Why .COM domain name is important

(initially this was a reply to the discussion on WebHostingTalk in regards to the .ws domain name for web hosting business web site)

Running your company’s web site doesn’t really require .com domain. However, for marketing purposes, .com domain is almost a necessity, since most people are so much used to all domain names ending in .com (unless you are running del.icio.us, but that’s whole another story and you wouldn’t need an advice in such a case). One of our clients is running a web site with .us domain (actually, he’s the only client who has a non-dot-com domain, as far as I know), but he is marketing to a different niche and in a different way.

In the early days of .biz and .info these TLDs were offered at a huge discount, or even for free. A lot of fraudsters, scammers and spammers have grabbed nice looking domains in those zones which led to the common perception of these domains as “knock-offs”, “fakes” or businesses in third-world countries that shouldn’t be trusted. Currently it’s not exactly true, but that’s what we usually hear from prospective clients when choosing domain name for their web sites.

.COM is a must if you are running E-commerce web site. I would also suggest same approach if you are running web hosting business. There are a lot of aftermarket names you can snatch for a very low fee (we also have some hosting domains for sale). If that’s too expensive – your business model must be wrong.

Skype’s Marketing (part 2)

You didn’t think that Skype has improved much since July, when I wrote this post. Right, me neither. However, the page at the URL posted has changed, creative folk at Skype is still going bananas. This time – about Skype Pro.

What’s a Skype Pro? Oh, that’s easy – “Skype Pro™ is our all-singing, all-dancing bundle“. That’s merry, but what are the features that included in Skype Pro, you might want to ask. I did, and here is the answer: “It’s jam-packed with everything you need for one low monthly fee”.

But what are the features that this jam-pack is jam-packed with? I bet you will find the answer just the easy way I did. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Help section, click on Knowledge Base
  2. Just for kicks – search Knowledge Base for words “skype pro” – returns no results at all
  3. Scroll almost all the way down or use your browser’s Search function for “skype pro”
  4. Click on “More Skype Pro Topics”
  5. First article on results page – “What is Skype Pro?” – has the information that should be sufficient to make that decision. To be exact, the following is the full content of the article: “Skype Pro is Skype’s premium subscription that offers the easiest way of getting the most out of Skype.“. If you are, for some weird reason, still unsatisfied – click on the link for more “jam-packed” blabber.

Now, I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade here, but to me this looks like a worst usability I have ever seen. Soviet programmable calculators circa 1987 were friendlier then Skype’s web site. And if you think I am exaggerating – try searching Knowledge Base for words “What is Skype Pro”. See the answer for yourself.

Netfirms does not want you to quit

Beginning this year I grabbed couple of special hosting deals with Netfirms. I was attracted by low cost and ability to run PHP4, PHP5 and .NET all under same account. As I spent more and more time trying to figure out why the heck a bunch of familiar and well-worked out scripts wouldn’t run on Netfirm’s hosting platform I came to know how messed up the whole deal was. Tech support responded to my e-mail after 4 days (I already forgot I filed a ticket). Performance was iffy at best – sometimes on par with my home-run server, sometimes way slower. ASP.NET application that runs without any tweaking on my company’s internal server failed to start in seemingly similar environment on Netfirms. You think I could use their tech support? Yeah, right.

So couple of days ago, as both my domain and account were reaching expiration date, I decided to move out. Transferring domain was the easiest, so I did this as soon as I have made the decision. Canceling account, however, is a much more difficult task. First of all – there is no way you can cancel from your control panel. And, there is no way of canceling via e-mail request to support. The only way to cancel the account with Netfirms is to call their toll-free number (I don’t want this idea to really get out, but I was expecting a 900- number) between 9am and 5pm EST and request the cancellation over the phone. Let me check what year is this? Right, still 2007.

Generally, I wouldn’t go over such a routine task as canceling some online service unless there was some incentive. Well, the incentive is as follows – nowhere on Netfirms’ web site nor in their knowledge base does it say how to cancel the account. While doing the digging I stumbled upon some blogs that describe exactly same problems with Netfirms I was facing – poor service, non-existent customer service, hard-to-find cancellation procedure.

However, I don’t see anyone at Netfirms to care. They seem to be overly busy taking new sign ups.