By Jonathan Griffin. Editor, SEO Consultant, & Developer.
With Namecheap’s historical record on campaigning for Internet Freedoms, especially concerning its campaigns against SOPA, there was always a great chance the Namecheap CEO ( Richard Kirkendall ) would be well received by the Reddit Community on their IAMA (Ask Me Anything) subreddit.
Reddit users are known to ask sometimes uncomfortable questions, as well as surprisingly educated and informed questions. This is what makes the IAMA subreddit extremely popular and attract even the most famous stars, as well as the more unknown with obscure, but interesting professions.
We have already reported on Namecheap’s Move your Domain Day (27th January) where they were offering cheap domain transfers as well as raising funds for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This IAMA was made to raise more awareness of this fact, and indeed from the comments, there were numerous examples of people moving their domains to Namecheap.
We have summarized all the main Questions and Answers below, ordered by popularity (i.e. no. of upvotes), as well as indentations to indicate any threaded conversations:
Q. Any plans to update the domain management interface? The main site refresh looks great but I feel like I’m stuck in 2008 when I login. Also, I’ve been a Namecheap customer for a few years now and just want to say thanks for the great service. Today marks the day I’m finally free of Godaddy as I finish transferring the last 33 domains on that account to my Namecheap account.
A. We have something in the works as I type this. Game changing stuff we are working on! Expect to have your socks knocked off in the coming months!
Q. Please, please don’t go the GoDaddy route and make uncommon, but still important, tasks (ex. domain DNS transfers) more difficult. Also, when submitting CSR’s during SSL certificate purchases, it would be terrific if there was an intermediate screen w/ a dump of the CSR info and a confirmation (instead of immediately using it). Yes, I double-check the CSR after making it, … but, occasionally, a triple-check would help overcome my dumb :)
A. Thanks for your comments and suggestions. Simplicity is what we are going for here. From what I’ve seen, I think we are getting it right.
Q. please don’t pull a Moniker on us. the biggest pile of shit I have ever used.
A. We promise, this is all being built in house and to our high standards. We’ve made it through 5 of these re-designs so we know what it takes to get it right. We won’t let you down.
Q. Would your team consider better features to move domains? Specifically, I have moved some domains to namecheap already, but had to manually copy & edit the DNS entries (A records, C records for all sub domains, blog.x, forum.x, etc). It would be awesome if you could have a DNS quick-setup option where we put in another domain, and you “copy” the DNS records, to create the sub domains, and just ask us to check it over & tweak it before final saving.
A. Hey foomacho, great question. We have a concierge service for our clients which makes transferring a domain and its records a lot easier. You can just create a support ticket with our team and they will do the work for you. The concierge team will handle all of the details and make your domain work just as it did at your previous registrar. We are also adding better tools when our control panel re-design is finished in the coming months.
Q. “…and they will walk you through the process.” Number one thing anyone who wants to have a successful product needs to know. Your customer is a fat lazy [****], who dosent want to be “Walked through”. I believe what Mr.Foomacho is asking is for a button he can click and have his domain automatically done for him.
A. edited. they do everything for you.
Q. Yes, I want a button, not because of my size or laziness, but because I don’t want to bother people for something that could be done more efficiently on their side too. It’s all pretty minor though. I do use NameCheap for 20+ domains & it works fine. That said, anything that reduces customer friction gets you more customers over time, & I want them to succeed.
A. agreed, and we will address this.
Q. TOTP two factor auth coming anytime soon?
Q. Authy ftw
A. and yes :)
Q. I moved all my domains from GoDaddy to Namecheap when they came out in support of SOPA. I’ve been happy with your service since. My question is did namecheap suffer any negative consequences by opposing SOPA and getting involved in policy?
A. We had a few complaints from people in favor of it believe it or not. I simply asked them to move their domains to that “other” registrar if they wanted a company that was in favor of it.
Q. What’s the benefit of moving the domain?
A. Benefits, hmmmm well there are many. First off, you are getting a domain transfer for less than the cost of renewing a domain because we also add a free year to whatever time you have remaining on the domain. Secondly, you’re transferring to a company that cares about your security, privacy and providing you the best customer service available. We really do care about our customers that much. Lastly and most importantly, we donate up to $1.50 to EFF for every domain transferred to us. EFF is out there every day fighting for your digital rights. It’s a cause everyone should care about.
