Domain Auctions can be Annoying and Frustrating

domain auctions

Lately I've been trying to participate and learn the various rules of domain auctions across different sales platforms and domain registrars.  Mostly I've been sticking to the major auction houses and registrars that run their own auctioning services.  While it can be interesting to see what gets dropped more often than not I am finding that searching through and participating in domain auctions for quality dropped domain names can be quite an annoying and frustrating experience.

First off even if you read through the rules of domain auction services and try to understand their Terms of Service and guidelines before bidding, I am always finding there are little caveats or rules that are missed.  This can really hurt you when bidding and trying to acquire a domain you really want or have a use for.  I could list a lot of examples but honestly this post would be get a little long.  Anyone who is experienced with in domain auctions knows exactly what I am talking about though.  From what I've read on the domain forums and experienced myself it's hard to know every situation until you've gone through it yourself.  Hey, you learn from your mistakes.

Another thing that kills me is when you are a high or only bidder in a domain in auction and you assume you will get it.  When only a few hours before the auctions ends, boom, it disappears.  What happened?  The original registrant of the domain decided to renew it.  This is great if you forgot to renew your domain and it was an oversight but not so great if you thought you were going to get the domain.  I guess that's why ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) decided to implement Renewal Grace Periods.  I agree with the ICANN policies but it's soooo annoying when it happens.  I have had several quality domains I thought I was going to get for a great price when the original registrant renewed it.

For domainers and web entrepreneurs out there, have you ever been annoyed when participating in domain auctions?  Have you had similar experiences as me?

NameSilo Review: Clear Pricing, Simple Interface, and Easy Domain Management

I've been using a new domain name registrar, NameSilo, for awhile now so I thought I would write up a NameSilo Review if anyone is considering buying or transferring domains to them.  This NameSilo Review is going to be as complete and detailed as possibly and you won't find any better review than what you are about to read, I guarantee it! 🙂

Just as a disclaimer I have included affiliate links in this review.  This means I get a commission if you click through to one of these links and buy or transfer a domain with NameSilo.  However nobody can “buy” my opinion on this blog and this review reflects my honest opinions about NameSilo and their service as a domain name registrar.  

NameSilo Review

namesilo

NameSilo is a relatively new domain name registrar that has been in business since 2009.  This small, but fast growing registrar, has gained a lot of new customers mainly by word-of-mouth via online forums and by not using pleasant tactics other domain registrars use.  What does that mean?  Hard upsells, a confusing checkout process, different prices on domain registration and renewals, selling web hosting, charging for Whois privacy, etc.  NameSilo's mission is to make domain registration and management as easy as possible and they do good job.

NameSilo User Interface

NameSilo has one of the easiest domain management and user interfaces of any domain registrar I have used or seen.  Changing nameservers, renewing and paying for names, transferring domains to NameSIlo, transferring out, turning privacy on or off, etc. is all easy and painless thanks to the intuitive user interface.  Buttons are big, clearly marked, and easy-to-understand.  Check out my awesome screenshot!

namesiloLike any UI it will take some getting used to but I think most people should be able to navigate NameSilo's Domain Manager dashboard quickly.

I see a lot of people say NameSilo has the best user interface of any domain registrar out there, but I'm unsure.  I definitely prefer it over NameCheap‘s UI which I always have found confusing and I think the text is too small.  (GoDaddy… don't even ask as most people will tell you they hate it, including me.)

Overall it's hard to beat NameSilo's easy-to-use UI and the way they clearly present everything in their backend.

namesilo review

Domain Search and Registering

domain searchSearching and registering domain names with NameSilo is a straightforward and easy process.  Like I said above, the user interface is simple and easy-to-understand.  NameSilo makes purchasing domain names as hassle free as can be.

namesilo shopping cart I do have some complaints about searching and registering domains with NameSilo though.  When searching for domains it automatically selects .CO as well as .COM for some reason.  I understand they want to make more money on .CO registrations (since they charge $22.49 for per year) but who really needs a .CO if you can get the .COM?  Honestly I would prefer a .NET or .ORG but that is my personal preference and opinion.  I know the tech community and startups love .CO domains and .IO domains these days, but really?  (NameSilo doesn't support .IO in case you were wondering.  Probably a good thing as .IO domains lost me money.)

In addition NameSilo's shopping cart defaults to a 2-year registration period for domains instead of 1 year.  This is something that you usually see from other registrars and I honestly don't like it.

