Companies with massive competitive advantages can get away with being jerks. But in the world of domains, where margins are low and the products sold are literally the same (a .com is a .com is a .com), you only get ahead by providing better experiences and being better global citizens. Not to get philosophical, but it's in our best interest to "be the change you want to see in the world," or in our case, to "be the domain register we'd want to use for our own projects."
Basically, with our people-first lens, our focus is on four things:
Being a business, it'd probably make sense for us to charge for add-ons people might want. And on top of that, it'd make even more sense to dig into all those profitable secondary markets like domain auctions and premium name sales. But that's not the company we want to be.
Our goal is to be as honest and clear-eyed as possible. There are a million things that go into that, so we've distilled a lot of our general thoughts down to a small list of promises we hold dear:
- Privacy is, should, and will always be free. (We just turned WHOIS privacy on by default for all applicable domains, which should help tremendously.)
- Our business model is selling first-run domains, and that's it. No secondary market activities, no auctions, and no premium name sales. And while we're in list mode, we also don't participate in shady practices like domain front-running, placing ads/parking pages on unused domains, selling expiring domain lists, and registering domains under our name.
- All the emails you get from us will be critical or opt-in. Spam only tastes good fried.
- We hope to earn your continued business, but if you'd like to transfer your domain(s), we'll do all we can to ensure a safe and speedy move.
When you're "in it," it's easy to think of the domain industry as simple. Things just start to make sense. But when you're buying your first domain or even your fifth, there are some challenging things to deal with. Like obscure terminology. Confusing security settings. And especially those strange looking DNS records you need to point your domain to a website.
There's always room for improvement, and we're actively trying to simplify the domain buying/managing experience in every way we can. But we're quite proud of what we've created. Here are some of the key features:
- The big search bar on the home page, free of clutter and noise. No weird ads for in-house email systems. No promos to distract you from what you're looking for.
- Our simplified plugin system, which lets people use the best platforms on the web with their domains without having to deal with potentially confusing DNS records.
- The fact that we don't have any confusing add-ons people have to pay for. Our system is easy. You buy a domain, then do what you want with it without paywalls.
- Our email-only support system. No hold music, no confusion, no low-level employees waiting for manager approvals. When you're in the middle of a problem, we understand why not having a phone line can be frustrating – but for the best, most comprehensive solutions, email is king.
This is the internet though, so we're well aware that our work isn't done. We currently have a fully responsive site in the pipeline which will make mobile domaining possible, and have some significant updates to domain search and management we're excited to roll out.
Be Good to Our People
Here's our dystopian vision of domain registrar hell: huge buildings packed with dimly lit cubicles, a management structure that pits employee against employee, lots of suits, lots of meetings, and even more Powerpoint presentations. We didn't want to be that, so we built something different.
We believe remote work gives our staff the best possible work/life balance, so we're entirely location agnostic. We also don't think it's good for people to constantly be working, so we actively pressure people to take more time off (burned-out employees aren't very productive). And perhaps our most interesting policy, we pay everyone the same salary, no matter the role. (If you think your support staff is less important than your developers, you either don't have a good enough support staff or you don't value your customers.)
Is our company culture perfect? Probably not – we do have our share of unique struggles. But our turnover, in this era where people aren't expected to stay put for more than two years, is remarkably low. And that consistency makes our small company a formidable force in an industry where profits and growth are often valued over people.
Be Good to the World
This is a tricky subject because altruism by no means determines how "good" someone is. But since we have the means and the time, we're proud to be able to do some good with it.
For starters, we've been donating 10 cents from each domain registered at iwantmyname to global aid charities since our 5th anniversary (December 2013). It's a small amount, but it adds up as our volume of domains under management grows.
Here are the charities we've supported so far:
- Save the Children
- One Percent Collective - NZ
- IDEP – Bali
- UNICEF/Cyclone Pam – Vanuatu
- UNICEF/Super Typhoon Haiyan – Philippines
- Good For Nothing Challenge – Cambodia
Money can only go so far though. With our time, we also actively support Startup Weekends and entrepreneurial events around New Zealand, the South Pacific, and wherever else we might be in the world (Paul and Lenz are good Twitter follows for those sorts of things).
And finally, our greatest gift of goodness: as your domain registrar, we promise to stay out of your way as much as possible. We're not going to track you, spam you, judge you, or intentionally lock you out of anything. If the internet is society's greatest free speech experiment, we fully support anyone who wants to join in.