Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Office Snapshots

If you ever wanted to know what offices look like around the world, visit Office Snapshots which gives you a peek into some of these offices. Its a nice site that gives you an idea of the diverse range of offices that exist out there from the "kewl" offices of Ogilvy to the drab offices of craigslist.org . Then there are the usual ones like Yahoo, Microsoft and Google that we all know about. Anyway take a look and let me know what you think is the kewlest office out there.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Beware of net4.in

For those of you new to websites - there are two parts to any website going live one is to buy a domain name (i.e. Domain Registration) and the other is to host the website content (i.e. Hosting Services) and this can be done with the same service provider or two different service providers. If you host the content on one service provider and buy the domain name from a different service provider then you have to go and tell the Domain registrar (the service provider you bought the website name from) the server address of where your website is hosted (you can get this from the hosting provider) and this is called changing of the name servers.

Net4.in is a service provider in India that provides all these services and many more and I have been developing some websites for a client that had registered their domains with net4.in. About a couple of days ago the client realised that his site was down and was not able to understand why it had suddenly stopped working so he checked on the net4.in website and he realised that the registration had expired earlier this month but when he checked on the internet using a whois search the site was still registered in his name. So he tried to contact net4.in to renew the website, they asked him to pay a premium of Rs.10,000 on the website if he wants to buy it. So if the client wants the website address he has to now pay Rs. 10,599 and not just Rs. 499. This is in the so called grace period of 7-15 days that they have in case you forget to renew the registration and this fact is not mentioned anywhere in their FAQ.

They claim that after the grace period they will release the domain name to the public to buy it again but going by my experience with them I am sure they will get a subsidiary to buy the domain name and charge you a great deal of money to buy it again. A domain name is like your brand name and you are completely lost if you don't have it and these guys are using that fact to make more money. If you do not trademark the name there is pretty much nothing you can do on the legal side to try and get the name of the domain.

This is downright cheating as most websites now do an auto renewal and also remind you a million times that your domain name is expiring. I have registered domains with domaing8.com (.com domains), one.com (.in domains), 1and1.com (.com domains), indiatimes.com (.in domains) and I have never ever faced an issue with anyone of them.

Some of the other issues with net4.in that I have encountered are
  1. Their support is just pathetic. If you call up their helpdesk numbers you are put on hold and then suddenly the line gets cut informing you that the mail box is full. You have to call multiple times to get thru to them.
  2. After you get thru to them the person answering the phone cannot really help you as they are not technical staff so all they ask you to do is raise a service request and they will answer it in 4 hours.
  3. I raised a service request and it was not handled for close to 1 day and that too after giving them calls every 4 hours.
  4. Their online support on their website is offline all the time. I am not sure why they even have it there.
  5. They completely ignored what I had written in my service request and sure enough the problem was never solved. The service request was that changing the name servers on their site did not work as it was always getting reset back to the net4.in nameservers but they didn't read the issue properly and they tried changing it themselves and without monitoring if it was getting reset they closed the request and sure enough the nameservers got reset to their own name servers and my site still does not work.
I hope anyone wanting to buy a domain name or space to host their website stays far away from this service provider as the basic issues that they have will not make it a pleasant experience. There are a lot of better service providers out there and many of them are a lot cheaper than net4.in.