Consumers Speak: Yahoo! Domains Nightmare

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Mike Harris provides this epic tale of woe dealing with Yahoo! Domains:

I detest the support staff of Yahoo Domains. I detest them with the passion of a thousand white-hot suns. Not only has the experience entirely soured me on Yahoo! Domains, it has soured me on pretty much any for-pay Yahoo service.

Mike Harris provides this epic tale of woe dealing with Yahoo! Domains:

I detest the support staff of Yahoo Domains. I detest them with the passion of a thousand white-hot suns. Not only has the experience entirely soured me on Yahoo! Domains, it has soured me on pretty much any for-pay Yahoo service.

It all began on November 10 when a friendly little e-mail was sent around to Yahoo Domains members entitled “Updating your WHOIS information.” I went and checked mine, and, by God, my personal domain was registered to myself at the address of one of my former employers. How embarrassing. So I go and follow the instructions to click on “View/Edit Your Registration Information.” However … there *IS* no link to “View/Edit Your Registration Information,” just to “View Your Registration Information.” I shoot off an e-mail to Yahoo! Domains Support.

So much more after the jump.

I get an e-mail back on November 14 later from “Dexter” asking me for my Yahoo ID, domain name, ZIP code, alternate e-mail address, date of birth, and the last eight digits of my credit card and my credit card type (re: the latter — seriously — through unencrypted e-mail?). On the 15th, “Dennis” writes me to tell me that despite asking me for everything but the size of my endowment, they were unable to “verify that information,” and ask for my ZIP code and alternate e-mail address. (Despite the fact that I *wrote* to them from the alternate e-mail address and had already provided them with my ZIP code.)

Later that afternoon, “Dennis” shoots me the exact same e- mail. I tell him to check his inbox again. The next day, I get an e-mail from a man who would prove to be the bane of my existence, “Miles.” He tells me that because my website’s nameservers aren’t pointed to Yahoo (a move that LivingDot, my website hoster, prescribed in order to have my website name point to where they were hosting me), “[i]t seems that Yahoo! is no more hosting provider for your domain and is not further capable to modify any information related to your domain.” I point out to him that the Yahoo! Domains > Advanced area allows you to change your nameservers, that Yahoo never hosted my website (just my domain name), and that Melbourne IT is the registrar that THEY work with, and what the heck are they talking about?

“Miles” dashes off another e-mail the next day, this time chiding me if you can believe that, saying that, “As you have already been notified that according to the public Whois records your nameservers are not to Yahoo!. You only signed for the hosting service with Yahoo! but your domain name was directly governed by the registrar Melbourne IT. You can also confirm this thing after entering into your account, if you will go to the registration information page, there might have been written that ‘To edit your contact information, please contact your domain registrar’. Again I request you to contact your registrar to edit the domain registration information.”

Note again that Melbourne IT is Yahoo! Domains’ registrar. Miles appears not to know this. I’m getting a bit sick not only of Miles’ lack of knowledge but of trying to decode what he’s trying to say, so I write back asking him to “[p]lease escalate this matter to your supervisor.”

On November 19th, I shoot Yahoo! Domains an e-mail saying, “I have now heard from no one in the past 52 hours. Please have Miles’ supervisor respond.”

Nothing. “Miles” evidently took my request for escalation as a cue to dump my support ticket in the trash.

on November 25th, I shoot Yahoo! DOmains another e-mail, resorting to the Internet cliche of all capital letters, writing: “I HAVE NOW HEARD FROM NO ONE IN THE LAST WEEK. PLEASE HAVE MILES’ SUPERVISOR RESPOND. THE TICKET IS #. I AM A PAYING CUSTOMER AND SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED! THIS BEHAVIOR IS DESPICABLE!"

This time, "Phoebe" writes back on the 28th, "Your email did not contain enough information for us to determine your question or problem." (Despite the reference to the ticket.) Once again, she asks me for ... you guessed it. "Your Yahoo! ID, your domain name, a clear and detailed description of the problem, the exact steps you took before the problem occurred, the text of any error message you received."

I turn 10 shades of red. I think about how much plane fare to Yahoo! headquarters might cost. I count to ten. I go watch a movie. And then I come back, and write a long, polite summary, explaining how I'm dissatisfied with Miles' service, the responses to date, and so on.

Guess who responds to my e-mail?

