February 15, 2007

Registrars and Customer Service - Three Comments - Part 2

This is a continuation of my previous note, "Registrars and Customer Service - Three Comments - Part 1".

One of the two letters was from Tim Ruiz of GoDaddy.  The gist of this letter was that the number of registrar complaints received by ICANN really was not significant enough to suggest that there is any problem with how registrars behave.

The number of complaints cited was 10,000 during 2006.

Sounds like a lot.

Sounds like a lot more when we realize that it is a rule-of-thumb of marketing and sales that for every customer complaint there are nine more who are angry but silent.

And it sounds like a lot more when we realize that a large number of domain name consumers are professional monetizers who are probably in bed with, or at least in the bedroom with, the registrars they work with - complaints from this quarter are probably rare.

That means that we are talking about at least 100,000 upset domain users out of a pool that mounts to those who actually use domain names as long-term stable identifiers - a pool that probably amounts to perhaps 10 million at best - so we are talking about a complaint rate of at least 1% per long-term domain name client per year.  That's a pretty significant problem rate, especially when measured as the expectency of a long-term domain owner over the lifetime of his/her ownership.

And the number of complaints seems even bigger when we realize that there are a lot of issues that people have simply learned to accept without complaint.  For example, was there a complaint when GoDaddy became a tool in a dispute and yanked someone's domain name, with 52 seconds notice?

And there are a lot of people who have simply given up - either because they don't know to whom they should complain, or have complained in the past and found the system to be a bowl of futile hope, or simply don't realize that they have been scrod.

So, from the same numbers I draw the opposite conclusion - I perceive that we have a serious issue between that part of the public who use domain names for what they were originally intended to be - long term stable identifiers on the internet - and the registrar/registry system that sells (or rents) those names.

Posted by karl at February 15, 2007 11:22 PM