A blog dedicated to the researchers who dyed a captured chimp's fur pink, then released it. The other chimps promptly tore it to pieces.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Registerfly and the Myth of Commercial Competence

Ya know how Republicans/conservatives just LOOOOOVE to bitch about the inefficiencies of government, and how the hallowed "private sector" (a.k.a. big business) can always do it better cheaper? You DO know they're full of shit, right?

When Bill Gates registered the microsoft.com domain name, it didn't cost him anything. Back in the days when the 'net was a service more or less provided by the military/government, domain names didn't cost a penny - all you had to do was request a name and it was yours. Defense Data Network Network Information Center (DDN-NIC) handed them out to anyone crazy enough to want one. (it was extremely expensive to have a domain at that point in time) Needless to say, the freebies didn't last. By the time the general public began flooding onto the 'net in the early to mid 1990s, the days of free domain names were long gone.

Then came ICANN.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers was created in the boom days of the late 90s to replace the work previously done by Jon Postel, one of the founding fathers of the modern Internet, at IANA. A bastard offspring of the Clinton Administration (which never met a sell-out to corporate interests it didn't like) and the Republican Congress spawned by Newt Gingrich's Contract with America, ICANN presided over one of the greatest sellouts of the public interest since the licensing of broadcast airwaves.

Prior to ICANN, only one company - Network Solutions - sold domain name registrations in the USA. ICANN opened up the field to every two-bit hustler with a few bucks to spare.

Pretty much anyone who could scrape up the bucks could become a registrar - I was offered the opportunity more than once, and it wasn't like you had to be Warren Buffett to afford it. The "list price" of a domain name at Network Solutions was seventy dollars for two years, down from the original hundred when they first started charging. (imagine the furor that must have caused - for something to go from free to a hundred dollars overnight) "Bargain" registrars took that as low as $6.95 a year for .com, .net, and .org domains and as low as SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS a year recently for slow-sellers like .info names.

Registerfly is a bargain registrar, until recently accredited by ICANN to sell domain name registrations. Registerfly's thousands of customers are currently in a bit of a pickle because of internal issues at the Registerfly company. (two owners are apparently locked in a fight to the death for control of the company) So ICANN has yanked Registerfly's accreditation, Registerfly is (naturally) contesting this action, and in the meantime, Registerfly's customers are fucked. (full disclosure - I'm one of Registerfly's fucked customers)

So far, I've only been able to rescue one of my eight domains from the sinking suckhole of Registerfly. Two of the others have mysteriously "expired" (despite the renewal charges showing up on my credit card) while Registerfly refuses to answer either e-mails or support tickets. If you look them up in whois, it now shows Registerfly as the "owner" of the domains. To top it all off, in the course of researching this mess online, I've also discovered that Registerfly has the nasty habit of punishing disgruntled customers who initiate credit card chargebacks by confiscating ALL the customer's domain names and charging exhorbitant fees for their return.

I think that's what's really the most galling about this: these crooked motherfuckers are flat-out ripping people off and our noble protectors in government aren't doing shit about it. In fact, they're the ones who sold the whole operation to incompetent crooks like Registerfly in the first place. Goddamn cocksuckers are right there when it's time to bust some kid with a doobie, but they're nowhere to be found when well-connected thieves abscond with millions.

Even if I don't get any of my other domains back, I'm still better off than a lot of people. There are people losing their businesses - their livelihoods - over this shit. People are going to lose their homes and possessions. Where the fuck is THEIR protection?

The only thing big business can do better than the government is line its own pockets. Efficiency my ass. Who needs a more efficient mugging?


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