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The RegisterFly Train Wreck

Posted by Melanie Phung on Friday, March 23, 2007 at 8:01 pm

When I first read about ICANN revoking a registrar’s accreditation, it didn’t really make an impression on me; it’s not until I read the latest StepForth article that I realized how big this story was.

Forget optimizing your site if you can’t even access it. It seems like a complete deterioration in service on the part of a company called RegisterFly meant that customers’ domains were, in effect, being held hostage.

Stepforth quotes a Business Week article:

This has been a travesty. The transfer system was designed to work between two trusted registrars and completely breaks down when one has gone bad. RegisterFly has held customers hostage by not providing the “auth codes,” by arbitrarily locking domain names, by changing the “Whois” info, and by arbitrarily putting your domain into “ProtectFly”, their service to protect your identity but also keeps you from transferring your name.

We have lost domains and, more importantly, production Web sites have just gone dead, heading to a RegisterFly parking page instead. Try explaining this to customers depending on these sites for their business. RegisterFly’s debacle has ruined businesses and lives. And this could have all been avoided with a better process in place and more in-depth criteria for accreditation. This process must be improved before the Internet can truly be used for mission-critical applications.

The small-business owners who are being affected by the RegisterFly debacle have my sincere sympathy. Read the Stepforth article (or the original WebmasterWorld post if you have a login) for some tips on protecting your domains.

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