Q. And this is available worldwide or only in US?
A. It is available worldwide.
Q. Why the extra fee for Whoisguard? Shouldn’t internet anonymity be a right? That’s my opinion.
A. Ok this is a great question! Let me just start by saying not all privacy services are created equal. While you may think that all it takes is simply changing your information and masking it, what happens when an attorney or someone else comes knocking threatening legal action? That’s when you will know that you get what you pay for. Many services will simply turn off or handover your information at the first sign of trouble. Whoisguard will fight for that right and has gone to court many times defending client rights for access to info. In fact Namecheap has been included in many lawsuits without ever settling because we did not turn over customer information. Most other providers including some listed here outsource their protection services without going to bat for their customers like we do. I think that makes a difference. And just to be clear, WhoisGuard is free the first year and we are dropping the price for renewals thereafter to $.99 very soon. In the meantime you can use coupon code WGspecial to renew for $.99 as well.
Q. Thank you for explaining this so well. I’d always been bothered by this one little feature that Namecheap charges for. It’s important to know the value it provides. Maybe this can be made more clearly to customers?
A. I agree, look for more info to be posted on our site. I want to personally spell out better what protections we afford you with this service.
Q. I am a NameCheap customer, and I love that you accept Bitcoin payments! What share of your payments are in Bitcoin? (If this is a question you don’t mind answering )
A. Thanks kmdr - we like Bitcoin too. A single digit share of our daily sales are now in bitcoin, and we’re seeing volume grow every month. An interesting tidbit…we see deposits increase when bitcoin is volatile.
Q. You were pretty early out as a bitcoin merchant. Would you care to describe how much hassle it was to set up the while thing? How is the cost/benefit of it looking so far?
A. no hassle at all, Bitpay is great. No cost and all benefit to our clients!
Q. Do you take a percentage out
on in Bitcoin?
A. no fees on bitcoin.
Q. What is your view on the requirements and what exactly is a free & open internet?
A. Hello Slutty(feels strange addressing you that way but ok :), This is what we use at Namecheap internally to guide us: Internet Freedom What it means: Internet Freedom is everyone’s right to publish and consume content on the Internet without any unwelcomed effect from outside forces. Internet freedom consists of four pillars:
- Freedom of speech the right to express any opinion online without censorship or intimidation.
- Right to Online Privacy the right or mandate of personal privacy concerning the storing, repurposing, provision to third parties, and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via the Internet.
- Anti-censorship the control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet.
- Net Neutrality the principle that ISPs should facilitate access to all content and applications equally, regardless of the source, and without favoring particular companies or websites that pay for special treatment or faster delivery.
While we take a strong stance on Internet Freedom, we also believe in our obligation to be socially responsible. We do not support activities that can cause harm or injury to others, or violate basic human or animal rights.
Hope that helps!
Q. What’s your favourite new TLD?
A. My favorite is .online - not out yet but soon I believe.
Q. Long time customer. Thanks for doing this AMA! Namecheap you are pretty inexpensive for domains but the website is not the greatest. Support is OK. I guess I like that you don’t try and sell me anything I don’t need but that’s about it. What do you the CEO think it is about Namecheap that people love so much?
A. I think most people love us for two things, our customer service and peace of mind that we are an ethical business that will always do the right thing to protect our customers. You can sleep well at night knowing that we are here watching what we consider to be an invaluable asset to our millions of clients.
Q. If several people search a domain name and don’t buy it, does the price go up?
A. if it is unregistered the price stays the same!
Q. Do you plan to work with reddit on any other projects?
A. We love reddit as an organization and think the community is really strong. If it makes sense to work together, we definitely would but there isn’t anything in the pipeline.
Q. Does Namecheap support puppies?
A. We love puppies! Meet our Namecheap mascot, Zoey! ;)
Q. Where can i buy one of those sweet hoodies? o_o
A. https://twitter.com/Namecheap/status/560133155818967040 - We’ll donate $1.50 to @humanesociety for every domain transferred to us using code “PUPPYLOVE” - we love puppies! ( https://twitter.com/Namecheap/status/560130653782409216 )
Q. Hi! I’m glad that there is still competition in the registrar market, but from my perspective business seems to flow to the registrar through word of mouth (like if employees at X company are discussing hosts/domain purchases, they’ll decide on a certain registrar in bulk), at least for new users. Do you think this is the case, or is the opposite true? How have the numbers of accounts created varied since 2011, particularly on the MYDD? Key question: it has gotten better over the last year or so, but why are many registrars still rocking 199X’s graphic style and site layout? Is it part of a savings/budget thing? Like how I buy cheap beans instead of Heinz’s new shiny cans Thanks for the AMA, and best of luck for 2015, of course
A. Well it all depends on what your view is towards marketing. You have some companies out there that have used things such as superbowl ads and risque marketing techniques to reach the masses. That seems to have worked well for them but at what costs? There are ways to get your message to the people without offending others and helping society in the process. I guess you can say all is fair in business but we prefer not to do things that way.
