Call me Batman. I’m Leaving Joker.com.
Editor’s Note: This post is an excerpt of my post on Six (6) reasons why I dislike GoDaddy.
Why did I leave Joker? After using them for years? (For those unaware, Joker is a registrar company that sells domain names.)
The Good. Well, first the good stuff. I liked Joker’s ad-free, straight-forward interface. With my eyes closed I could navigate their back-end control panel for many common tricks web developers need to do with domain names (URL forwarding, A-names, etc). They don’t bombard you with on-screen ads and e-mails to purchase products you really don’t need but that you might purchase if you didn’t know any better. Secondly, any domain name in their system could be renewed by anyone without logging in. Meaning, if I wanted to be generous and renew a strangers domain name, I could. This made it easy for clients to renew their own domain names. Third, their low price of $7 per domain saved my clients a lot of money.
The Bad. Joker doesn’t offer 24-hour phone support. In fact, they provide e-mail support only. And while the physical location of a registrar is really irrelevant in our day of virtual business, it unsettled a few of my clients that Joker is located in Switzerland. “What? They are in another country?” Maybe that didn’t bother me as much since I lived in Germany for six-years. Besides, who ever needs to visit their registrar company in person? No one! No one physically goes to Go Daddy or any other registrar company. Everything is done by phone, chat, or e-mail. But alas, this fact still seemed to unsettle some folk (as though people in Switzerland were our enemy). And while Joker’s interface was easy for me, it was not so simple for end-users or persons with little technical know-how.
The Ugly. Joker’s setup doesn’t automatically create a unique username or password for my client’s domain names like other registrars do. When logging into Joker, I’d see a hundred or so domain names that I manage for people. Convenient, yes. But for obvious reasons, I could not release my personal Joker log-in information. Otherwise, my clients would have access to other client’s domain names. I had one client who owned some “top secret” names (as he called them). He certainly didn’t want anyone else knowing the number of domain names he owned. But clients would ask for my log-in information. Naturally. Because naturally clients want to sometimes manage their own domain names or transfer them. Of course, it’s more convenient for me to have all the names in one spot, if my assistance is required.
You see, Joker’s setup requires my clients to create their own free Joker account for them to manage their own domain name. I’d have to then move the domain from my account to theirs. I thought once of creating e-mail addys on behalf of my clients that redirected to their e-mail address, then creating the free accounts for them, but ultimately it’s better if they do it because they need full control using their own e-mail address.
I excolor-boxed this process to one client, offered to help her do it, and she thought I was trying to deceive her. “Just give me the password that you use to access my domain,” she demanded.
So I re-excolor-boxed the process and again offered to help her with it. She just smiled at me, hugged me, and said, “Okay.” Coming to find out, she consulted other pastors and mutual acquaintances of ours, asking them, “What should I do since June is holding my website hostage?” Unbeknownst to me she found another webmaster who worked with her and Joker to acquire access to her domain. Then proudly told me what she had done. She’s still thinking I’m trying to keep her from her domain name.
While it’s almost comical reflecting back at the lengths she went through to avoid me helping her, it was very painful for a client to question my integrity. I even offered to work with her new webmaster to transfer everything over and she refused. Long story short, that experience was my “last straw” with Joker and I haven’t used them since 2007. Some clients I setup way back when are still on Joker, and they happily renew the domain name there yearly.
I no longer recommend NetMinisty for similar reasons (more on that to come in a future blog post). NetMinistry is also known as ChurchForce, Inspyre, or Christian Webmaster. I now exclusively use Bluehost for domain name management, hosting, and content management via WordPress (the self-hosted kind of WordPress, not the kind hosted at wordpress.com). Plus more. They have free e-learning modules, free newsletter systems, and restores at the touch of a button.
I save my clients lots of money with my new setup and it’s all one company behind the scenes that they can trust and interact with directly using their own username and password. With the same budget they can make multiple websites compared to the companies and services I used to use and resell.
GoDaddy offers domain names & web hosting too. But I don’t recommend them. Read why.