Making Life Difficult | Dafacto

The personal website of Matt Henderson. Making Life Difficult

28 August 2003

Nice thing about a weblog is that it provides a place to vent…

Recently I agreed to purchase a domain name from a user of the DirectNIC domain registrar. Fortunately for me, I managed to negotiate that the domain would not be paid for until it had been successfully transferred to my registrar, OpenSRS. (My company, MakaluMedia, is an affiliate domain provider with OpenSRS.)

The original owner of the domain (we’ll call him Mr. Biz), once the sales agreement had been negotiated, logged into his account at DirectNIC, and modified the admin record of the domain to reflect my information. The act of doing that makes me the new owner. (Domains, by the way, are not really owned, but rather something more like assigned.)

At this point, I, as the new domain owner (the one whose name appears on the domain’s Admin record) would have the right to initiate a transfer of the domain from one registrar to another. However, since Mr. Biz himself had only owned the domain for a short period before selling it to me, the general rules required that I wait six-weeks before initiating the transfer to OpenSRS.

So I waited.

After the six weeks passed, I logged into my account at OpenSRS, and initiated a transfer. As expected, I received shortly afterwards an email from DirectNIC, indicating that someone at OpenSRS wanted to transfer the domain, and presenting a link which I could click to confirm the request. It was interesting to note that the email was absolutely packed with links I could click – in one simple step – to reject the request. In fact, I had to carefully point the mouse to avoid clicking one of these links!

Selecting the confirmation link led me to the DirectNIC website, where I expected an acknowledgment of my cancellation. Instead, I was taken to a login page. Turns out, I’ve got to login to a DirectNIC account to confirm the transfer request. While I’m the owner of the domain, the domain itself is still managed within the DirectNIC account of Mr. Biz – an account to which I obviously have no access.

So, I’m presently trying to resolve this deadlock by asking Mr. Biz to access the transfer confirmation link (before it expires!), login to his account, and confirm the transfer. So far I’ve not heard back from him. :-( – which is why it’s fortunate that I didn’t agree to pay for the domain before it had been transferred to my registrar.

But this whole episode really irks me, because its absurd to assume that everyone authorised to confirm a transfer request at DirectNIC happens to be the owner of the account under which it is managed. By doing so, DirectNIC very much hampers the process of domain transfer – which of course is fine by them.

And here’s what really gets me. The FAQ on the DirectNIC site suggests that to conduct a domain transfer, the original owner transfers the domain to another account within DirectNIC, the owner of which – after making a $15 internal account transfer fee! – can then transfer the domain to another registrar!

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