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Recommended Resource: NameSilo for Domain Registrations

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on July 23, 2014 in Writers' Resources
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If you've been a long-time reader, you probably know I run a lot of websites. And you might have seen me mention that GoDaddy was my registrar of choice (or at least the one I used and recommended).

For years, GoDaddy had the best deals. While that might not matter much if you only need to register a few domains at a time, the savings can really add up when you have to renew dozens or even hundreds of them over the course of a year. So I stayed with GoDaddy even though I wasn't a fan of their advertising strategy and some of the behavior from its owner.

As of this week, I've started moving my domains away from GoDaddy to a company called NameSilo.

(Note: This is an affiliate link. That means if you visit their site by clicking this or other links in this post, and you happen to decide they're a good fit for you, I may receive a small commission for referring you to the company. The same is true if you use the discount code shared at the end of the post, or if you use the search box I'm providing for you in the post. You can read my full affiliate link policy here.)

Why I'm Leaving GoDaddy

I'm not moving everything away from GoDaddy at once. Instead I'm moving domains in monthly batches as they come up for renewal. I'm also not saying I'll never use GoDaddy again. I might very well use their first-year discounts for new domains related to new project plans. If I get to the projects within the year, I'll move them to NameSilo. If not, I'll either let them expire with GoDaddy or I'll still opt to transfer them.

The main reason I'm doing this is that I'm sick of GoDaddy's changes to renewals. In an effort to push their customers into buying a membership for their discount domain club. Where you used to be able to renew domains for around $10 with a simple coupon code, now you either buy into the club or pay $12-15 per renewal (for .com domains -- more for some others). Again, that would be fine and dandy if you only have one or two domains to worry about. But it really adds up if you have a significant number of registrations.

Basically, I don't like their new marketing strategy and the way it was sprung on long-time customers in a way that they could see as much as a 50% increase in their typical renewal prices. And you know me. I have very low bullshit tolerance when it comes to sleazy or overly-pushy marketing practices.

Why I Chose NameSilo

When I decided it was time to switch domain registrars, I did my research. I spent a lot of time perusing webmaster communities looking for customer feedback (not those registrar / hosting company review sites where the primary purpose is to make money referring you to everything at once).

NameSilo was new to me. I was shocked to find they've been around for about five years already. I was even more surprised to see the overwhelmingly positive reviews (you know us site owners -- when we have a beef with something we rarely keep it to ourselves).

Better yet, their regular prices are lower than what I'd been paying at GoDaddy for renewals for quite some time. Remember, most of my costs come from renewals rather than new registrations at this point. And with better prices, better feedback, and speedy support response (I tested that too), it's difficult to go wrong.

NameSilo's regular price to register a new domain is $8.99. And they charge the same price for renewals -- none of that higher renewal cost crap registrars are famous for. Even better, they offer free domain privacy if you don't want your information showing up in WHOIS records. I get a lot of spam from companies harvesting my contact info there, so this is helpful for my smaller sites where I don't mind the info being hidden.

So far, so good. I transferred my first five domains over. The process went smoothly and quickly.

I have low BS tolerance. They seem to have a no BS marketing strategy. So who knows? Maybe it's a match made in heaven.



And Now, to Nit-pick

While I'm loving NameSilo so far, that doesn't mean they're perfect. But the issues I've seen so far seem to be genuine mistakes, and they're more copywriting issues than service issues.

For example, if you look at their pricing chart you'll see that the renewal section claims they don't charge more for renewals, other than for .mobi domains. But if you look at the actual prices you'll see that currently they also charge more for .co renewals.

This is what I chose to email them about to test the support response. As mentioned, they got back to me quickly. And the support rep was quite friendly. They passed on the information and got back to me with an explanation. It doesn't change the fact that this is a mistake and it's misleading to customers, but at least they could explain themselves.

In this case, they're currently running a sale on new .co domain registrations. And it looks like someone put the sale price in the first pricing chart for new registrations, making it lower than the standard renewal price. That's not a problem in and of itself. The problem is that they neglected to update the other claim in their copy and / or clearly mark the new registration price as a temporary sale price in the pricing chart.

After contacting them about that, I noticed another issue with their copy, related to the first one. If you look at the home page and find the announcement about the .co registration sale, it says you "save 125%" off the usual price. I saw them tweet this too. But it's false.

Saving 125% off of the usual price of $22.69 would mean the company actually pays you $5.67. What they really mean is that the regular price is 125% higher than the current sale price. But that's a very different thing. And in advertising, you need to be careful about accuracy, especially when it comes to numbers. A correct ad would state that you save 56% off of the usual rate.

While it bugs me to see pretty basic advertising issues like this, if their biggest problem is that they need a copyeditor, that's still a huge improvement over most, if not all, registrars I've done business with.

