If you think choosing commodity services such as domain names, webhosting, email service providers is a matter of choosing the best prices and features, you could not be more wrong. A recent experiences has shown just how much the support factor matters when it comes to your online business.
I have a fairly extensive portfolio of domain names, some of which I use for my websites, with the majority of domains kept in storage till I’ve time to develop them.
This past week, I got a message from one of my domain registrars GoDaddy that one of my domains had expired. Since it’s a pretty high value (though unused) domain related to the dietary supplements niche, I decided to renew it.
At the domain renewal screen, I see:
So in addition to the $10.89 renewal fee for a year, GoDaddy wants to charge a “Registry Redemption Fee”.
This “redemption fee” is going to cost me $90.
I have to pay the equivalent of 9 year’s registration to get my domain back?
And it’s not likely that GoDaddy will budge on their policy.
I like GoDaddy’s support of female race driver Danica Patrick. I sometimes even like their irreverent (and in my opinion irrelevant) Superbowl TV spots.
What I don’t like is their attitude towards customers. A pretty much unending stream of upsells after you’ve bought your domain, including trying to hock SSL security certificates for your domain (even though 90% of webmasters probably don’t need them).
I’m still pretty upset about some “Website Tonight” website building software GoDaddy sold me a couple of years ago, which generated run-of-the-mill generic HTML websites using some pretty ugly looking templates. The best thing about this software was that you had to pay an annual renewal/license fee, failing which you would not be able to update your website. (Thank goodness I discovered WordPress a short while later).
Much as I would have liked to regain that domain, I decided to cut my losses and move on.
So imagine my blood pressure increase a day later, when I got notice from another domain registrar NameCheap that one of my domains had expired.
“Oh no, not the same routine again” I thought.
With a sense of dread of I logged into NameCheap’s interface, expecting to pay another crazy “registry redemption fee”.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that my lapsed domain had been given a 27 day grace period, and I could renew it at regular renewal prices (together with a renewal discount code!). This policy is also mentioned clearly in it’s support database.
In addition, I got an email from a NameCheap rep about an hour after filing a support ticket.
NameCheap: Way to go!
Tony Hsieh, CEO of shoe retailer Zappos, talks about “customer love”, where Zappos customer support reps will go out of their way, including calling a competitor to find out about footwear availability if Zappos does not stock a particular model, and giving this information to the customer.
In a highly competitive niche, it’s measures like these create lifetime customers.
So back to the domain registration experience: In both cases, I admit it’s my fault that I chose to let the domain expire, rather than check registration lifetimes at the start of each month.
In the case of NameCheap, it truly is my fault, as they proactively send you periodic reminders at the 30-day, 14-day, 7-day, 3-day and 1-day intervals before domain expiry to see if you’d like to renew the domain registration.
Aside from gentle notifications about web hosting and SSL certs, NameCheap doesn’t force you to go through numerous pages of “upgrade” options like GoDaddy does.
In short, NameCheap has created a great customer experience and is one of the reasons why I continue to promote them, even in the absence of an affiliate program.
In the case of GoDaddy, even though they have an affiliate program listed on CJ, I’m hesitant to recommend them to anyone else, even as I’m transferring all my remaining domains out of there as fast as is humanly possible.
So GoDaddy, you’ve certainly succeeded in winning enemies and irritating people. You might want to instead want to take a page out of Dale Carnegie’s book on “How to Win Friends and Influence People” instead.
Want a domain? Go direct to Namecheap with my highest recommendations.