Advice to Moniker (Updated) | DomainInvesting.com
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Advice to Moniker (Updated)

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I was briefly on the phone with Moniker support this morning, and I was told the website would be coming online at 9am. Well, it’s now 9:30 as I publish this, and it’s still not online.

Ordinarily, I would let this all play out and assume things will get resolved, but unfortunately for me, I am in the middle of a large deal that involves the sale of a domain name that is registered at Moniker and should be pending transfer depending on when the buyer initiated it. Complicating things further, the domain name is set to expire late this month, so if a transfer is not successful, I will need to renew it so its expiration doesn’t lapse.

I have about 50 or so domain names currently registered at Moniker. For a variety of reasons, I had moved many of my domain names to other domain registrars in the last few years, and I don’t use Moniker much anymore. Most names I have there were either not worth paying to transfer out or purchases where the seller pushed to my Moniker account and I didn’t transfer them out.

This leads me to the topic of the post – some advice to Moniker. Here’s what I think Moniker should do in the coming hours and days:

1) Apologize to customers via email and social media for the inconvenience and explain why this overhaul was necessary.

2) Email all clients to let them know about what is happening and when we can expect to resume normal activity. Be as transparent as possible and give real times. I would rather the site stay down one more day but actually resume activity when promised than be given a deadline that passes with no information.

3) Assure customers that domain names are safe and won’t be deleted due to the inability of logging in to renew them.

4) Get all hands on deck and answer the phones 24/7 to help customers in different time zones around the world. I called technical support about renewing my domain name yesterday, and after a long wait, my call was disconnected. This is not acceptable.

5) Answer all support tickets as quickly as possible. Give an update to all tickets that are pending, even if the issue is not yet resolved. This will be reassuring.

6) When the website is operational, make sure customers know how to operate the control panel. Share a link to a resource to learn how to renew, change DNS, transfer out, turn on auto-renew…etc.

What else do you think Moniker can do to rectify this situation?

Update: Moniker is now back up for me, and customer support answered my phone call very quickly. Here’s hoping everything is fixed.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (43)

    James

    They are by far the worst company I have ever experienced – sure, bugs happen, but to roll out this site change without the benefit of domainer related beta testers is ludicrous. This all could have been avoided. While all the chaos has been going on customers should have been given the option to use the old site so they could make renewals or initiate transfers away from this sinking ship! The phone support is also a cluster mess. I have been trying for days to get them, only to have my call go to voice mail after a 45 minute wait. I think it is to late, there is nothing they can do for me – I am done and thousands of domains will be coming with me.

    June 4th, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Nancy

    Excellent recommendations!

    June 4th, 2014 at 10:04 am

    James

    They should renew all domains expiring in the month of June FREE of charge.

    June 4th, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Ron

    I have not been able to run any maintenance on my account in the past 5 days, either moniker wakes up, or they are going to end up settling a very real class action suit. They better be renewing expired domains on the house if people can’t access their accounts, as they dropped the ball big time. Your system Sucks, you are purposely stalling as you know a mass exodus awaits. Your support has been crap for the past year. Moniker I am sorry, you have just behind the 8 ball for the past few years. To much choice in the marketplace, you should have been into gtlds since day 1, and you would have a better bottomline to hire pros who can code.

    June 4th, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Moniker Customer

    I have registered OccupyMoniker.com / org and MonikerWatch.com /org

    I hope they get their act together and this doesn’t turn out to be another RegisterFly fiasco in case any of you remember that one. Tens of thousands of name were lost, deleted or vanished. I lost over 300 domains in that mess. Supposedly ICANN has implemented procedures for warehousing whois data so this wouldn’t happen again.

