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All Things Internet™ since 1999


Register.com Still Playing Transfer Games 10 Years Later

10 years after ICANN first implemented its inter-registrar domain transfer policy, Register.com is still leading the way in customer-hostile game playing that serves no real purpose other than to stem the bleed of customers away from their high prices and poor service. Here’s a recent email that I received from them when I tried to transfer a domain name away from them…

You recently requested an auth code to transfer your “somesillytestdomainname.com” domain name.
Your request has been processed and at this time it has been declined due to recent suspicious activity in your account.

Register.com is committed to providing the most secure and reliable domain services for our customers.
We have implemented specific security measures to help prevent unauthorized transfer of domains to another registrar.
The type of suspicious activity that could have caused your request to be declined includes:
- Multiple failed attempts to login to customer’s account
- Recent changes to the account holder’s name, email address, or login ID
- Attempts to access the account over the phone without authorization
- Recent changes to the accounts password
- Domain name lock not removed
- Recent changes to billing or credit card information

To receive your auth code, please call one of our customer service consultants at 1.888.734.4783. They will confirm you to the account and then fulfill your request.

Thing is, most auth code requests receive this type of a response. From what I understand, it is basically impossible to retrieve an auth code from them via the web.

This is one of the reasons we work so hard at Hover to understand what other registrars are up to and invest so much in systems and processes that help customers move their domains. Most of them are playing games, making it virtually impossible for regular people to move their business to a new registrar without jumping through a myriad of self-serving hoops. If you ever want to move your domains to Hover from a hostile provider like Register.com, feel free to give us a call and let us take care of the details. It certainly beats having to get a PH.D (Doctorate in Domains) just to move your business to a new provider.

(and yeah, I’ve heard the whole “we are worried about our customers security” argument a thousand times before. Domain hijacking is no more prevalent at registrars that don’t play transfers games than their are at ones that do.)

  • Sara Toole

    Hi Ross,


    We understand that your intention with the above post is
    to help your customers, and we appreciate your efforts to make domain name
    transfer processes as easy as possible. That’s why it’s important for us to
    clarify two of the points you’ve made in your post.


    1. “impossible to retrieve an auth code from them
    via the web.”

    Customers can obtain their auth code both online and by
    calling us. Most of our customers successfully complete this online. From the
    extract of our email that you posted above, the reasons for additional
    authentication are transparent and stated clearly–it is a security measure for
    the protection of our customers.


    2. “virtually impossible for regular people to move
    their business to a new registrar without jumping through a myriad of
    self-serving hoops:”


    Again, it’s important for us to note that we process
    numerous successful transfers on a daily basis.


    Domain hijacking occurs in the domain industry and is a
    continual threat. Several registrars have similar measures in place to protect
    customers from domain hijacking. Even though the customer who wants to transfer
    intends to leave us, we still work to make sure that their domain name transfer
    is actually authorized. We strive to maintain excellent relationships with our
    present and past customers.


    If you have any suggestions or have had problems with
    domain transfer related issues, please email me and we will definitely work
    with you.

    Sara Toole
    Director, Social Media


    • register.com.FAIL

      still an issue in 2013 — they wanted $100 (for administrative assistance) in renewing a domain , for $37.00 !!!

      We updated acct info, started a transfer, and there is no method to get an auth code online! Even when you notice that you can scroll down off-page to get to a “get auth code”, you then have to go thru an advert screen, then a warning screen, before getting this message:

      If your request is approved, you will receive your Auth Code by email in 4-5 days.


      • Ugh. Brutal. I wish I could help somehow!

        Good luck with your transfer.

  • Oh Ross, so much fun here!

    I see this fairly common, any recent change to registrant information prevents the ability to transfer a domain. This was under fire years ago, and determined as an invalid reason for blocking transfers, but still happens since the registrars will call it a legitimate security concern.

    More often than not, the contact info is being updated or the password reset because it’s the domain owner’s first time logging into the manager, like ever. The information may be several years old, and they figure they may as well take care of it while they’re logged in. Using this as a roadblock to prevent the transfer just feels nasty.

    Allowing a second method of gaining the code, like by phone, simply makes sense. The example here does, so I wouldn’t call it impossible. But it is still a little bit of a headache for the poor customer.