Sure, we care about providing a a great customer experience and selling domains but we also care about the people using our services and the society we are a part of. If we can use our marketing dollars and capital to help make society better at the same time, then why not? We treat marketing and social activism as a synergy.
MYDD has been and is our biggest marketing push of the year and it works tremendously well and it also helps socially in the process so people talk about it and us. It’s a win win so to answer your question, we’ve seen some great growth since 2011 and most of it is via word of mouth.
Regarding your question of registrar design, I think it has a lot to do with registrars not really thinking outside the box and more about what else is possible with a domain. A domain name is such a dynamic thing and the uses for it are endless. I’m excited to say, we have a lot of great and forward thinking products and ideas that are domain related that you will be seeing with us in the coming months. Stay tuned!
Q. Has Namecheap ever been approached by the NSA (or related agencies) to give up information on (or stop service for) one of Namecheap’s paying customers? How would (or does) Namecheap react to such situations?
A. No we have yet to be approached by the NSA that I am aware of. If we were approached by law enforcement, we would only comply with a legal order.
Q. Hey Richard! Love Namecheap and seeing you guys at our college tech events all the time. Care to give your thoughts on hackathons?
A. Hey Max! We love supporting you guys and being a part of all the hackathons across the country. You guys are the future and we want to be a part of seeing you guys succeed from the beginning! Expect our support for a long time :)
Q. What was the motivation/reason behind giving students free .me domains?
A. Most students aren’t in a position to buy a domain name yet I still think they are a vital piece of your online identity. Having your domain name could follow you the rest of your life. We want students to know that we are a company that cares enough to help them now and in their future and we want to be a part of that.
Q. You guys are currently hosting one of my domains. I love how simple it was to setup and the security features. I would like to know what influences the cost of domain names. Is it entirely based around popularity?
A. Hey StreamingPanda - thanks for the compliment! The majority of a domain name’s cost is comprised of fees charged by the registries that provide them to us, like VeriSign for .com and .net for example. For our part we try and keep your price as low as possible!
Q. Love Namecheap so much! Thanks for your service. Your Bitcoin adoption is the main reason I’ve chose you, and I stayed for the good service and commitment. A few questions: Any chance of Dogecoin acceptance? Odd question, but I hold more Dogecoin than I currently do Bitcoin. What’s the weirdest domain you’ve ever had registered with your service? I’m sure there are some weird ones. What’s the highest traffic / most well known website registered through Namecheap that you know of?
A. We haven’t looked at Dogecoin yet, are they the next bitcoin? I’d love to answer your questions but can’t for the sake of our client’s privacy.
Q. What do you think about the new gTLDs and do you think that they will ever become as popular as .com? EDIT: Well that sucks I wanted to transfer all my domains to namecheap today but your agent just told me this: “To my regret, it enables the price of $3.98 for .com/.net/.org/.info/.biz domain transfers ($4.16 including ICANN fee where applicable)”
A. Some are nice and serve a purpose, especially if you have limited choices but .com will always be the gold standard of domains, period.
Q. How do you feel about Google entering the domain registration market? And what does Namecheap offer that Google doesn’t?
A. We feel we are up to the challenge. It takes quite a bit of micromanaging to run a domain registrar and help customers day and night. We love it, let’s see if they still will after some time.
Q. Are NameCheap domains compatible with weebly?
A. They sure are. Check out this guide
Q. Ex-employee of GoDaddy here: I was very close to moving all of my domains out of GoDaddy to Google when the recent announcement was made. The one thing about domain purchasing was the element of “domain privacy” if you don’t get it.. you are definitely leaving yourself open to a lot more spam than you already receive, but the domain companies charge just about the same of annual registration for the privacy. Why is this domain masking costing customers any money? It seems that it should be included as an element of customer service.
A. Some offer it for free, we charge a bit because we actually fight to protect our customers in courts of law. In fact there are some legal precedents that have been set because we have fought cases in court.
Q. Hey! I hope I’m not too late to firstly say thanks for doing this AMA, I’ve been a namecheap customer for a couple years now and have had no problems (aside from the common one of no discount for renewing customers but I read /u/tamar ’s answer on that so I understand). My question is you are actively supporting the EFF and net neutrality. Do you know of any other big companies or even small companies that provide services we all use that also do? i.e. VPS providers, hosting companies, popular websites, etc.