    Just to be on the safe side if anyone out there would like to get involved in getting the word out, with enough interest and assistance (as I am not a blogger) i would consider creating a site and spreading the word. You may email to get on list to: jaymiany99@gmail.com

    Moniker Customer

    June 4th, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Gary

    Moniker is back up, but no change for me:

    1) i cannot switch off the renewal of portfolio lock
    2) i cannot switch off portfolio lock (the job keeps failing) so i cannot make any changes to any domains

    now my inbox is filling up with notices about how they have charged my card

    i tried calling Moniker, and was cut off after an automated message said “thank you for cal” – even the answerphone doesn’t work, it can’t even finish the sentence.

    morons. why bring it back up riddled with bugs again?

    June 4th, 2014 at 11:05 am

    James

    Yes, they are back online now and it is even worse. No changes and the load time is SO SLOWWWW…

    June 4th, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Elliot Silver

    Looks like my renewal was successful:

    “Dear Customer,

    We hereby confirm that the following domains have been successfully
    renewed for you:”

    The only issue is that one email had one price listed and the invoice had another price listed. Hopefully my credit card was only charged once.

    June 4th, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Lee

    Back up, I now have domains back in my account that weren;t there before, but can’t manage them still.

    Also, one domain has disappeared from my account that is renewed through to the end of October (and shows me as the owner in WHOIS).

    Actually, there could be more domains missing but that’s the first I have noticed.

    June 4th, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Kd

    #MonikerFail

    June 4th, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Tasha Kidd

    Yeah. We’re still in epic fail territory. Some names that were going to be manually renewed, were not. Kindergarteners.com for example, WAS renewed, but whois has a 2013 ?!!! expiration date. Some of the domains promised to renew on the back end were not renewed. Some were renewed twice, and now have a 2016 expiration. My bank account was hit again, for a transaction that supposedly went through on Sunday. I started receiving emails one at a time that I need to verify contact information. I received one email at a time for some of the renewals, but not others. The system crashed for me twice in the last 30 minutes, and once crashed my browser, and on reload, I got the Moniker is down screen. Five minutes later, I got Moniker live, again. But the option to see 1000 domains at once doesn’t work and bails out of the user interface to text, and then it locks up again. I can’t get to additional pages, and I can’t see all of my domains at once. I could give a lot more examples, but what’s the point? It’s still a big, big, big dysfunctional mess, in every regard. It has chewed up my time, too, which is not a trivial thing with other deadlines I have on my plate, with real business. I’m thoroughly disgusted. If all else were good, the user interface is still a big problem, with delete options on the renewal screen, double click selection, and no way to actually renew and complete a transaction. I haven’t even attempted to change nameservers, as I’m in the middle of development on a few of these. I’m really flabbergasted at the ineptness of the software design, and of course, the cutover. The jury is still out if I will ultimately get all my domains back and restored. There’s more than a little terror on the potential loss of domains, on top of the lost time and headaches of trying to match my own spreadsheets to corrupted system data.

    June 4th, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Josh Bond

    Yeah, I saw those 2 “Moniker is down” screens as I was working too.

    Some of the auth codes are wrong. Sometimes when you unlock a domain, it shows as unlocked but is not really. This causes the registry to reject the transfer out. Then you have to resend the auth code because it’s changed.

    The interface is absolutely the worst I’ve seen in the last 15 years.

    You can’t select one or more domains to renew. Instead you have to use an invoicing system. If there’s domains already invoiced you don’t want, you cannot remove those invoices. On my support call, every question I asked, the support rep would type the question to an engineer via a chat they had setup. No, you can’t delete invoices–and neither can they.

    There’s several different ways to list domains, and different options from each list, which is confusing. Using one list, you can set a domain to delete at expiration. Using another view, you can’t. From the Expiring Domains view, you can’t set a domain not to renew. You have to go in through another list view for that option. It’s all very tedious and time consuming.

    And just forget about any kind of bulk change or modify–like unlocking a bunch of domains at once. You have to unlock domains one at a time, and even then when a domain says its unlocked, it may not be. This results in the registry denying the transfer. They’ve clearly made it as difficult as possible to get the AUTH codes. Most auth codes are the usual random numbers and letters. But some are odd, like “moniker”. Really, is that a valid auth code?

