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. 

5 Reasons Why Domain Parking SUCKS

domain names

For most web entrepreneurs, internet marketers, and anyone that has built websites or online businesses you have experience with domain names.  Talk to a lot of internet professionals about domain names and you hear this a lot, “I have tons of domain names I am not doing anything with!”

Something a lot of people do with those extra domain names is something known as domain parking.  However, domain parking is not a good business model if you want to make money online or if you are planning to build a legitimate business or website on a domain name.

For those that are reading this that are not aware of what domain parking is, I guess I should explain.  Domain parking is when someone “parks” a domain name by putting ads on it instead of a website with content.  The ads are generally served based on what the domain name's category is or if it is some random odd word or combination or words or numbers it will just show ads.  You make money on parking a domain when a visitor to your “website” clicks on one of the ads.  The revenue is split with a domain parking company and you get a portion of that money.

1. Google does not Like Domain Parking

Google does not like parked domains as they do not provide value or content that a user would find useful.  As a web user why would you want to see ads instead of good content about the subject you are searching for?  Therefore parked domains do not get indexed by Google.  This Google Webmaster Video from Matt Cutts illustrates why domain parking is not a good plan for someone who wants to build a website or business on a domain.

2. Type-Ins?

Parking domains and the domain parking industry rely heavily on the fact that someone will type-in that specific domain. Since Google won't index parked domains to be in included in the Google search index, it is hard to generate traffic and revenue from parking.

The domain parking model is great for a domainer (a person who buys, sells, or parks domains) that was lucky enough to buy “Computers.com” or some premium generic domain back in the day.  The majority of domains most people buy might only receive a small number of type-ins and let's be serious, most people are not going to be clicking on those ads.  Users will be navigating… away!

3. Revenue Sucks

If you talk to most domainers nowadays they will tell you that parking revenue generated from the few site visitors that dare click on parked domain ads has gone waaay done over the past couple years.  Most of the time even if you are earning revenue on a good parked domain, if you make $10 bucks from parking your domain name to pay the yearly registration fee, consider yourself very lucky my friend.

By the way, personally I have never clicked on a parked domain ad and never intend to.  (Unless it is by accident.)

The days of great domain parking revenue are slowly slipping away.

4. Google It

Internet users are getting smarter and smarter these days.  While a lot of people still don't use bookmarks (why people, why?) and will in fact type-in domains they know and trust, they are not typing in generic domains as much as you would think.

Most people use Google to find what they are looking for and if you go back to my reason #1, you understand why the domain parking model doesn't work so well.  If you are not going to show-up in a Google search or other search engines it is very hard to make money on a parked domain.

Most people “Google it” nowadays.

5. It's Not Interesting

If you are around a group of your friends and you tell them about domain parking, even if you are making a lot of money, are they really going to be interested?  They might ask questions about it and be curios for a little while because you are making money on the internet and let's be honest who doesn't love that?

Killer web content or a web business you are trying to launch it's going to catch someone's attention a lot more.  Wouldn't you rather appear to be a slick entrepreneur than a guy praying for users to unintentionally type-in your parked domain?

Building a legitimate business on a domain will always be better than hoping for traffic on a non-existent site.  Event the big domainers out there have good web businesses built on domains they own.

That's my opinion but I am sure some domainers would disagree.

Domain Parking… Sucks!

If you have spare domains I recommend you try parking them for a few months and you can see what I am talking about.  Some domain parking companies you might want to look into are ParkingCrew, VooDoo, Bodis, RookMedia, and InternetTraffic.  There are a lot of other ones too but I am pretty sure you will come away disappointed even if you have generated some revenue, like I have.

If you have a lot of domains that you are not doing anything or that are being parked, I would recommend you take a hard look at your domain portfolio.  Consider what you do and don't have time to develop.  Think of what you future plans are and what you what sites you would build under certain domains.  If some don't fit try to find a buyer and get a reasonable price for the domain.  If you do want to do something with a particular domain name make sure to do what Matt Cutts suggests and put a paragraph or two up on the site so that you will get indexed.

What do you think of my list of 5 Reasons Why Domain Parking SUCKS? If you like or don't like my list or have something to say, leave a comment below.  Tell me I am a#@hole or say I give great advice. Let's hear it!

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!