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Guest Post: Saga of a Stolen Domain Name and How it Was Recovered

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This is a guest post written by Name.com Community Evangelist, Jared Ewy. This article discusses the theft of DavidWalsh.name and how it was recovered.

At Name.com we like to take care of the customer.  We know buying something online can sometimes feel like a lonely endeavor that ends with money dropping into the tinny nethers of the ‘net. Our goal is to make sure your experience is the exact opposite, filled with real, handmade help that leaves you knowing you’re not alone. When you buy something from us, or if you simply have a question about one of our products, we’ll take care of you. Many of the questions we get are simple enough to be handled in 140 characters or less. Sometimes they get fairly complex, and sometimes they lead to downright dramatic international capers. The latter would be the case of the missing domain DavidWalsh.name.

It seems impossible by now that someone wouldn’t know that David Walsh’s domain was stolen (check out our dramatization here).

From the time Mr. Walsh first Tweeted @namedotcom about his missing web address, to the time it was retrieved, the entire ordeal has been a primer on the power of social media. David Walsh shared with us this situation:  his domain had been stolen and he was wondering if we could help him get it back.  A few tweets later we had enough information to find the alleged thief in Ukraine. Meanwhile Walsh and his thousands of Twitter followers started trending the hashtag #FreeDavidWalshDotName. It was big and getting bigger.

We hadn’t planned on contacting the alleged thief, but it turns out he was more accessible than a certain other company’s customer service!  Even more amazing, the alleged thief (he says his friend stole it using his account) used his actual phone number on the Name.com account that briefly held the stolen domain. After giving up on traditional means, Name.com Domain Operations Manager Scott McBreen decided to put some pressure on the suspected domain wrangler. With The Ukraine on speed dial, Scott was able to get the purported scofflaw to transfer the domain back to Name.com, where we were able to give it back to Mr. Walsh.

It was exciting and stressful. The domain had originally been held by GoDaddy before it was stolen and briefly registered with us, and then whisked off to 1and1. It seems the thief would have kept moving the domain around while sending cryptic ransom notes to Mr. Walsh if it hadn’t been for the heroics of our domain operations manager, Scott.

We’re happy to have helped get the domain back.  Customer service defines us as a company…  it’s what we do here.  In our spare time we’re obsessed with Twitter and Facebook. If you leave a comment, we’ll get back to you.  With a situation like Mr. Walsh’s we felt a little like the  Blues Brothers  and on a divine mission to make the situation right (and if you don’t get that reference then stop what you’re doing and educate yourself with the Aykroyd/Belushi classic.)

In the end everything worked out. David Walsh got his domain back, Scott has been enshrined on Twitter as a legend, and we have this opportunity to remind you that most all Ukrainians are good people. In light of all this we’re celebrating with the promo code “DAVIDWALSH”. Use it to get $7.25 COM/NET transfers in and $6.99 .NAME transfers. All of your transfers to Name.com include a year of registration.

If you’re looking for a domain registrar with world-class customer service and people who strive to simplify hosting, web sites and SEO, then you’ve found your place. If you need any more info just hit us on Twitter @namedotcom for Facebook.com/namedotcom.

Using .CO & .ME Locally

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I saw this newspaper dispenser in Portland, Maine this morning and thought of you so I snapped a photo and want to share it. A number of companies in Maine (state abbreviation is ME) are using .ME as if it were its own local ccTLD.

This afternoon, I saw the Name.com video I embedded below, and it makes a similar point, but with a focus on Colorado (state abbreviation is CO).

Because Google allows domain owners who own .CO and .ME domain names to target visitors in the US, it makes sense to some companies in Maine and Colorado to use their states’ respective abbreviations. I won’t be surprised to see New York City businesses using .NYC in the near future.

BTW, one of the things I like about Name.com is their videos. It’s a small company and their weekly videos are great for building the brand and allowing customers to get to know the company. I feel like I know many of the people, even though I haven’t met all of them.

Name.com Labor Day Sale

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Name.com has a special offer for domain names in honor of Labor Day. From now through midnight MST on September 5, 2011, you can get special rates on .com, .net, and .US domain name registrations when you purchase them using the coupon promotion code ‘HARDWORK’

The special prices are set at:

  • $6.99 .US registrations
  • $8.49 .COM registrations
  • $7.99 .NET registrations
The only fine print I saw is the end time/date, so it doesn’t appear that there are any limits to the number of domain names that you can register or that can be registered as part of this promotion. If I hear otherwise, I will let you know.

