Domain Registration Survey «

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I’ve had all my domains registered at for a few years – great price, decent control panel, and competent support. Last week I went to renew some domains and found that Name has quietly doubled their prices by charging for the whois privacy protection that used to be free.

Name didn’t warn any customers this was coming and didn’t email customers about it, which is funny because they’ll send a half-dozen warnings if a single domain name nears the end of its registration. They know very well the effectiveness of sending emails, so instead they made a brief blog post (who knew they even had a blog?) to announce the price hike as quietly as possible. The post doesn’t mention the new price is $8/year (laughably saying “While some registrars charge as much as eight or nine dollars per domain for this service”) and falsely claims pre-existing domains will continue to receive free privacy protection (the control panel shows that this will expire when the domain is up for reregistration). Unsurprisingly, the comments have filled up with comments from angry, shocked customers and Name is only responding to the few people who had billing problems with the related pricing promotions.

I’ve got around a hundred domains registered, mostly because I handle domain registrations whenever I give a friend hosting. It’s worth the $800 per year to take a few minutes this morning to survey competitors and maybe get better customer service (besides this unpleasant surprise, I’ve never seen Name respond to a support request in less than 36h).

In the table below, domain cost is the highest cost I could find on the site for a .com, I’m not interested in dancing around promotions and “restrictions may apply” loss leaders. The “upselling” column is whether I was disgusted or confused by the amount of upselling of related domains and products during the registration process. Survey was taken on 2010-05-03 and prices ending in .95 or .99 were rounded up.

Registrar 1yr .com Privacy Upselling Total/yr
1&1 $9 $0 ugh $9
DirectNIC $15 $5 $20 (Dotster?) $10 $7 ugh $17
DomainMonger $17 n/a n/a
Dotster $16 $7 ugh $23
DynDNS $15 $10 $25
Enom $6 $6 ugh $12
Gandi $15 $0 $15
Moniker $8 $4 ugh $12
NameCheap $9.69 $2.88 $12.57 $9 $8 $17
NearlyFreeSpeech $8.59 $3.65 $12.24
NetworkSolutions $35 $9 ugh $44
PairNIC $19 $0 $19 $35 $11 ugh $46
Yahoo! Domains $10 $9 $19

I didn’t include Fabulous because it has great prices but is primarily (only?) for domain parking and requires customers to have >750 domains. I didn’t include GoDaddy because I don’t like their support of torture and their habit of deactivating/deleting/holding hostage domains in response to any outside complaints.

If you’re not familiar with domain names, they’re a perfect commodity. Except for customer support issues (easy bulk management, quick responses to questions, downtime), every .com domain is exactly the same and costs the company the same $6.86 to register with Verisign, the .com registry.

Anyone have a registrar I should add to the list? Any stories, good or bad, about managing a lot of domains at any of these?