    June 4th, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Josh Bond

    The other thing everyone will have to do is compare your spreadsheet of domain names to what’s appearing in your moniker account.

    June 4th, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Ron

    Scared to give these guys a credit card, always used paypal, domains I moved over to name.com weeks ago, are still showing in my account, they are renewed at name, but show expired in my account. I think their whole platform is full of bugs, I will attempt to transfer out, and let everyone know how it goes.

    June 4th, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Elliot Silver

      My account shows at least one “ghost record” for a name I sold a month ago that the buyer transferred out to GoDaddy.

      In reply to Ron | June 4th, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Tasha Kidd

    Agreed. The interface is clueless, and basic activities are nearly impossible. I was a professional user interface designer, and won national awards for it in the 80’s and 90’s. We are 3 decades later, and I’m incredulous at how many different ways this doesn’t match with what a domain owner needs to do. I had put weeks of work last decade into setting up categories, too, at Moniker, so I could manage my domains by portfolios. Those are apparently completely gone.

    I’ve done nothing for the last four days, but try to match my spreadsheets with the ever changing database, and manage Moniker-caused problems at my banks. I hope when it’s all sorted out, I have my domains, and you all have your domains, and then they can fix the horrible design/interface problems.

    June 4th, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Josh

    Amongst other issues the paypal policy of $25 minimum MUSTchange or I am out once it becomes easier to do so. No I will not give you my credit crad and no I will not pre pay funds for you to take at will for false renewals I didn’t want.

    Paypal policy, change it back!

    June 4th, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Josh Bond

    What Josh said about getting charged for renewals you don’t want. There are invoices in my account that they say they can’t delete.

    Some are invoices for the same name more than once. Some are for names that are no longer even at Moniker. And no one knows if the “Ghost names” (names you have moved out of Moniker previously) will also wind up in the invoicing system.

    There’s no way to fund a specific invoice. They say: just fund your account and the invoice lists will process. But I don’t want some domains renewed several times (as they appear in several invoices).

    They’re clueless.

    June 4th, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Tasha Kidd

    I have to say through all this, that my account manager, Sean, is a nice guy, and while the problems continue to compound, I can’t imagine being in his shoes this week. Awful!

    June 4th, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Louise

      I have to say through all this, that my account manager, Sean, is a nice guy, and while the problems continue to compound, I can’t imagine being in his shoes this week. Awful!

      That’s the mixed bag of Moniker. The low-level customer service reps are dedicated and hardworking. They have consistently fixed glitches in my dashboard, since Key Systems bought Moniker. They don’t deserve to have to put out the fires that Key Systems seem to set.

      In reply to Tasha Kidd | June 4th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Reality

    I’ve been charged for six renewals but only one domain has actually been renewed after four days. I also have eight domains unlocked for transfer in the interface, but only three are actually unlocked (even though they’re all the same TLD). Seems like many of the interface bugs are still there too, and the non-immediate “immediate” renewal system is hopeless. I doubt they’ve resolved the SnapNames-caught management issues.

    June 4th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    John

    Elliot, on a related note, I’m curious about why you or any other seller of a domain of significant value would even allow a registrar-to-registrar transfer any more instead of only an internal registrar account change. The former is time consuming and carries much more risk, unless perhaps there’s true domain escrow involved, whereas the latter is more or less instantaneous, less risky, and extremely trackable should the need arise.

    Just recently I completed a mid $x x x x sale from a completely unsolicited offer. Though I had not done a registrar transfer for either a sale or a purchase in a long time, I allowed it this time. Not surprisingly, however, although it was expeditable in terms of duration, it still involved a number of snags and issues I would much rather have avoided. For example, the whois was not updated on transfer, which made it look like I had transferred the domain to my own co. I had to contact the receiving registrar about that matter and the go-between had to contact the buyer. Although it was all eventually completed, there was definitely a bit of mess and elevated risk level involved.