Domain Name Coupon Codes & Discounts

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Buying cheap domain names is something we all want. Why pay the price listed on various domain registrar websites when you can use a promotional code or coupon code to get a special discount price for your new domain names.

Here are some tips to get discount or promo codes from top registrars, including GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Register.com, Name.com, Dynadot, Enom, Moniker, Fabulous, NameCheap, 1 & 1, and other leading domain name registrars:

  • Search Google for “domain name coupons,” “domain name discounts,” or other similar term
  • Be more specific and search Google for “Godaddy coupon” or “Network Solutions promo code”
  • Sign up for domain registrar newsletters to receive special offers
  • See previous emails from domain registrar to take advantage of offers
  • Visit the domain registrar website and see if they have a tab for special offers
  • See if partner sites like Paypal or hosting companies have coupon codes
  • Find coupons on auction sites like Ebay

Read a more comprehensive article I wrote about domain name coupons.

Guest Post from Ashley Forker: Name.com, Now With Mint Flavor

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Name.com LogoThis is a guest post from Ashley Forker, Marketing Coordinator at Name.com. I asked Ashley to give some insight into the re-design of the Name.com website and tell you what’s new and what’s changed.

A big thank you to Elliot for the opportunity to introduce everyone to the new Name.com brand!

Our rejuvenated brand marks a new era for Name.com, we hope you’re ready for all the exciting changes and new products to come. A dedication to innovation is the driving force behind our new brand. That means you can expect a plethora of new tools, products, and features to help you find great domain names and start capitalizing on them. Our new brand is a refreshing step forward for us as it allows much more of our personality to shine through.

If you’ve done business with us in the past you’ve more than likely picked up on our casual, friendly vibe (our intelligent customer support team does not read from a script for example). Our customers also witness our inventiveness first hand by using our unique tools such as the newly launched DNS Traffic Score tool. Our new brand’s aim is to take our technical sophistication and communicate it in a less mechanical way. Our updated design feels more free-spirited and less structured, yet still technologically progressive, which is a much better reflection of who we are. In other words, we’re a little less robotic and a little more Pollck.

Our main goal all along has been to make the web more fun, more useful, and more accessible. We feel our new brand reflects this goal as well as some of the new products we’ll be launching in the coming months including an extremely user friendly website builder, a SEO tool, an iPhone app, and much more. Along with these new products we’re always experimenting and playing around in the Name.com sandbox that is Name.com Labs.

The new homepage and header/footer are just the start of the changes we’ll be making to our site between now and the end of the year. We are completely revamping our search, checkout, and account management tools to make searching, registering, and managing your domains and products even easier. Don’t worry, we know our customers love us for our simple, easy to use, and non-cluttered interface and we intend to only enhance these features during the upcoming redesigns. We understand what’s important to our customers and we’ll stay true to those core values as we move forward.

Along with these exciting product launches, we will continue with our large security initiative over the next three months. Though we already feel we’re a leader in the industry, we’ll be launching a handful of new security features and products to insure your domains and products are as safe as they can possibly be.

As you can see, we have a lot up our sleeve. The momentum around the office has been building for a while now, we felt it was the right time to update our brand to better reflect who we are and set the stage for what’s to come. Stay tuned, this is really just the beginning!

Name.com Launches Android App

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Name.com TransfersI just learned that Name.com introduced its Android app today, and it is now one of the only ICANN accredited registrars to produce one. This new app allows people to search for available domain names, register domain names, manage website DNS, and perhaps the most unique aspect is that its the first mobile domain backorder platform.

According to Name.com CEO Bill Mushkin, “We chose to develop an Android app first because it really spoke to the core of our open source roots and the fact that we have a large international customer base. With the Android operating system’s rapid global growth, we can now reach customers whose primary access to the Internet is not their computer, but their mobile phone, and provide them with all the tools they need.”

Owen Borseth, Senior Software Engineer and lead developer on the app, added, “We wanted our app to offer more than just registration and domain management features. Our domain name backorder service,  Domain Nabber, is one of our most popular services, so it was a great addition.

For more information about the new app, or to download it for free, you may visit  http://www.name.com/Android.

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