Dealing with Domain Names Means Pain and Suffering

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I’ve been in the web design/development business now since the mid-90’s either as a freelancer or as a full-time developer and there is nothing more frustrating than dealing with the process of a domain name transfer…

For those who don’t know how the process works, domain names must be registered through a domain name registrar. Companies like Network Solutions, Register.com and GoDaddy.com are examples. You register your name with them which means essentially leasing the name for X number of years. Decent, inexpensive services charge anywhere from 8 to 12 dollars per year.

Once the name is registered, you have access to it through an online user interface – username, password, etc. You also have secondary access if you lose that information through whatever email you used when registering.

Now, here’s the problem. If you don’t have access to the email you used to register the name AND you don’t know the username and password, what do you do?

Most companies make you go through a contorted, complicated process of faxing a copy of your driver’s license to them. If it is registered under a company name, you often have to send the fax on company letterhead. But, even that isn’t easy. If the name on the registration and the drivers license don’t match, what to do?

Whenever my company gets a new client with an existing domain name, we ask for the username and password information so we can point the domain name at our servers. Whenever I hear, “Uh, I don’t have that,” my next question is, “Do you still have access to the email address you used when registering the name?” I’ll usually have to look this up for them.

If the response is, “No,” I usually think, “Well, shit,” because I know the pain and agony that awaits me trying to get access to the domain at this point.

What I have to wonder is if there is some other way this could be accomplished. If we have to go through this process with at least one third of our clients (maybe more), I have to figure that registrars like Network Solutions are inundated with similar requests on a daily basis.

The whole thing is a giant pain in the ass, plain and simple.

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