Okay, really, think about it. For the most comic effect, what idiot would have to be the one to respond to that?

Yup. Miles. Miles responds.

And suggests I call a toll-free number for their technical support center.

I call them. I'm put on hold for ages. I finally get through, and I get someone who has no idea how to help me. They try to find an answer for me ... and I'm told by them to contact Melbourne IT. (Melbourne, by the way, in AUSTRALIA.) Despite the fact that I never initiated any sort of business relationship with them.

At this point, I'm starting a new job, and I really don't want to be making transatlantic calls, and I'm close to just saying, screw it. So I put it aside for a while.

On December 28, after Christmas, I decide to try to pick things up again, when I realize that I don't need to be making transatlantic calls; I can just shoot Melbourne IT an e-mail.

Within seconds, I'm told by an autoresponder: "A Melbourne IT Reseller manages the domains specified in your message. Please contact this reseller using the details below for any assistance you require. If the person you contact refers you back to us, ask them if they would please contact us on your behalf."

I write them back, telling me that Yahoo! Domains is insisting I talk to them. They respond that they "have escalated [my] request to [my] reseller."

The next day, "Daniel" writes me. And, we generate yet another moment of golden comic homicidal-feelings- producing rage when "Daniel" gives me the exact same set of instructions that we saw way back when on November 10.

(In the meantime, I decide to check out Yahoo's claim that the change in nameservers means they can't update my registration information. I contact my website hosting to see if that claims is true. LivingDot tells me no: "If the domain was registered through Yahoo, you can only update/change your information through them, unfortunatly we dont have any access to any of your domain details. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with!")

When I tell "Daniel" that I can't do what he tells me and why, repeating yet again the entire saga, I get a reply from "Georgia" (really, do they just work off the alphabet here?!?!) telling me that "Changing (re-delegating) your domain's nameservers away from Yahoo! will render all services for your account inoperative. You may continue to manage your WHOIS contact information through Yahoo! and we will continue to renew your annual domain registration. So, if for any problem of your domain, you need to contact your domain's current hosting provider."

Please note a golden phrase in there: "You may continue to manage your WHOIS contact information through Yahoo! and we will continue to renew your annual domain registration." What I've been asking for all along, in other words. Yahoo! Domains has NEVER hosted my website, just registered my domain.

So I write back on December 29th: "Okay, Georgia, if I can continue to manage my WHOIS contact information through Yahoo!, how do I do this? There is no way for me to edit my registration information through Yahoo."

Once again, "Dexter" responds, asking me the traditional set of identification questions for what is now the fifth or sixth time. I provide them again. Dennis writes back ... this time asking for the "additional information" of "Please provide us the information you want to edit in your WHOIS."

No, we're not going down there. "I would like to edit the information myself through the 'View/Edit Your Registration' option. Please clarify why I cannot do this 'normally.'"

On January 1, they write me and say, "We're looking into any difficulties you reported and we apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. Please be assured that we're continuing to take steps to make Yahoo! Domains the best domain name service."

Five days later, today, January 5, there's still been no response.

And there, anticlimactically, is where we currently find ourselves.

I've been told by Yahoo Domains that it's the nameservers. I've been told by LivingDot that it's not the nameservers. I've been told by Yahoo Domains that it's the registrar's fault. Melbourne IT confirms that Yahoo Domains itself is the registrar, just as the WHOIS information and Yahoo's own help pages say. I've been shuttled around from Dexter to Phoebe to Dennis to Miles, to off-site and back, made to wait for days and weeks between responses, been asked to repeat identification details five or six times, and still, after TWO FRICKING MONTHS OF THIS, have no answer. No answer at all.

If you ever find yourself tempted to do business with Yahoo Domains ... don't. For the love of God and your sanity, stay away.

And, God willing, some Yahoo higher-up will stumble across my record of this mess and decide that for the sake of their business, a little house-cleaning is in order ... beginning with Daniel, Dexter, Dennis, Phoebe, and Miles ... and, no doubt, continuing with their yet-to-be-discovered colleagues, Abigail, Buster, Chris, Diane, Englebert, Franklin, Gary, Harry, Irene, Joseph, Krista, Larry, Moe, Nancy, Ophelia, Paul, Quinn, Rocket, Sissy, Tom, Uter, Vince, Wanda, Xander, Yolanda, and Zeppo.

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