Domain Name Hell…Deja Vu All Over Again!

Last night I thought it odd that I did not receive any email messages after around 8pm. And this morning, it was V E R Y odd that I did not have the usual bunch of overnight spam in my inbox…
What’s up with this?

Shoot! Is my email server down? I tried sending from my secondary email addresses to my primary, and even though I did not receive any bounce messages, nothing came into my primary address.
I called and reported the problem to my email provider, who is also my domain name registrar.
“Your MX record looks like it was changed. I flipped the value in it; you should be fine in 4 hours when the changes take effect.”
“4 hours? And why would my MX record get changed?”
“Yeah, 4 hours, at least. I don’t know why your MX record got changed, it just did.”
So, I asked for the trouble ticket number, then hung up, perturbed that I had to wait 4 hours to see if the MX change fixed the problem.
Hmm…doesn’t seem right…so I tried sending email from my primary to my primary, and my message I sent to myself came through okay.
So, my email server seems to be semi-functioning…
OH NO! Realization of deja vu from almost exactly a year ago gave me a sudden punch to my stomach.
Almost exactly one year ago I had exasperating problems with a glitch in my domain name renewal, which I wrote about here and here.
NO! NO! NO! This cannot be happening again! I renewed by domain through the end of 2009…I know I did.
I confirmed my payment receipt.
I logged into my domain name registry account, and it showed my domain as being registered through the end of 2009.
What the…?
Then I remembered the problems with the communication between my registrar and their parent company in Australia. C’mon…it can’t be…
I did a WhoIs search through the Internic site and…AAARRGGGHHH!!! My domain was shown to have been expired late last month…which means it was put into registration redemption yet again, like last year!!!
I called back my registrar.
“Oh, your MX record was changed, but it may take 4 hours to go into effect. Maybe even 8.”
“No, no…this happened to me last year. There is a problem with my domain name registration.”
“Your domain is renewed through 2009.”
“Yes, I know. I have the receipt for payment. However, the Internic site shows my domain name expired last month.”
“No, your domain is paid through 2009.”
“Yes, I know I paid your company through to the end of 2009. The problem is, it does not appear that the renewal was actually sent through to the Internic.”
“Umm…do you want me to set you up for auto renewal?”
“Look, a very similar thing happened to me last year. Please let me speak with your manager.”
“Do you want to renew another year?”
“Please, just let me speak with your manager.”
Well, I got to speak with the manager, provided all the details from last year and this.
“Oh, well…ICANN did not get the notice of the renewal. There, I’ve flipped the switch, at no charge to you, and you should be up and going in the next 4 days.”
“Well, this is an error on your company’s part, not mine, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. And I just fixed it at no charge to you.”
“You shouldn’t charge me. In fact, your company’s error is costing me. That is my business domain. Four days is unacceptable for your company’s error. And it’s pretty insulting for you to fix your company’s problem and then tell me that you are not going to charge me for fixing it!”
We continued to talk. Seems that the parent company, once again, did not get notice I had paid, and they were the ones that let the registration lapse. After yet more talking, and hearing how the registrar was contractually not liable, I at least (yes, a very miniscule least) got 1 more year of registration free. Please, don’t laugh. I did it because I have also discovered a way to completely remove the parent company from the equation, which should now leave me good to 2011, and also got me another free year. Should I have changed registries? Possibly. But then I should probably also change my email service provider. And with those types of changes, it is highly likely other problems would occur. Possibly taking me offline for an even longer time. I don’t want to rock the boat that seemed to now be smoothly sailing.
It really bothers me that the 1st level response staff did not seem to have any idea about domain name registrations, and did not think to use WhoIs to check the Internic registration information to see if that domain expiration data matched the date in their system. All they wanted to do is change the MX record and tell me to wait another 4 or 8 hours. Horrible customer service.
I am finally getting email again…

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