    My feeling is, why not simply stipulate that any sale must involved an internal registrar account change. Do people really believe it is a good idea or there is any upside to allowing a registrar-to-registrar transfer? The buyer can then wait the 60-day period and be concerned about whether they want to transfer later on their own, but you don’t need to incur all the potential problems and increased risks associated with being involved in such a transfer yourself.

    Doesn’t this sound reasonable? Or am I missing something? As I’ve indicated before, I’m not really active the way probably most people here are, and have mostly only bought or regged domains these past years, but lately I do have more interest/involvement with selling, largely because of unsolicited offers. Stipulating internal account change only seems like a good idea to me, so would appreciate if others have any agreement, disagreement or think I’m off on that.

    June 4th, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      Elliot Silver

      First off – congrats on your deal.

      For the sake of an easier transaction for the buyer, I allow them to choose whether to transfer or push. If I am buying a domain name, I don’t want to have to open another registrar account, and I don’t want to put a buyer through that either. In this case, the buyer has a tech support person/team (not sure which), and they are handling that aspect for them. I don’t know about added risk, but yes, it can be time consuming, especially when Moniker takes several days to release a name that is pending transfer.

      In short, I want to make it as easy as possible for the buyer, and allowing a transfer to their preferred registrar generally does that.

      June 4th, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      John

      Thanks Elliot.

      In reply to Elliot Silver | June 4th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Josh Bond

    The Moniker system just invoiced me for a domain name that I’ve moved to another registrar.

    There’s no way to pay the “good” invoices without paying the false invoices. I guess I’ll call them again. Today they said they couldn’t delete an invoice, that it was not necessary because their system would not invoice you for domains that are already gone or that you have marked as not to renew. That’s clearly false.

    June 4th, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Nancy

    Seeing that they have changed our account numbers, I am wondering if someone else’s domain will end up in my account… or vice versa… holy cow…. cannot image the mess this would cause!

    June 4th, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Nancy

      Oh…. if someone else’s domain ends up in my account, no worries… I will give it back to you. I just hope others will do the same for me.

      In reply to Nancy | June 4th, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Lee

    *Advice on stopping charges from Moniker*

    I spoke with my card company and they were able to complete a ‘stop request’ form on my behalf for any charge that comes from Moniker. This prevents having to cancel the card and you can reinstate charges from Moniker as soon as their systems become stable.

    Important note: If you have renewals due within the next month I would not advise doing this. I did it because they are costing me money on foreign currency transactions every time they charge me for nothing, even if they do a refund. I also have no renewals due for 3 months.

    June 5th, 2014 at 6:29 am

      Elliot Silver

      Is Moniker notifying you about the charges, or are they just appearing? The reason I ask is I want to know if people need to be monitoring their credit card activity or if they will see something from Moniker first.

      In reply to Lee | June 5th, 2014 at 8:18 am

      Lee

      They have notified me for some of them, however the amount they then charged me (in USD, before conversion) was not equal to the amount they were notifying me about.

      For the last charge, there was no notification at all and I can’t relate it back to anything (it may be for 2 domains that I had set to expire and they seem to have renewed, however the charges do not add up. I was on a preferential rate for renewals however maybe they have decided to start charging a different amount now?).

      Either way, for that last transaction there was no notification.

      In reply to Elliot Silver | June 5th, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Josh Bond

    They told me on the phone again they can’t stop the double billing–that it shouldn’t happen but they can’t remove invoices. I asked if a credit card chargeback is the only resolution. She said, I guess so. Pathetic.

    June 5th, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Casey

    My password no longer works, and I don’t have my actual account number so I can’t even ask to change my password. I’ve been on the phone on hold for over an hour. What else can I do?

    June 5th, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Josh Bond

    They don’t turn the phones off after they leave the office. You just stay on hold. Perk of the new system. 😉

    June 5th, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Reality

    Another day goes by and still no renewal of my domains, and still no response to my support ticket.

    June 6th, 2014 at 5:23 am

      Lee

      I actually had a reply yesterday to a ticket from over a week ago, however it was a copy+paste answer that did not answer my question.

