Nightmare on Web Street!

    October 12, 2000

I need access to online database tools from my host and call them up to ask about availability. OK, I find that it costs a few bucks a month extra to access those tools for my site. Hmmmm. Well I’ve got someone telling me that their host is offering those very same tools and more storage space for half of what I’m paying!

My Internet Service Provider (ISP) has been good to me for two years now. I have almost no complaints and, when I have complained, they have resolved the issue quickly and with little fuss. I’m loyal and I’m reluctant to move but the monthly savings is too good to pass up and I decide to go ahead and upgrade my services and move my site to a new host.

I was careful in checking out the new host. They come highly recommended. It’s a major nationwide network. Their record is nothing short of stellar. OK, let’s give it a try.

Big mistake! It’s like having a nightmare and you can’t wake up from! There is nothing worse than having to deal with issues you are entirely unfamiliar with and basically put yourself out of business in the process!

Dealing with Network Solutions, my registrar, to make changes, update the records, transfer the domain name server from the old host to the new is one of the most frustrating and pro- tracted battles I’ve ever had to fight! I thought I would understand the process having just transferred *eight* other domain name servers for clients with three other registrars.

But Network Solutions does it differently. They require that the request be done via a form on their site, that’s simple enough. But I repeatedly fill out that form, which generates an email to me which I must now return to them to verify my email address. OK, I return it and get no response, so things must be progressing smoothly. No doubt I’ll receive a notice soon stating that the changes have taken effect.

No notice. I fill out the form again, generate the follow-up email again, return it again and wait again. Two weeks and no notice. I’ve got to do something to effect this change!

I call them using the phone number that I found on their site after nearly 40 minutes of searching from page to page to FAQ. Now I get to spend 40 minutes on hold, listening to a repeating recording telling me how “important” my call is to them. I’ve got a meeting to attend and give up for the day. I’ll get back to it tomorrow.

Bright and early I’m back on the phone and get through this time after only 30 minutes on hold! It’s going to be a good day! Well, guess again Bub. The phone representative I speak with checks the records and tells me that the times I’ve submitted my change request previously were fruitless due to being returned from an email address that is different from the one used to register the site. Why didn’t you tell me?

I ask the rep to stay on the phone with me and walk me through the process. OK, we get the form submitted, I change my email client “from” line to reflect the address given when I regis- tered with Network solutions for this domain. He checks, it’s been received, and I’m on my way to making the change!

After another week of waiting, I call NSI and get through to a representative after only 10 minutes! Great! Things are getting better! “What is holding up my DNS change request? I was told it was approved and that my follow-up email had been received but the record still reflects the old host and no change has been made!”

“You submitted the form to change the host contact info sir, not the form to change the domain name server. The contact info was not different, so no change was needed.”

“But wait a minute!” I’m fuming now and do my best to keep my temper in check. “The person I spoke with told me exactly what to do, I did it, he said it would be handled within 24 hours!”

“You filled out the wrong form sir.” Bureaucrateez for, ‘It’s not my fault!’ Who did you speak with, sir?” Oh man! I didn’t ask his name! He walked me through the process, I trusted him, and I did what he said to do!

They’re trying to convince me I’ve done something wrong now.

“Is there a different way to do this process?” I said through gritted teeth.

“Yes sir, you can fax in your change request.”

Good God I hope I’ve got the correct form! I did fax in my request but missed some obscure detail on some obscure page of the directions.

No change. Call back. More buck passing. More fuming, another walk-through, this time I get his email address and name. Still no change. I email him. No response. No change. Call back and I’m told I need a “Problem tracking number”. The problem now is near insanity! I’m assigned a problem tracking number. E-mail. Wait. Fume. Complain.

One morning I woke up and checked to find the changes had now actually been made and the records changed.

Was that all a nightmare? No! It’s incompetence, bureaucracy, buck-passing, archaic and confusing. But it’s very real!

I recommend you change your registrar if you used Network Solutions when you reserved your domain name. The others can make the change overnight using a simple password and username. Freddy Kreuger couldn’t have made it more of a nightmare!

Mike Banks Valentine operates SEOptimism, Offering SEO training of
in-house content managers
as well as the Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial at and blogs about SEO at
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