UPDATE: NameSilo seems to have changed the registration process for domains.  It no longer automatically selects .CO domains and the default is to only have the .COM selected.  I imagine other NameSilo customers had similar complaints, and they might have read this review, which is why they changed the domain search defaults.

bulk domain searchNameSilo's bulk domain search is straightforward as well.  One nice thing is that you can upload a TXT file of domains names that you want to search availability on.  Useful if you are looking for a large list of domains.  You can search up to 500 domain names at a time using NameSilo's bulk search.  The domain bulk search works fine but it can be a bit cubersome and clunky to use.  It benefit from having a separate landing page and larger menu and input field to work with.

NameSilo also offers the ability to buy premium domain names (domains owned by someone else) through them if you wish.  I doubt many people are interested in that though since most probably flock to NameSilo due to their low pricing.

NameSilo Domain Transfers

Domain transfers in and out of NameSilo are pretty straightforward and easy.  I've only had trouble transferring domains in from 1and1 (which is a domain registrar you shouldn't use.)  Just make sure you have the correct EPP or authorization code and have unlocked the domain name from the losing registrar if you are going to be transferring to NameSilo.

A great feature that NameSilo offers for transferring domain name to an outgoing registrar is that you can approve a transfer in their backend without waiting.  Typically it can take 5-10 days for a domain transfer to go through.  This means with NameSilo you just need to retrieve the authorization code via email and once that is approved by NameSilo, you can go to the “Transfer Manager” in your account and approve the transfer immediately.  The only other domain name registrar I have seen offer outbound domain transfer approvals in their backend is GoDaddy.

NameSilo DNS Propagation & Management

NameSilo's DNS propagation is pretty snappy.  The usual amount of time I've waited for nameservers to update and see it on my end is 10-20 minutes.  NameSilo says nameserver updates on their end are updated immediately, of course that doesn't matter unless the update gets to you quickly.  Keep in mind DNS updates around the world can take up to 48 hours to propagate.  Today I had to wait a few hours for a domains nameservers to change.

In addition managing DNS with NameSilo is quite easy and they don't cut corners when it comes to DNS management.  This registrar offers a full range of DNS services which allows you to change CNAME, MX, and A records.

manage dnsAlso NameSilo makes it easy to apply templates with domains for using different services such as Blogger, Google Apps, Squarespace, Weebly, Yola, Zenfolio, Tumblr, and SmugMug.  This is a nice feature if you are someone who is buying a domain name to use with an 3rd party web hosting service.  (Of course I don't recommend doing this and tell people it's better to buy web hosting with a company like Site5.)  If you are not comfortable with making DNS changes to your domain, this should help you set it up somewhat easily.

dns templates

NameSilo Pricing

NameSilo's claims to have “The Cheapest Domains on the Internet” as well as the “Cheapest Everyday Prices on the Web.”  While this sounds like a lofty claim and marketing ploy, as far as I can tell this seems to be accurate.  If you exclude coupons that other larger domain registrars offer, like NameCheap or GoDaddy, the everyday pricing is extremely competitive and the price you see is the price you pay.

NameSilo does not charge the $18 cent Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) fee on domains and they do not charge for Whois privacy. That is included in the price when purchase domains.  NameCheap, Godaddy and a lot of other registrars tack on these fees when you are checking out.

Here are all the domains that NameSilo currently supports and their pricing.  Prices are for registration and renewal.

  • COM – $8.99
  • NET – $8.09
  • ORG – $9.19
  • INFO – $9.59
  • BIZ – $9.99
  • CO – $22.49
  • MOBI – $7.89
  • ME – $16.99

These prices are for regular NameSilo pricing if you are ordering under 49 domain names.  (Sounds like a lot but some people own thousands of domains.)  They have bulk discounts as well as the NameSilo Discount Program.  This allows you to save 10 cents off per domain name if your prefund your NameSilo account and pay that way.  I am not sure what the advantage is for NameSilo but I assume they make money on holding money, like a bank.  If you don't want to prefund your NameSilo account you can pay with a credit card with Visa, MasterCard, AmericanExpress, and Discover.  Online payment solutions include PayPal, Skrill (formerly MoneyBookers), and Payza if you prefer.

UPDATE: NameSilo now accepts Google Wallet, Bitcoin, and Dwolla for payment.

Transfer pricing is reasonable too;

  • COM – $8.39
  • NET – $7.89
  • ORG – $8.99
  • INFO – $9.19
  • BIZ – $9.79
  • CO – $22.49
  • MOBI – $13.99
  • ME – $15.99

If you want to save $1 off on registration or transfers use the coupon codes – NAMESILO27 or SAVEDOLLAR1.  (FYI these are my codes.)

