Saturday, November 01, 2008

Yahoo domains bait and switch

I got an unpleasant e-mail a little while back from Yahoo domains. I bought a domain name with Yahoo last year for a site that my son runs using Blogger.

When I got it last year the price was $9.95 a year. That's a pretty good price and Yahoo was good to work with so it seemed like a good deal. However a little while ago Yahoo sends me an e-mail informing me that the yearly renewal price on the domain is now $34.95 per year going forward.

Say what? A 250% price increase in 1 year?? I find that hard to believe. It could have been worse I guess. Over on a JoS thread it turned out that some earlier people weren't even told until after they had been billed about the obscene price increase.

If Yahoo had said up front the original $9.95 was just an introductory teaser price and the real price was $34.95 I never would have bought from them in the first place. But they didn't say that. I have a printout of my original bill where Yahoo said the next years price would be $9.95. It's pretty disappointing Yahoo would use tactics like this. This is something you would expect from the likes of scumbag MBNA, not Yahoo. I noticed Yahoo laid off over 1000 people recently, no surprise there.

I expect Yahoo will make money on this deal of more than tripling the price. Possibly at most half the existing customers will cancel. Many customers won't notice or care about the new price; or lack the technical ability to switch; or have other stuff like hosting and web sites etc. bundled in so it is more intertwined and they feel they are stuck with it. Plus new customers who for whatever reason would have bought at $34.95 anyway will still come in. And with fewer customers there would be less DNS servers to maintain, less support calls, less bandwidth to purchase. That plays in well with the layoffs.

Still trust, reputation, integrity, and confidence can take a long time to build up. But they can be torn down pretty quickly. Historically if you did a word association on the terms "Internet" and "trust" together I think a lot of the responses would include google, yahoo, ebay, amazon, paypal. But going forward I would be hesitant to do business with Yahoo since they have demonstrated I may not be able to trust them. That's a real effect but not so easy to assign a cost to in the financials.

So I canceled the Yahoo service and transferred the domain over to GoDaddy. They are easy to work with. A guy I used to work with said he was with GoDaddy and they were good. They even had a step by step PDF document on their site explaining how to switch your domain from Yahoo - I guess a lot of other people are ditching Yahoo too, no surprise. The price was only around $10 CDN a year after the exchange rate conversion. They take PayPal so I didn't even have to give over any credit card information.

The GoDaddy site is very well designed and easy to use. If you have the technical ability to set up a domain with Yahoo in the first place then you are capable of switching it to GoDaddy. I have all positive to say about GoDaddy so far.

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