This post is a short story about my experience with the domain, immi.us. I was attracted to the idea of owning immi.us because I wanted my own platform to share information about the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative. I try and talk to anyone who will listen to me about the IMMI and why I think it’s so important.
The story starts out with me inquiring about the cost of the domain since it was parked at the time and owned by a company dedicated to domain squatting. I hate companies that do that so I don’t feel sorry for how things have turned out.
I received two messages with the same content but was not interested in dealing with the ridiculous price. So I left it at that for a few months.
I felt anxious again and decided to email them directly, ignoring their previous communications.
Still being frustrated by the high price for immi.us, I noticed that the domain was expiring soon. There was no harm in waiting to see if they’d let it go, especially with their last message sounding like they were willing to let it go for less than their imaginary asking price.
I also noticed that it was registered with GoDaddy. Gross, I know, but one of their services was clearly worth it considering the outcome. I signed up for GoDaddy Auctions (godaddy.com) so that if the domain were to not be renewed, I could try to bid for immi.us.
This was my best move ever with regard to domain management, because, it turns out, the company who was parking it didn’t pay for renewal. And I was the only bidder for $12! So much for 2,000 GBP (~$3,000).
So I was a happy little camper. I used (and still am using) immi.us to host a WordPress blog for documenting the news about the IMMI. I even spoke about the IMMI and the immi.us website in October at InfoCamp (infocamp.org) 2011 at the University of Washington, which was successful because I ended up getting feedback from one person who is now a good friend.
The tides turned as I became even more educated about politics and the internet when the SOPA and PIPA bullshit became hot topics. GoDaddy helped develop the legislation (thedomains.com) and I couldn’t tolerate using them as a company anymore.
While netizens were sharing information (reddit.com) about who to avoid, who to use, and why, I learned quite a lot and discovered that Dyn is a registrar. Dyn was both transparent and educational about SOPA which I have a lot of respect for:
I finally got around to starting the process of a domain transfer.
In the mean time, I received an unexpected email from the company who formerly owned immi.us. The timing was really weird.
LOL? I didn’t bother responding.
The transfer was taking longer than any transfer I’ve experienced before. I inquired but didn’t get anything useful.
But something completely unheard of to me had happened during the transfer process. It failed, and at this point in time, neither GoDaddy, Dyn, or Dyn’s registrar-parent Tucows knew why. More on this further down.
After a couple of weeks, speaking to GoDaddy support and Dyn support, I finally had my issue escalated to Tucows since WHOIS was correct and they were listed as the registrar (the .us TLD affiliate of Tucows). A gentleman by the name of Paul had called me to inform me about Tucow’s relationship with Dyn. Here’s a partially redacted transcript of the nice voicemail he left me:
Hi, It’s Paul from Tucows returning your call. Christopher, it looks like DynDNS is a Tucows affiliate, so they are a reseller of ours, so whereas you may not see them when you query WHOIS, they are indeed your first point of contact. But because Tucows runs a wholesale model, you’ll see us in various parts of the Internet, and you may see them in various parts of the internet. This probably isn’t making much sense. But, can I invite you to send me an email to [redacted] at Tucows dot com and I’ll try to clarify it a bit better for you. Thanks.
So obviously Paul at Tucows wasn’t fully aware of my situation, so I sent him an informative email to help the situation.
And here’s what had happened according to Dyn!
…there was a problem on there end due to DNSSEC being enabled on the domain. This caused their system to believe the transfer failed and subsequently fail in our system (including cancellation of payment).
So if you ever have DNSSEC (wikipedia.org) enabled on a site before transferring, be mindful of this possible issue! To the best of my knowledge, I did not disabled DNSSEC on GoDaddy’s’ end prior to transfer. GoDaddy did, in fact, successfully transfer the domain away. Tucows had a problem receiving the domain because of the DNS key signing.
Upon investigation, it looks like ICANN was looking into the issue:
DNS/DNSSEC and Domain Transfers: Are they compatible? (PDF)
Further, it looks like (dnssec-deployment.org) GoDaddy is not a competent DNSSEC operator.
There is a downside, of course, and that is that it will be hard to move away from an incompetent DNSSEC provider. However, you can do that by removing the DS completely from the parent (i.e. going insecure), in which case none of the checking by the registry is needed.
Had I known, I would have just removed my DS records prior to moving. Cheers!