Only comparable pricing that matches NameSilo from what I've seen is Internet.bs (no, not that BS but .BS is the country code top level domain name for the Bahamas.) which has free Whois privacy and doesn't charge an ICANN fee as well.  There is also Resell.biz but you would need to setup to be a domain reseller with them.  Still with Resell.biz's pricing structure you would only need to spend $500 over the lifetime of your account to get their bulk pricing which is extremely competitive.  A lot of people use them since it's easy to spend over $500 on renewing domains.  In addition DynaDot's bulk pricing is on par with NameSilo's bulk pricing, but DynaDot at the time of this writing does not offer free Whois privacy.  I heard DynaDot was considering changing this though.

No matter how you cut it NameSilo pricing is hard to beat and they seem to be picking up a lot of business because of it.

*All pricing was accurate at the time this post was written.  

NameSilo Support

NameSilo support is decent and fast to respond mostly any time during the day.  Response time on weekends is even pretty good.  NameSilo support is usually pretty helpful about answering questions but sometimes I have found that support is a bit snobbish since often they just link to their knowledgeable base without a clear explanation.

NameSilo offers email and chat support, but there is no phone support.  With domain names I don't anticipate that you will need tons of support or have a lots of questions, unlike web hosting, but you never know.

Final Thoughts about NameSilo

In addition to what I've already mentioned I have had a few issues with NameSilo.  They advertise “Free Domain Parking” which you use with Google Adsense.  I am unsure if it is allowed to use a Google Adsense account on parked domains though.  Google shutdown their domain parking program a few years, even though the company makes money with agreements with domain parking companies.

If you are going to use their domain parking option with Google Adsense it might be a good idea to setup an LLC.

Another thing which bothered me was I recommended a family member move some domains from another registrar to NameSilo. He used my affiliate link to make the transfer but I didn't use my coupon code, but a bulk transfer code they were offering at the time.  I noticed I didn't get an affiliate commission, which made me feel jibbed.  I asked about it and they said it was because it was a bulk transfer and he didn't use one my my coupon codes.  I won't cry about it but it was annoying.

For those of you interested in an easy-to-use straightforward domain pricing and free Whois privacy, NameSilo is definitely a good option.  They have a lot of great features and don't cut corners even with their low pricing.

I am personally hesitant to keep my important and key domains with them as they are a new domain registrar though.   I will use them for keeping domains I have development plans for, but don't want to spend too much money renewing ever year.  That's why NameSilo is a good name I guess.

NameSilo also doesn't fill all my domain needs as I own a handful of .US domains.  At this time NameSilo does not support ccTLDs (country code top level domains) except for .ME and .CO currently.  I imagine this isn't a big deal for most people though.

It's kind of hard for me to believe that NameSilo can continue with their pricing strategy without moving into other markets or jacking up prices.  A lot of domain registrars slowly have price increases and start charging for Whois privacy and taking on ICANN fees as they grow larger.

NameSilo did introduce domain auctions for expiring domains a few months ago.  According to RegistrarOwl, which is run by NameSilo, they have about 108,000 domains under management.  That means that on any given day there are not going to be too many deleting domain gems dropping under their control.  As they grow, this will likely change and I assume bring in more revenue for NameSilo.

Some might not remember this but GoDaddy got big by undercutting the competition in price back when they were first getting started.  Now their coupon pricing might be good, but their service isn't all that great.  Since NameSilo is using the same strategy, despite my reservations, I really have no doubt in my mind that in a few years NameSilo could become a major player in the domain industry.  That is if… they are not bought out and stick to their original business goals.

It is quite possible that NameSilo could get gobbled up by a big domain registrar in the domain industry since I am pretty sure execs at GoDaddy, Demand Media, Name Media, etc. will see this little domain registrar slowly increasing their market share as threat.  They could very well buy them out at some point.

My hope though is that NameSilo sticks to their original mission of providing no-headaches and ho-hassles when it comes to domain registration and management.  No web hosting, SEO products, etc. which I won't buy from a domain registrar anyway.

Bottom line is that NameSilo is good if you have 1 or 1000's of domain names.

If you use NameSilo and think I've missed something in this NameSilo Review please leave a comment below.  If you have any questions about NameSilo let me know below and I will answer them to the best of my knowledge.

Just as a reminder you can save $1 off on registration or transfers with these NameSilo coupon codes – NAMESILO27 or SAVEDOLLAR1.  These NameSilo coupon codes will work for most domain registrations and domain transfers with NameSilo.  Each code can be redeemed once per person per account.