A. There are quite a number of us out there, although, I can’t answer to what degree each supports these issues.
Q. Why is it I can now register .com.au domains with you guys but cannot transfer existing .com.au domains to you?
A. We are expanding our cctld options and .com.au transfers will be a part of that.
Q. Any plans to implement being able to acknowledge and proceed when a user runs up against a trademark warning on a domain? I have some names I want, but unfortunately they’re covered by a pretty broad trademark notice, and your service doesn’t support the “I’m not infringing, move on” button that most registrars do.
A. Yes, we are evaluating this and I want to see a better solution than what we currently have as well.
Q. I partied with you once years ago. Got pretty drunk, more than I should have. I still feel like an ass to this day about it. Am I forgiven?
A. If I don’t remember it didn’t happen, so yes ;)
Q. Does your offer apply to non-US/non-top-level domains? Can I for instance transfer a .org.au domain?
A. Unfortunately not.
Q. Did the culture at NameCheap change on MYDD, and if so how? From my perception, an also-ran registrar saw the backlash GoDaddy was getting for supporting SOPA and wanted to position themselves as an alternative. I wasn’t familiar with your company before that, but the name portrays you as the Walmart of registrars (e.g. bargain basement - equivalent of GoDaddy). Did you frame yourselves as protectors of Internet freedom before MYDD, or did you grow into that role as a result of GoDaddy’s actions?
A. I can tell you personally that this is an issue I care deeply about. In fact, I had tweeted my position on SOPA before the Godaddy fiasco came about and I had actually learned their stance on the subject. So I am on record that this wasn’t simply a knee jerk reaction. That being said, having your competition come out in favor of a bill like this inspired us even more to be proactive against this bill happening. Sometimes that’s all it takes to light a fire under you as an organization. There’s real passion and integrity behind our efforts here.
Q. Favourite type of cheese?
A. Love all types of cheese. I would have to say some baked camembert with honey is delicious but also love monterrey jack for my quesadillas.
Q. Hi co-founder of stemhacks here! Stemhacks is a 24 hour high school only hackathon, one of the first in PA! We would love to have namecheap involved and was wondering, would you be interested in sponsoring or being a part of the event? Our website is at www.stemhacks.com and our email is [email protected] Thanks again and please up vote so he can see this!
A. That sounds great! Please email Ted at Namecheap dot com with the details. He is our hackathon master. :)
Q. Why so much for .io domains?
A. We are the cheapest on the market. :)
Q. When reaching out to customers in China, does the DNS regsitar matter in terms of getting through the GFW? What I mean is, does there seem to be a black list of DNS registars or does China employ any kind of blocking at the DNS level?
A. From what I understand, yes, this could make a difference in access to chinese users.
Q. I am a broke college student and have purchased 16 domain names from you. I also love your secure login and in general everything that you do. I’m curious from a marketing standpoint, what was your biggest struggle creating your business?
A. The biggest struggle was getting that initial traction going and not knowing whether all your hard work was going to pay off. All I can say is eat, breath and sleep your business when you first start and if you fail, get up and try again but you need this type of commitmet to truly succeed. Anything less and your chances of success are very small to none.
Q. Richard, Why not rotate which non-profits you support and maybe support organizations like the Mozilla Foundation or Apache or others through out the year?
A. We have certainly been considering widening our focus. There are other charitable organizations we support such as Waterschool.org. We just made a 50k donation to them a couple weeks ago at namescon.
Q. Are you any relation to Ernest Kirkendall, the engineer for whom spontaneous void formation in intermetallic compouds like the gold-aluminum “purple plague” is named?
A. While that sounds like a cool uncle to have, I can’t claim him as a relative :)
Q. Why do you guys ask for the last few characters of my password whenever I contact support? I can’t think of any good reason you guys would store my password in plain text…
A. We only ask for a pin number that is in your account.
Q. Are you glad your last name isn’t Kuykendall?
A. Honestly, I always wondered about that. There are definitely more Kuykendalls out there than there are Kirkendalls. I think there was a mixup on Ellis Island somehow.
Q. Do you have plans to implement a Bug Bounty or Responsible Disclosure program?
A. We already have one in place. Get in contact with our risk department if you have something to report.
Q. You guys are an awesome registrar, thanks! Is there any plans to update the two-factor login to include the ability to have an authenticator app generate codes? SMS is unreliable here, and when I travel, I change SIMs.
A. We’ve been getting tons of requests on this and I am going to be making this a priority.
Q. I got heard of you guys a while back, trying to get my own website. I still havent been able to figure out past wordpresss and make it an actual website, its been like that for 4 months now. Do you think NameCheap will ever have a better tutorial than it has now to help those who want to learn? Thanks.
A. We just hired a new wordpress wiz. Look for some great things from us that will help you with a much easier set up experience.