NameSilo doesn't run a lot of coupons due to their regular low prices. But if you'd like to give them a try in registering a new domain or transferring one from another registrar, you can take an extra $1.00 off by using coupon code WRITER1 when you register or transfer a domain name today. To the best of my knowledge, their coupon code can only be used once, and on a single domain. But with their already low prices, you can still save significantly by switching.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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13 Comments

  1. Sharon Hurley Hall July 24, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for this, Jenn. I noticed your recommendation and it’s good to have some more background.
    Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted…Writer Marketing – How to Focus on ValueMy Profile

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern July 24, 2014 Reply

      I’m still fairly new with them, but so far everything’s been remarkably easy to work with so I suspect I’ll end up a long-time customer over there. :)

  2. Michael Goldfarb July 24, 2014 Reply

    I am with NameSilo. I saw this article thanks to the mention on Twitter. Just wanted to drop a note and thank you for the kind words and feedback regarding our company. I am very happy to hear you enjoy our upfront pricing, helpful customer service and no BS :)

    Also, thanks for the notes regarding what we can do better. We have updated our home page to show the correct % savings for the .co promotion, and have also added a new note to the pricing tables indicating renewals may be more than registration for certain special promotions.

    Thanks again for taking the time to let your readers know about us, and please always feel free to let us know with any other ideas for improvement.

    Michael

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern July 24, 2014 Reply

      I’m happy to hear that Michael. I love it when companies and those behind them are open to feedback and open to making improvements. That alone puts you guys well ahead of most of the competition. :)

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern July 24, 2014 Reply

      I took a quick look at the site to see the updates. Again, I appreciate you making them Michael. :)

      Just one more quick suggestion for the pricing page. While the added note about special promotions helps, it doesn’t make it clear that the .co prices listed there are an example of a special promotion. A simple tweak like using a different color for promotional prices or even adding an asterix with a brief note below the pricing chart would go a long way to clarifying that. This way even customers who scan through the pricing chart quickly will realize that it’s an exception to the usual rule. Better yet, it might even help to encourage more registrations by emphasizing the fact that those special prices won’t be around for long. :)

  3. Peter Bowerman July 24, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Jenn,

    Good stuff. Thanks for the legwork! Got their name set aside for when I’m ready to renew again (unfortunately, I just renewed several on GoDaddy for extended periods).

    And yes, GoDaddy’s higher pricing for renewals is irritating (“We’ve got you over a barrel, so we’ll gouge you a bit…”).

    And don’t you love how when you register/renew any domain, before you can pay, you’re subjected to a veritable arcade of carnival barkers yelling at you, trying to sell you every possible service/bell/whistle under the sun to go with that domain, and it literally goes on for pages…

    Good to know there are reasonable options out there.

    Had to smile at the “125% savings” reference. Yet another example of what’s known as “innumeracy” – the numerical equivalent of illiteracy – truly endemic in our society… But, that’s another discussion for another day! ;)

    PB

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern July 24, 2014 Reply

      In NameSilo’s defense, they fixed the 125% reference as soon as they saw it here (that wasn’t the one I emailed them about previously). So it’s fixed now at least. But I know what you mean. It’s everywhere. And it can be painful to see.

      And oh my goodness, yes. GoDaddy drives me crazy with their checkout process. Even the simplified version (it used to be much worse) takes two to three times as long as any other checkout process I’ve seen. I get that they make money nickel-and-diming their customers. But if I go in knowing exactly what I want, leave me the heck alone so I can place an order and give you my money!

  4. Lee July 24, 2014 Reply

    FYI: The link in the section above (“Your key to a more successful writing career”) is incorrect. I did finally find the link at the top of the page. Just wanted to let you know. Excellent site!

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern July 24, 2014 Reply

      Thanks for letting me know Lee! I’m assuming you mean the registration link. It works for me, but I’m not the best tester because I have special rules for what I can access from my IP address around here. I’m betting I missed that link when I moved to a front-end registration page. It’s updated now. Please let me know if you still have any trouble with it, or if you had problems with a different link. I’ll make sure I double-check the rest of the registration links today. Hopefully that’s the only one I missed. I appreciate the heads up. :)

  5. Anne Wayman July 24, 2014 Reply

    Jenn, why do you register and reregister at a place that’s different than your hosting company?
    Anne Wayman recently posted…Those Pesky Freelance Writing DeadlinesMy Profile

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern July 24, 2014 Reply

      It’s never really a good idea to use the same company as your registrar and host. Keeping them separate is a pretty basic step in protecting your sites from companies (like 1&1) which are notorious for holding domains hostage if you try to leave them for another host.

      If you get pissed at your host and opt to leave, with your domain registered elsewhere you can simply update the nameservers to point to your new host. When a domain is held hostage, the company makes it difficult or impossible for you to transfer your domain to the new company or make updates to point things to the new host. Some have been known to try to extort more money out of people before they’ll unlock the domain so it can be transferred. It’s much better now than it was even a few years ago, but transferring domains can still be a big hassle with some companies. Dealing with that plus a host change at the same time is a bigger pain in the neck than most site owners probably want to deal with.

      Do all hosts do this? Absolutely not. But there are enough reported problems like this (and there have been for a long time) that it’s not a risk I’d ever take.

      It’s also added security should anyone be able to access your account. By keeping things separate they’ll never be able to access both your hosted files and your domain (where they might otherwise be able to transfer it away from you).

  6. Anne Wayman July 25, 2014 Reply

    Thanks, Jenn… definitely food for thought although I’ve never had a domain held hostage… the security issues are worth thinking about too.
    Anne Wayman recently posted…Those Pesky Freelance Writing DeadlinesMy Profile

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern July 25, 2014 Reply

      Sadly this is one of those issues most site owners never see coming when it actually happens. I had 1&1 do even worse than that (a horror story for another day) back in the early days of my business. And given that your domain names are not only your homes on the Web, but also your branding, they’re not something I like to take many risks with.

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