Again I've included affiliate links in this review but that does not change my opinion.  If you received value and insight from this NameSilo review I appreciate any help so that I can continue to write informative and honest reviews on this blog. 

NameCheap Review: a Good Domain Registrar

As domain names are becoming something more and more people are buying since everyone wants to start a website or blog, NameCheap has been there to pick up a lot of domain business over the last couple years offering decent customer service, fair pricing, lots of coupons, and taken stands against SOPA.

NameCheap Review

Here is my NameCheap Review using NameCheap as a domain name registrar.  Hopefully you will find this NameCheap Review useful if you are thinking of registering or transferring any domains to NameCheap.

Disclaimer: I have included affiliate links in this NameCheap Review. However nobody can “buy” my opinions on this blog and this review reflects my honest opinions about NameCheap and their service as a domain name registrar.  If you find this review valuable I'd appreciate it if you considered using these affiliate links as keeping this blog up takes time, effort, and money.

namecheap review

User Interface

I have seen a lot of people on the large admin, webmaster, and hosting forums say they really like the NameCheap user interface and backend for managing domainnames.  Honestly, I am not a big fan of the NameCheap user interface.  I think the typeface is a little too small for my liking and it's not like I am an old person.  (At least I hope not.)  I am a guy in my 20's but font that is too small nobody likes.  Isn't that web design 101?  Usually what I deal with this by hitting [CTRL +] a few times to zoom in.

Additionally the user interface takes getting used too and it does not have the most intuitive layout in my opinion.  If I haven't used the made nameserver changes or been in NameCheaps backend in awhile I tend to comeback and be a little lost on what is going on.  I am used to it now though and don't think about it too much.

Fortunately NameCheap does have good Youtube tutorial videos in their support section showing how to manage and complete tasks in the backend.  The videos have good documentation as well in their knowledgeable base and you can ask questions using Disqus.  I think this is a smart idea and probably one of the reasons people confuse think NamCheap has a good user interface.

Buying Domains

Buying domains through NameCheap is pretty easy and fast.  You can easily lookup and register a domain name and transferring into NameCheap is fairly straightforward.  (If you know how to transfer domains from domain name registrars.)  They don't go for too many upsells but you will see them.

The shopping cart is easily laid out and one nice feature is that you can “Save” a domain.  This keeps the domain in your shopping cart but doesn't mean you are purchasing it right then.  Later you can come back and move any domains in the “Saved” section into the shopping car to buy.

DNS Propagation

DNS propagation I have found for NameCheap usually takes around 30 minutes.  Sometimes your nameservers can update faster and I have had it happen in about 5-7 minutes.  However, I wouldn't necessarily bet that it will only take 5 minutes.  The 30 minute timeframe is what I have found to be an average time for nameservers to propagate.

NameCheap does allow you to do Bulk DNS updates which is convenient if you are switching hosts or moving to a different domain parking company.  Making bulk DNS updates is easy as you select the domains you want to update and click “Edit Selected” in the backend and put in your new nameservers.

Domain Pricing

NameCheap‘s pricing is quite confusing but I am going to try to break it down into simple and an easy-to-understand explanation.

COM – Domain Registration $10.69 (includes Free Whois privacy) – Domain Renewal $10.69 (does not include free privacy)

With Coupons – Registration/Renewal – $9.61 a year

NET/ORG – Domain Registration $11.48 (includes Free Whois privacy) – Domain Renewal $11.48 (does not include free privacy)

With Coupons – Domain Registration/Renewal – $10.16 a year

NameCheap releases monthly coupons every month which they encourage customers to use when buying, transferring, or renewing domain names.  To keep updated with NameCheap's coupons you can check NameCheap Coupons which is a site run by NameCheap.  They also have special registration and transfer deals which I take advantage of a lot.  You can follow them on social media networks or checkout this epic Namepros thread for the latest domain deals.  Obviously go to the last page to find the most recent NameCheap coupons.

FYI NameCheap charges your the 18 cents Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers (ICANN) fee on COM and NET domains but any other top level domain, such as ORG, is excluded.  Since most people own COM domains the ICANN fee is a bit annoying,  Most registrars do not include it in their domain prices either though.  The prices shown reflect the ICANN charge.

