrar and get someone on the phone within a minute or two. Like most of you I am incredibly busy and waiting 10+ minutes on the phone won’t cut it. I have always been able to talk to a real person, here in the US, within 1 minute of calling Go Daddy every single time since I’ve used them. I used to be a fan of Name.com but after several times waiting on hold for over ten minutes to talk to someone I had to move my names from them over to Go Daddy. This is not a slam on Name.com, they are cool people and sound like a great company to work for and all awesome people to grab a beer with. The same goes for Moniker which I’ve unfortunately seen take a dive with quality of support as well.
  3. Ease of Transfer – if you want to sell domains to end users, use Go Daddy. About 99% of the end users I sell to have honestly not heard of any registrar except for Go Daddy and they most likely already have an account with them. The account push process is simple and quick. When you’re with another registrar you usually have to go through the entire auth code process which is very intimidating and confusing for end users. An account push is always the easiest but getting an end user to create a new account anywhere except for Go Daddy can be difficult.
  4. Pricing – Go Daddy has just about the lowest pricing on domain registrations and renewals so you can keep your costs as low as possible.

These are the top three reason that I use Go Daddy. As you can see from the banner ads on my blog Go Daddy is not a sponsor and I didn’t use an affiliate link above so I don’t make a dime if you decide to go with Go Daddy.

Now for the registrars that you should avoid like the plague:

  1. 1&1 – this is the worst registrar I have ever used, period. Their support is terrible, domain admin system incredibly limited, and they have one of the longest most confusing transfer processes on the planet. Avoid this registrar and if you already have some names with them, move them out!
  2. Network Solutions – these guys have made a fortune by over-charging for registrations and renewals while providing very little benefit in return.
  3. Melbourne IT – Melbourne IT is famous for having some of the slowest domain transfers on the planet. If there’s one way to scare the heck out of an end user it’s accepting their payment and then taking weeks until you transfer the domain.

As always I would love to hear from you. Share your favorite or least favorite registrar and help other Domainers find a registrar they can trust.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Jacob Fedosky July 30, 2012, 4:06 pm

    Morgan,

    I’ve been impressed with Name.com. At the moment, the only domain names I have there are ones that I bought and haven’t transferred out. However, I may move some there around the time of renewal.

    I’m not sure what it is. I like their platform, but I also like their staff. They seem very attentive.

    Either way, I’d like to hear your thoughts.

    Jacob

  • J S July 30, 2012, 6:22 pm

    This is why I stick with GoDaddy despite the fact I REALLY dislike their privacy options/costs. When I do want privacy on a domain I use namecheap. GoDaddy support ROCKS in my opinion, I have never had anything except a “WOW” experience when speaking with an AM or support. Namecheap on the other hand, bless their souls, they try hard but the people on the support end are learning and I have been asked to do some really fundamental silly troubleshooting steps. GoDaddy Support = Problem resolved in 5 minutes and thanked for the business. Leaves me warm and fuzzy, and to a company’s bottom line, that’s worth everything.

  • Trey July 30, 2012, 10:44 pm

    Boy if I was Epik I’d pull my ad
    Be careful putting all your eggs in one basket
    Remember what Moniker was before acquisition just what you are describing about goDaddy

  • Aussie Domainer July 30, 2012, 10:50 pm

    Thanks for that info. One good thing about GoDaddy is that there are always coupons flying around, so if you need a discount on anything you can usually find one.

    My only other experience with domain buying would be when I first started, buying them for a pre-made website on a blogging platform or a web page creation platform.. Sometimes it’s much harder to break free and send your domain name to another host. With GoDaddy it’s pretty straight forward.

  • Morgan July 30, 2012, 11:14 pm

    @Trey – hehe, as you probably know by now I speak my mind 🙂 Moniker was awesome, however they aren’t any more, that’s just me being completely honest. I still know some great people over there but that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t use them as my registrar any more.

    @AussieDomainer – very true, when ti comes to transferring domains in, Go Daddy does a great job as well.

  • Zhao Liu July 31, 2012, 12:13 am

    Well, Morgan, maybe you are right, but I still prefer NetworkSolutions, and I just trust them.

    NetworkSolutions is excellent, except for the price. However, as they are the original registrar, so even nowadays, most of Top domain names are still at NetworkSolutions. Compared with the value of these top domain names in secondary marketplaces, $34.99 a year reg/renew fee at NetworkSolutions is just almost nothing. And since mostly I do business with these Top domains holders, so for me, domain account push process is simple and quick if I am at Networksolutions, too.

  • Steve July 31, 2012, 7:02 am

    I like Name.com. They have IP based protection so you can put in an IP or two and only those can login. They have OTP authentication as well if the IP protection won’t work for you (dynamic IP) or you want to get extremely secure.

    Support is rock solid too.

  • Morgan July 31, 2012, 9:36 am

    @Zhao – if you have 1,000 domains at Network Solutions that is $34,999/year, if you have 1,000 at Go Daddy it is $9,000/year. That is a $25,999 difference for only 1,000 domains. If you have 4,000 domains that is over $100,000/year more in reg fees…so it’s hard to say this is almost nothing.

    @Steve – IP addresses can be spoofed and good hackers know how to do it. There’s no way to spoof someone’s voice on their phone and it’s hard to get your hands on someone’s phone in the first place. I think Go Daddy’s DTVS is still much more secure although IP based protection is definitely better than most. Their support is awesome and they have a great team, I just can’t wait 10 minutes to get a question answered.