      I’m also getting ignored by Snapnames (no reply to a ticket raised on 31st May), between them and Moniker they currently have a few domains of mine lost in cyberspace somewhere.

      In reply to Reality | June 6th, 2014 at 5:34 am

    Nancy

    I am still trying to get them to unlock my domain so I can transfer it. I was on hold over 30 minutes yesterday and then sent to voice mail to leave a “call back” message.

    One thing I really gets me, is you cannot delete your credit card. It appears that all you can do is change it to something else.

    Hiding transfer options
    cannot cancel payment options
    difficult navigation

    sounds like they are playing fast and loose with our money.

    June 6th, 2014 at 8:13 am
    June 6th, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Ben

    We lost 1 domain name because of Moniker.

    And we have 2 domains, we cant transfer them… Moniker system not showing correct Whois info and not unlocking domains… We wasted huge time but nothing is working there…

    We transferred all domains from Moniker. But 1 lost and 2 still staying there :(

    June 7th, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Geoff Akerlund

    Moniker: Worst registrar I’ve ever used.

    Their DNS servers went down a couple months ago, which brought down my website in the process. I blamed my web host at first; I couldn’t believe one of the world’s top registrars could have DNS failure. I switched to Godaddy Premium DNS which has been much more reliable.

    Then a couple weeks ago, I noticed my email wasn’t working. People had been trying to contact me for days/weeks and weren’t able to. I submitted a support ticket, and never heard back from Moniker support. I finally called them, and they admitted there was an error with email forwarding and fixed it.

    Moniker has great prices, but absolutely horrible service. I will never trust them to handle email/DNS ever again.

    Anyone who’s still having trouble with them may want to consider filing a complaint with the BBB: http://www.bbb.org/south-east-florida/business-reviews/internet-web-hosting/monikercom-in-fort-lauderdale-fl-7002286

    And Moniker, if you’re reading this, you owe all your customers a public apology.

    June 10th, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Louise

    If anyone would like me to advocate for them, I know some insider emails. After losing a couple domain names from my dashboard, they are back and renewed. Also, a transfer of LouiseMarketing.com initiated before the Key Systems migration went through okay. Still waiting on a credit for an unauthorized charge.

    Happened to click an ad for Godaddy complaints, which led to lieffcabraser.com , so I sent a feeler via their form. The firm is accepting complaints about Godaddy charging for goods and services not ordered. The same happened with many being charged for domains long dropped! It is the same for the credit card charge of a domain I was planning to drop. But, I don’t want to block Key Systems, because I don’t want to lose other domain names I want to renew.

    My credit card company allows me to dispute a charge 180 days from the date of the charge, so I can give it time.

    June 15th, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Viết Quân

    Hi. A little bit late when coming up here. I’m a customer of Moniker, 2 months ago I still could changed my namesever DNS in my account. but today I wanted to change my DNS Server again because I changed VPS, but I can NOT login, can NOT reset password. No email notification, no reason, nothing.

    Submit tickets and still not answer. Now I want to transfer my domain to somewhere else, godaddy or namecheap, just want to stay away from Moniker.

    I’m hoping I can get them on the phone today and get things sorted ASAP.

    If they’re not answer phone or let me transfer my domain, I’ll lose my domain and have to rebuild from START again.

    Is there anything I can do to transfer domain if they dont reply me? I dont want to rebuild my ranking again.

    October 20th, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Beth C.

    It’s 2015 and Moniker is still up to it’s tricks. Use them at your peril.

    Moniker is currently literally holding my domain hostage, preventing transfer.

    The domain is unlocked and they (the moniker site at my request) issue authorization codes for transfer, then deny the transfer request even using the authorization codes.

    I am transferring the domain in the first place for extremely poor customer service. Long hold times, no replies to tickets, changing login names periodically on you so you can’t log in to renew your domains and they expire and you have to bid on your OWN names, etc.

    Anyone who came here via Google, please pay heed: avoid them or suffer.

    March 6th, 2015 at 4:38 pm

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