My first-hand experiences not only allow but oblige me to tell you the truth about how a crucial part of the modern Internet is rotten and corrupt to the core, controlled by thieves and psychopaths. Caution: You may not want to spend time, money and efforts working on anything online after reading this. In a way, I guess it's probably for the best if most people don't know the truth. Nevertheless, I simply need to let as many as possible learn what's really going on out there.
The "Domain Name System" (DNS), put simply, is the part of the Internet which maps human-friendly addresses (such as
www.example.com) to the "scary" and difficult-to-remember "IP addresses" (such as
18.104.22.168) which are actually used by the computers under the hood. There are many complex technical details which are unimportant in the context and will be skipped here.
The crucial thing to understand is that for this to work in an acceptable manner, everyone must agree to use the same, global system. Otherwise, some Internet users might get a completely different Web site when they try to go to
www.example.com as it could be mapped to different IP addresses in different "segments" of the Internet in such a scattered, decentralized system. This would defeat the whole purpose of a global network. There are in fact various alternative so-called "DNS roots", but they are practically useless since they aren't used by almost anyone (as expected).
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the very-much-for-profit crime syndicate ultimately in charge of all this. Previously, it was InterNIC (whose Web site is still used by ICANN for various disinformation). They have assigned operation of each "Top-Level Domain" (TLD), such as
.se, to a specific company since they are only interested in sitting around and raking in the cash while pretending to give a shit about anything else. In the case of the famous and perceivably valuable
.com, VeriSign (previously United States Department of Defense) has been put in charge, probably by handing over the heaviest bag of bribes. These companies usually don't actually handle registrations directly, however, but in turn outsource this job to other third-party, for-profit companies which, as it turns out, are just a bunch of scumbag thieves, and criminally incompetent at best.
In order to register, transfer, modify or generally "own" or "keep" a
.com domain name (for instance), you must use an accredited "registrar". An accredited
.com registrar is simply any company from anywhere in the world that has paid a large amount of green ones directly to ICANN, and/or to the TLD authority company (such as VeriSign in the case of
.com). You need far beyond half a million USD to even get considered, ensuring that only large companies with a "maximum profits at any cost" attitude (more accurately known as "greedy subhuman scum") are able to get a license, making it impossible for any sensible person to get to handle domains without being completely under the control of said dicktards.
(Note: There are countless companies that appear and claim to be registrars but which really are just useless resellers of the "real" registrars, which have all of the actual power. Since these depend entirely on their "parent" companies, they have no real reason to exist.)
It is simply impossible to register/transfer/handle a domain "directly", regardless of the amount of money you are willing to pay. If you want to create a "private" registrar just for your own domains, you must create a dummy company and then pay the same fee as every other registrar. Unless you are made out of money, you can just forget about that right away.
These companies exist solely for one reason: to maximize their profits, at any cost. They have no other motivation and couldn't care less about the massive problems they are causing for people, such as lost domains. One customer, assuming he only has one domain, earns the average registrar a few bucks a year. How many hours of support/abuse department time does that pay for? 0.0001 hour? If people were to, say, bombard the company with fake abuse reports about a given domain, what do you think they will do? Naturally, since they are only in it for the money, they will drop the account. "That customer is a problem, so we drop him, and now he's not a problem anymore. Not to us, anyway. Next!" A properly managed registrar would logically direct their anger and efforts toward the idiots who file the fake abuse reports, and deal with the problem — not harass their actual customer.
However, this is not how things are done, because, again, their one mission is to grab the gold, and to do as little as at all possible. Ideally (to them), the entire process should be fully automated so they don't even have to hire any humans. What's next? Automatically block any account with more than three abuse reports? They have no pride or sense of "public service". Just keep that cash flowing in. "Will this controversial domain actually gain us and give us good PR? Let's keep it and ignore the crimes associated with it! On the other hand, this one we don't like. It may not be doing anything wrong, especially not compared to that other one, but away it goes!"
If the company name is EuroDNS, all of the above isn't enough. They simply steal it from you and ignore you from that point on.
I used to run a 100% legal (yes, really) site using a nice standard
.com domain, having previously done this for ages without problems (isn't that a stupid argument? "I never had problem!" Everyone says that until it happens to them…). In the beginning, the thought that this could ever happen had never even crossed my mind, and rightfully so, since I knew of all the insane and sick shit out there which never had any problems staying online.
One day, the first registrar told me that I had to move and removed the whois privacy I had purchased without notice. It is important to point out that virtually none of these companies ever would explain themselves in any manner, refund me or in any way cooperate; it was always: "We have removed the whois privacy. Now pack up and leave, quickly. We will not discuss this any further." in an inexplicably rude and hostile manner (the one exception being GoDaddy, who at least wrapped their asshole decision in a somewhat sugar-coated, fake-apologetic manner).
