I work as the technical contact for my home owners association, and we where unsatisfied with our vendor Nord Enterprises Inc hosting our Association website. It was setup by the Realtor, and was acceptable for the initial marketing of the facility, but the whole framework is clunky in its attempts to be Idiot-Proof™ and the anemic storage offered in the package was far less than I found to be reasonable. We continued with them for a total of 2 years because of some mis-communication between the Treasury Secretary and me, but in the end we made it clear that we intended to transfer out our domain name and take over hosting ourselves. The contract expired, and I began the process of transferring the domain only to be told that for reasons that make a good deal of sense I could not initiate the transfer on my own instead needing the Chairman or several of the Board-members to let Nord know that we wanted to start a domain transfer.
This is not completely unreasonable, but really was just a play in my mind to make renewal the easiest thing. Part of the service that Nord offers is they bundle hosting and Domain Registration into one package, but their site makes it clear that they will transfer the domain (that you own and are paying for) should you be unsatisfied with their service. Relevant quote included below:
Our interest in managing your domain name registration is simply to be a full service vendor and to make having a web site for your community as easy as possible - HOA volunteers are busy enough as it is. So, there is no need to worry that we would ever "hold your domain hostage". We would always make whatever configuration changes are requested, even if it meant pointing your domain to a competitor if we ever failed to keep you completely satisfied with our service.
I finally got my Chairman to request the transfer, on the 16th of July and received the following email.
Joe Driscoll, Nord Customer Support to me Jul 16
Sorry for the delay- the domain transfer process is actually out of my hands. I have notified my boss and he will be in touch to give you access to control the domain (and transfer it as well if you'd like).
Joe Driscoll, Nord Support- West Region
I never received an email from his supervisor </shock!> so I sent to following email.
you Joe Driscoll, Nord Customer Support July 31
Unless our contract specified otherwise, your company is in position of a holding domain that does not belong to you. It has been quite some time since we first initiated the request to get the domain transferred, and aside from my daliance in getting a hold of my chairman I have not felt any eagerness on the part of your company to complete this transaction. We are set in our decision to not continue utilizing the service that your company has offered, and would like to move forward with our plans for building a site that meets our needs. Currently I find your company the impediment to those wishes.
My delay aside, I am concerned that I still have not heard from your boss. I would hate to have to press the matter too many more times, I am sure that you know it is bad business holding domains that don't belong to you.
<redacted contact info>
Probably somewhat juvenile of me, but I did ask before and here is the reply I got.
Carl Nordhielm to Joe, me July 31
I’m sorry I have not gotten around to completing this task. I’ll try to get you out of the line of fire.
Please do not pressure Joe. He is not authorized to release domains or take other actions related to non-renewals. That is my duty as owner of the company.
I understand that you will not continue service with us and there is no militant in my not getting to the task. I’m just very busy and also very disciplined that tasks related to current clients take precedence over tasks related to former clients. I will not forget but do point out that responding to threatening emails takes time and motivation away from the task at hand of gifting you a domain name that is legally ours.
Have a good weekend!
Independent HOAs may utilize our www.pmlocater.com site to locate a quality PM in your market.
From: Joe Driscoll, Nord Customer Support
Sent: Friday, July 31, 2009 1:09 PM
To: Carl Nordhielm
Subject: [Fwd: Re: Website]
Josh is pressing for the cedarheightstownhomes.com domain name- see below.
-------- Original Message --------
<redacted my message for brevity>
At this point Carl has gotten my goat the rest of the emails happened pretty quickly
From me to Carl July 31 10:53am
I hardly saw a threat in the previous email, and I also don't appreciate your back-handedness on the matter. As I didn't know whom to contact Joe was my contact, so I asked for follow up. I did however read a threat to drag your feet in completing the task in your email. Completing tasks prevents you from having to answer emails from previous clients, just a thought no?
excusatio non petita accusatio manifesta?
From Carl to me July 31 11:51am
This is what I took as a threat:
I would hate to have to press the matter too many more times, I am sure that you know it is bad business holding domains that don't belong to you.
In any event, your interpretation of MY email is accurate: the more you distract me from my work (or to use your words, press that matter too many more times), the more I will drag my feet. Giving you something that is legally mine is an act of kindness. I do not feel any reason to be kind to you right now.
If you do choose further communication (I don’t recommend it—it will only cause me to delay even more), please restrict you emails to English. I am ashamed to say I only speak one language.
I had left the house at this point, and stewed on this email for a few hours. I had already registered another domain, but given that I felt we had paid for this one I wasn't about to just let this one lay. After researching the domain expiring procedure, I decided to finish the argument and pick it up in the drop (which is what probably would have happened had I not sent any emails in the first place.
From me to Carl July 31 9:54pm
I suppose if you fail in English you would struggle mightily with Latin. The phrase had to do with defense where there was no accusation, only you accusing yourself. I never suggested you had militant[sic] or ill intent as I am sure that spell check fixed that for you. I did suggest that you hadn't fulfilled your final act of service to a canceled account. Pressing the matter is reminding you that you have not finished your duties. As to your kindness and ownership, if your service is as it says, just minding the domain for the convenience of your customers, and will transfer and not "hold my domain hostage" should we be unsatisfied with your service I would say that fulfilling that would be meeting an obligation, not kindness. If our organization was charged monthly for the service of you maintaining it for us then I think there are very few that aren't Internet bullies that would find your claim of ownership defensible.
The failings in overall service while you had our business are thrown in sharp relief given the outright mistreatment you have afforded me now. Mind you this is not Joe's service, I mean the service you charged us monthly for, that was an utter disappointment of a hosting platform. Joe is without reproach.
Keep the domain, I would hate for your twisted sense of pride to believe that you had done me some kindness by following through.
I never received a reply, and several months later picked up the domain in the drop. I am sure that I could have handled it differently, but given that we paid monthly for their time I think they could have handled it better. I am sure that there are people that appreciate their service, though I cannot imagine who. The HOA's that are hosted with them have to build their own site from the ground up any way, and for what they charge you can get multiple years of hosting on some of the low cost hosting providers with about 10x's the storage. In the end I sat on this post for nearly a year so that I could get the domain picked up and not goad Carl into registering it for the next 3 years just to spite me.