Whois Privacy – NameCheap's Whois Privacy is free only for the first year of domain registration or transfer.  After that you will have to pay for NameCheap's Whois Guard subscriptions if you don't want your info to appear in the Whois database.  Regular pricing for a Whois Guard subscription, what NameCheap Whois privacy service, is $2.88 a year but if you use the coupon code – WGSPECIAL – it will only cost you 99 cents a year.  If you need to order multiple Whois Guard subscriptions for different domains you can use that coupon code to order multiple Whois Guard subscriptions at the same time.

While I, and probably others, would prefer if Whois privacy was available for free after the first year of registration I don't think 99 cents is too bad.   A lot of domain registrars charge $10+ bucks for privacy which is as much as renewing a domain.

Bottom line, if you want straightforward pricing you should probably consider another domain registrar.  If you think you have anything to add about NameCheap's pricing leave a comment below.  Please realize I only included COM, NET, and ORG pricing as these are the most popular extensions.  You can check NameCheap's pricing for other domain extensions here.

Support

NameCheap has online chat support that is available 24 hours 7 days a week.  NameCheap also offers email support as well.  NameCheap does not offer phone support.

Honestly for domain names I don't think you will need to contact support too much.  The few times I have contacted NameCheap support they have been pretty helpful in resolving my question or issue.  There was one time they really annoyed since I wasn't able to use some affiliate earnings I had to purchase a domain and the chat support representative didn't seem to understand what I wanted.  Eventually it was worked out but it took a lot of explanation.

NameCheap MarketPlace

For anyone that that is a domain investor or “domainer” I am sure the like the fact that NameCheap has the NameCheap Marketplace.  This is NameCheap's inter-registrar market for buying and selling domain names under $1,000 dollars.  You can also buy premium domains over $1,000 from other places too.

The NameCheap Marketplace has been quite a useful feature for me.  I've used it before and found that it was a easy to sell domains.  All you do is pick a price, category, description, and length you want your domain to be available.  If your domain is bought NameCheap handles the transfer into the other buyer's account and then they automatically put the money in your account.  They take a 10% brokerage fee which is reasonable.

On the flipside if you can't find a good available domain name to buy and you are a NameCheap customer, I think you will find the NameCheap Marketplace useful.  If you want to negotiate a price sometimes you can contact a seller directly.   Just remember to do your research before you buy since you don't want to end up paying for a spam domain.

One issue I encountered is when I sold a domain name in the NameCheap Marketplace I didn't realize NameCheap's money policies.  I sold the domain for $5 since it was near expiration and got $4.50 (this was a domain I was just trying to get rid of before it expired) but that was not enough to pay for a new domain registration.  I noticed when checking out that I couldn't use these  funds along with PayPal or another form of payment.  I talked with NameCheap customer support and they said I need to add money in the account.  The minimum you can add is $5 but I wanted to just $1.68 to add to the $4.50 since they were having $6 registration special.   I just had to wait until I found another available domain I wanted then add that amount of money into the account before making anther purchase.

Just something to be aware of when collecting affiliate revenue or using the NameCheap Marketplace.

Conclusion

Overall I like the features NameCheap provides such as the Marketeplace, free URL forwarding, and chat support.  They also offer a lot of advanced DNS management options which other domain registrars don't of charge for.  I think they are a decent domain name registrar and will continue to use them.

I also like NameCheap due to their political initiatives.  A lot of time their transfer specials will include donations to support groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF),  They were strongly against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which would have made it difficult for people to operate at all online and widely publicized their “Move Your Domain Day” to encourage people to transfer away from GoDaddy.  This was not only good for business but brilliant marketing as it drew a lot of stories and attention.  In addition they had Save the Elephants transfer day when it was revealed that GoDaddy CEO Bob Parson's went on safari to kill elephants.  That's why some bloggers call GoDaddy “NoDaddy!”

However, I don't like the confusing pricing and the fact they don't offer free Whois is bothersome.  Another thing to be aware of is that NameCheap has been an ICANN accredited registrar since 2006 but all domains you register are controlled under their Enom as NameCheap is an Enom Reseller. Considering they have over 3 million domains under management and have had ICANN accreditation for awhile I am surprised they are still using Enom's services.  It seems like they would have started to migrate to their own platform.  Hopefully in the future they will start using their own domain management system as I assume that will mean faster DNS propagation and better pricing for customers.

Also I wish NameCheap would update their backend to be more user friendly and have a cleaner look.  I have been told they will be making changes in the near future though.

NameCheap does offer a lot of other services such as SSL certificates and web hosting, I could not answer questions about that in this NameCheap Review since I haven't used these services.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed by NameCheap Review and found it informative.  If you have any question's about NameCheap please leave a comment below.