Automattic, through it's subsidiary company Knock Knock Whois There, is angering many potential .BLOG customers with changing the rules for the new domain extension.
No .BLOG for You!
Apparently many people that applied early to get a .BLOG domain found they were out of luck. Automattic, the company that runs WordPress, decided to change the rules through the Landrush phase of .BLOG's release.
The issue is that many people applied early and directly with .BLOG and Automattic to get a .BLOG domain name. To be first in line to get the .BLOG domain you really wanted you need to pay a $250 application fee and a $30 a year domain registration fee.
If there were multiple people that applied for the same .BLOG domain, those were supposed to go to auction. Here is a nice video explanation of how Landrush is supposed to work.
What's .BLOG's Landrush Phase?
However it didn't work like this. Chris Schidle documented his frustration with .BLOG and Automattic in a blog post “The .blog Bait & Switch“.
About Reserved Domains
WordPress and Automattic are clearly getting a lot of complaints on the .BLOG Landrush process. It made them, of course, write a blog post “About Reserved Domains” about the situation.
They start off by defending themselves;
As we move forward on the road to General Availability, which will start on Monday, Nov 21st at 15.00 UTC, we’d like to take a moment to explain the process behind the decision to activate domains in our Founder’s Program while reserving some others.
Founder Program, or Qualified Launch Phase (QLP)
As a registry, we had the option to activate up to 100 domain names, either for our use or to give to third parties to promote .blog.
We offered some these domains to third parties, and you can see a showcase of these sites on our Founders page. We also decided to offer a list of 25 very generic domains to WordPress.com, so that they could be shared for free among millions of users instead of being owned by single entities.
This essentially means they want to subdomain these .BLOG domains for use on WordPress. For instance I can blog on – adamisreallreallycool.wordpress.com. They want to offer the same option for .BLOG domains. So I could blog using a .BLOG domain such as – AdamHasGreatTastein.Music.Blog – using WordPress Multsite.
Reserved domains are domain names that are not registered, and cannot be registered until released. As a registry, we can decide to reserve as many domains as we want.
We reserved all one-, two- and three-character domains from being registered by anyone and will probably release them in the future. In addition, we allowed employees of our parent company, Automattic, many of whom are bloggers and passionate about blogging, to reserve a single domain each, some of which were first names.
In plain English what they meant to say, “F*ck that you paid $250 we don't care, we are playing favorites and reserving what we want.”
Many of Automattic employees are grabbing first names which many people paid $250 for and were the only application. Even if Worpdress/Automattic had no other applications if someone within the company wanted it, you got screwed.
The blog post continues to explain how dealing with new domains means you get F*cked.
Many registrars started taking pre-registrations for the Landrush period as early as last August. We do realise that some users were disappointed when they discovered that the domain names they had applied for were in fact attributed as part of the Founder’s program, or reserved, and wouldn’t be possible to register or auction at the end of Landrush.
We want to charge ridiculous premiums for these .BLOG domains. Why would we let someone who got in line early get it for $250 plus $30 dollars?
We would like to apologise to these users, but as the lists of Founder domains and Reserved ones weren’t final until just before Landrush, we couldn’t communicate them to registrars in advance (there is nothing registrars hate more than ever-changing lists of reserved domains).
We don't know what we are doing and F*cked up. Instead of admitting a mistake and letting good people get the domains we want, we are playing games.
In addition, domains were removed as well as added to the lists, and we didn’t want to take the risk for registrars to refuse applications in September for domains that would be released in October.
To mitigate the downside of such uncertainty, we structured our fees in a way that registrars are charged only for successful registrations, giving them the opportunity to refund their clients in full for failed applications.
We are changing the rules for .BLOG at will. This will continue so we can make as much money as possible to recoup the $19 – $20 million ICANN extorted from us for rights to sell .BLOG domains.
Pretty much most people that got in early to get a .BLOG domain found they were completely out of luck. They just wasted time and money with WordPress and .BLOG.
Chris's story is quite popular on Hacker News at the moment. A user by the name of Charles A Finley (a reference to show Burn Notice) commented;
I had this happen to me as well. I registered a domain directly with get.blog on the day that they first started accepting pre-registrations. I got an email a couple of days ago saying that I would be getting my money back, nothing about an auction. I asked for details because I too was expecting an auction. My response also came from the same guy (“Ran”) who said that it wasn't available when my “application” was processed.
The twist in this case? The domain I applied for is now pointing directly towards WordPress.com. So get.blog, owned by parent company Automattic, took the domain which had been made available for the public, and gave it to WordPress.com. I wonder what ICANN will have to say?
.BLOG WILL Fail
Making potential early customers anger about the process is a recipe for your new domain extension to fail. I already shared my thoughts on Matt Mullenweg promoting .BLOG.
It seems that Automattic is getting desperate and trying to squeeze as much profit out of .BLOG as possible.
This just shows how new domain companies are changing the rules as they go screwing potential customers. Automattic and .BLOG are no different peddling complete and utter B*llSh*t!
WordPress and .BLOG are not going to reach that 250,000 domain registration goal they set for 2016. At this rate they will not even reach 100,000 with only a few weeks left in the year.
.BLOG is going to fail like many new domain extensions. We've already seen that over 70% of new domains are parked and that number keeps growing. NameCheap stopped supporting .XYZ domains, and NameCheap has over 1 million .XYZ domains under management. That's just insane.
What do you think of these .BLOG and new domain shenanigans? How do they expect to grow domain registrations and usage when they treat potential customers like this?