It's difficult to summarize this without leaving out important details and making it sound as if these were somehow legitimate actions taken by the companies. Basically, malicious people with some kind of severe mental illness would repeatedly send fake abuse reports as soon as we had switched to a new registrar, until they marked the account as "not worth the money it brings in". Nobody should ever have to be negatively affected by things out of their control. That's a very basic, obvious philosophy, but isn't often (ever?) practiced in the real world.
I would've happily paid up to 10x the price for an "extended service" to protect against this sort of abuse, by the way, but none of them provided such a thing and never replied to any custom offers. As expected. It would still not be worth it to them.
The "whois privacy" offered by various of the companies, which I purchased many times, is a big joke. There is no privacy. They'll randomly remove it without any notice or stated reason. It was not uncommon for them to immediately force-point the domain to their own Web servers, thus jeopardizing every visitor's security and privacy, and it was always unclear whether or not they would even let me transfer the domain away from them to another registrar, which they are legally required to allow as per their contract with ICANN. (Yes, I and others read it carefully. I'm not making any of this up.)
Note that it didn't matter that I used external DNS hosting (and, of course, an external server for the actual site). On the other hand, every time I would report an actual illegal site, protected by the same companies which treated me like this, they would ignore it or claim that they "have nothing to do with the contents of the sites for which we provide domain names". Don't believe me? I don't blame you. Clearly, it has nothing to do with legality, since they harass people with legal sites while consistently ignoring actually violating and abusive ones. I wish I were making this up!
Even if you know that the world is rotten and broken in many ways, experiences such as this just feel unreal. For the record, this happened roughly between 2008 and 2010.
When it eventually came to dealing with EuroDNS, they proved to be the worst, most incompetent, rude pieces of shit I've ever dealt with in my life, and that says a lot. It is very important to point out that this was not any kind of "hack"/compromise of either my account or the company's system. They had more than enough time to set things right after realizing their "mistake", except it wasn't a mistake but deliberate, flat-out theft. And (surprise, surprise…) they got away with it.
EuroDNS manually rejected the transfer away from them (illegal; in direct violation of their contract with ICANN), set the domain for deletion without the owner's active consent (illegal; in direct violation of their contract with ICANN), locked out all access to the account (illegal; in direct violation of their contract with ICANN), and ignored every of my countless attempts of contacting them for the entire "redemptionPeriod" and "pendingDelete" phases, which were designed to give plenty of time to resolve exactly this kind of situation (illegal; in direct violation of their contract with ICANN).
Simultaneously, I tried everything to contact both ICANN and VeriSign to resolve this at a level above EuroDNS, since it was apparent that they were deliberately ignoring me after stealing my property. I used their form for this purpose (ignored every time), I talked to VeriSign employees (they "unfortunately cannot help", which was clearly bullshit), contacted every damn employee individually for all these three companies, but nobody would even attempt to set this straight.
When it was 100% clear that nothing was going to help, I hired a company to register the domain as soon as it became available for registration again, to possibly save it in this manner. Of course, somebody else had done the same thing and got it instead, then attempted to scam-extort his way into receiving a large amount of money. Years of efforts down the drain due entirely to others' incompetence and malice.
All attempts to talk to the new registrar to get them to hand back my domain proved fruitless, naturally. Nobody is keeping an authoritative log of the actions taken to domains, so there was no way for them to verify that I was the real owner (but even if there were, they probably would've found an excuse to not do the right thing). When it was stolen by the criminal scumbags at EuroDNS, it had been paid for by me many years into the future due to the many jumps between registrars, each adding another year. None of that mattered, of course. It was gone forever.
Yeah. Why should you care about anyone other than yourself? Nobody gives a shit about anything, it seems, so why even write pointless articles like this? Venting, perhaps? I'm sure you can think of countless issues that are "worse" and "more urgent" to fix on this planet. That doesn't make this right/acceptable. It is clearly a problem, and in the context, a very serious one. It could affect you, either as a domain owner or as a user of a service having its domain stolen by EuroTrash or some other scammer posing as and being treated as a serious company.
If you cannot see why this is a problem, feel free to go back to doing whatever it is you normally do and ignore this. You probably don't even believe me, and you might think that it only happened once. Who knows? I got no media attention. I tried to get the word out to expose EuroDNS/ICANN/VeriSign, but the "journalists" are not interested in the truth, just as they ignore all other news that matter. It's just how things are in a world run by pure evil.
I cannot recommend a single good domain registrar, because if such a thing does exist, I haven't encountered it. Most of the ones you find will be resellers, thus have no say even if they mean well. However, I will list some of the ones which are 100% confirmed by myself to be scams and which you should avoid like the plague: EuroDNS, Network Solutions, Key-Systems (AKA domaindiscount24), Gandi, Moniker, GoDaddy, iDotz (reseller) and Easily.
Again, though: it doesn't really matter which one you pick. It's a fundamentally broken system.