Q. What went into your decision to accept Bitcoin? What do you think about blockchain technology?
A. At the time, we thought it was an awesome new technology that could be a game changer in the way CC processing is done. Anything that helps disrupt the old credit card guard is ok by me.
Q. What are your plans for growing NameCheap?
Every registrar offers domains, web hosting, SSL Certificates and the like- but none of them (at least the last time I checked) actually offered all (or even most) of the services that new businesses need.
Think about it this way: You have an idea for a company so one of the first things you do is register a domain name.
Great- then what? Before you start spending money on a web site- you should probably incorporate, or form an LLC, or whatever. Instead of being able to do that through you- your customers end up going to LegalZoom or another such service.
Now they’ve registered as a business and you help them design a web site. But wait- they need a logo- so now they’re off to a site like VistaPrint to get someone to design them a logo.
Now they have a logo and a web site- so you help them set up email. But they want to be able to set up a mailing list or a shopping cart- off to another provider again!
Now they want business cards and stationary- oops! Back to VistaPrint or another such company.
And what about a phone line and 800 number? Oh well- off to yet another provider!
Whether done with partnerships, or through acquisitions, why hasn’t any registrar put together a total package for new small businesses? You’re literally one of the first places people go when they get an idea for a company (always secure the domain name first after all!) so why not do more to keep them in your ecosystem?
I’m asking because I was a senior network engineer at one of the top 3 registrars back in 2005 and management there never saw the possibilities- despite sitting on a huge pile of cash earmarked for acquisitions. Everyone I spoke to that had started a business loved the idea- but no one was offering such a complete package at the time (again- this may have changed since then).
A. I like the way you think, all I can tell you us stay tuned! Give is a couple months and you won’t be disappointed!
Q. Hi Richard. 7-8 months ago I submitted my university for acceptance into the discounted student programme you offer. After 4 months I asked the live help what’s up and they said just wait longer. 3 months later I asked again and got the same response. Why does it take 8 months for a university to be added so that students can sign up to your service?
A. We often have to check with your uni to ensure that it meets a certain criteria. There’s a chance that an administrator from your school never responded to our inquiry. What is your uni? Sorry for the wait!
Q. How much money do ya rake in and how many ferraris do you have in your garage?
A. No ferraris here, both my cars are over 25 years old.
Q. Any plans to accept Bitcoin?
A. We’ve accepted bitcoin for a couple of years now.
Q. Does your SSL service have a programmatic way to generate SSL certificates? I have used GoDaddy and the interface is beyond clunky. We generate several thousand SSL certificates for all of our sites and brands and doing this manually is so painful.
A. Hey inrouted, We are working on an addon for cpanel. If you private message me, I can get you in touch with our SSL manager and he can try to make things easier for you if possible.
Q. Just left my previous registrar because I found out they’d been bought up by Endurance years ago but was generally unsatisfied with the overzealous liberties they’d taken “securing” my LAMP stack.
I got caught up in the 2011 drama but have had two pretty terrible experiences with two different companies since leaving GoDaddy and have only ever hosted with one company that wasn’t complete crap and that was Hostway.
I’ve been considering moving over to Namecheap for a long, long time especially after you started accepting BTCs but am a picky dev on a shoestring budget with discriminating taste who is more than willing to bring my issues to support and make sure my complaints get to the right people even if it’s a business mechanics issue that could only be properly addressed by directors. You can probably find better customers if you don’t like hearing about what you’re doing wrong.
So my question for you is this: what makes namecheap stand out against it’s competitors like GoDaddy, HostGator (and friends) and all of the domain registrars who exploited the negative publicity GoDaddy deservedly received? GoDaddy was an easy target and most providers are substantially worse. What puts Namecheap ahead of the game besides not being GoDaddy?
A. I’ve posted on this before, we care, this isn’t a publicity or marketing stunt. We were against SOPA before godaddy came out in favor of it. As far as being a grumpy customer, come on over and complain away. We want to help you succeed and get your work done as quickly and as easily as possible. We are a patient bunch :)
Q. If we buy PrivacyGuard, our name is no longer in the whois database. Does that mean that technically we don’t own the domain?
A. No, you own your domain!
Q. hey, have you written extra code to make it particularly easy for me to move my domains from godaddy?
A. Hope on our livechat and ask for one of our transfer concierges to help you out.
Q. Can I has a free domain?
A. Sure, if you’re a student you can get one at https://nc.me/ !
Q. I have 12 domains with you guys! Any interest in sponsoring a University of Houston Hackathon? :D
A. Definitely! Please email Ted at Namecheap dot com with the details.