OpenSRS: Reseller Friendly since 1999
 

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Ting co-op print ads

tingprint

It has come to my attention that not every reseller visits our Marketing Resources every day. So I wanted to quickly highlight some co-op print ads we created to help those of you that promote Ting.

We have three versions, highlighting different benefits. Each come in two layouts – a standard magazine and a half-page horizontal newspaper. Each focus on the significant savings that businesses and families could realize by switching to Ting.

There is a blank area for your “Authorized Reseller” logo and a call to action that should be customized to include your unique URL. We provide PDFs for easy viewing, EPS files and the Ting font file.

Enjoy! Please let us know if you find these useful and if there is anything else we can do to help.

The Internet Infrastructure Coalition

imagesIf you’ve spent any time reading us or drinking with us, you have almost certainly heard a member of the Tucows herd singing the praises of the Open Internet and vowing to either enlighten or destroy its enemies. It’s sort of our thing. We are thrilled and humbled by what can be achieved when billions of people have access to information and a vehicle to communicate, collaborate and co-create. We are increasingly wary of large corporations that are willing to compromise consumer experiences and impede progress to protect their market shares. We are similarly concerned about politicians that legislate on the Internet without truly understanding the world they are affecting.

So we were thrilled when some friends approached us about an organization called the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition). The i2Coalition launched about six months ago to provide a voice in Washington, D.C for the folks who “power” the Internet – principally web hosting companies and services, like ours, that support their efforts. After the SOPA and PIPA fight over a year ago, industry experts recognized the need for continued leadership in the ongoing public policy debate about the Internet. Tucows proudly joined with more than 40 other industry allies to be a founding member of the i2Coalition to help educate Congress and protect Internet freedoms.

The i2Coalition has experienced a great deal of success since its official launch last September. The i2Coalition recently hosted Internet Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, where they educated lawmakers and opinion leaders about the Internet and how it works. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), as well as Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), joined the i2Coalition at an educational event focusing on just how the Internet works.

Since its launch, the i2Coalition has been a leading voice in many domestic and global policy discussions, including cybersecurity, privacy, and patent reform as well as continuing to work with lawmakers to promote how the nuts and bolts of the Internet work.

The i2Coalition stands ready for the next legislative battle and is recruiting allies to join the fight.  They’re kicking off a membership drive with a webinar “12 Reasons to Join the i2Coalition: What You Get and Why It Matters” on Tuesday, March 26 from 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM CDT. Sign up to learn about membership or visit www.i2coalition.com/join to become a member today.

We think the i2Coalition is doing great work to represent and protect many of your interests in Washington, D.C. We also think many of you would have great ideas and expertise to bring to this initiative. Please check out their website, attend the webinar and consider supporting their efforts.

The Channel Partners Conference & Expo

We are checking out a new industry show this year that we think could be relevant to a lot of you.

Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas at The Venetian & Sands Expo Feb. 27-March 1.

It looks similar to the hosting conferences where we tend to meet many of you. Companies like us with products and services to offer come to meet companies like you with end user relationships to offer. This event is focused on the telecom industry. We will be talking mostly about Ting and a bit about our email service. If you offer mobile, VOIP and other telephony solutions to your business customers, this could be chance to learn a bit about the latest trends and products and connect with some of the providers. If you have not ventured into this world much, it is a chance to gauge the opportunity.

It sounds like it will be well attended. We would love to see some of you there.

You can register here.

Use our code, exh13, for a free pass to the Expo Hall or $50 off the Conference and Expo Pass.

 

 

 

A Review of 2012 at OpenSRS

It has been a busy year at OpenSRS, so I thought I’d take the time to look back at some of the highlights.

ccTLDs

We bought epag in 2011, helping us add over 100 new second and third-level extensions to our portfolio. But doing so took plenty of development and time incorporating them into OpenSRS, making it easier for you to do business around the globe all from a single platform. And we’re not done yet!

Working Better with Third-Party Systems

We joined the Parallels Domain Name Network early in the year so resellers can signup to sell OpenSRS directly within Parallels products. Plus we’ve been testing updated and more robust plugins for WHMCS.

goMobi Updates

We’ve had goMobi available for a couple years now, but I think you’d agree some great new features were rolled out this year to make it worth a mention. Some of the new features included: custom icons, live previews, more sharing options, more site templates, custom background images, plus many more. We’ve seen incredible interest in this product, and can’t wait to see the new sites you build with it.

Ting Offers

We rolled out a revenue sharing Offer for Ting, the Tucows mobile phone MVNO in the US. While still new and relatively small, we’re very excited about the growth in Ting and working with our resellers to expand its reach. And for resellers who’d like to try before recommending Ting, we launched trial program called Taste of Ting.

Webmail 5.6 

Our hosted email product got a nice facelift on the front-end and some much needed upgrades in the backend. Although email suffered some unfortunate outages this year, we’ve removed the main source of the problem from our infrastructure. 2013 should be much smoother…

Super Low EV Pricing and UC/SAN Certs

In September we cut pricing on Extended Validation certificates across the board to be industry leading; and boy have you seized the opportunity. Making the jump from OV to EV certs for the better features is now a much smaller price gap; which is a great value proposition you can make to your customers. Perhaps 2013 will be the year DV certs go away…

Help & Support Upgrades

Part of being “Reseller Friendly” is providing a great customer support experience. To help us achieve this for you each we’ve begun rolling out a few ‘upgrades.’ First, the new support site which brings together in one place our announcements, knowledge bases and forums; plus a robust ticketing system. We’ve also begun asking for feedback after each ticket is resolved and closed; not only telling us how we’re doing but giving insights into how we can improve going forward.

We’re delighted to have you as part of the OpenSRS ecosystem; and we’re looking forward to surprising and delighting you in 2013.

Change to Ting end user offers in January

I want to let our US resellers know about a change we are making to your Ting promo codes.

Starting on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, all codes that currently offer $50 discounts to end users will now be offering a $25 discount. The 25% revenue shares or $50 bounties to resellers associated with these offers will remain the same.

Please be sure to revise all communications that promote the $50 by then. Also feel free to let your customer know they should “act now” to get a deal they will not be able to get anywhere on January 15.

The simple explanation, after almost a year of analysis on the business, is that $50 is just a bit too much to maintain the margins we (all) need on a customer and that $50 now seems unnecessarily generous for a service that is saving even the smallest businesses hundreds of dollars a year.

Of course, the most important thing is that you will still have the best possible offer a customer can find anywhere. To be clear, we will be reducing absolutely any promotions out there to $25 as well.

Many of you have $75 service credits, with no associated revenue share or bounty, that we offered you to sign up yourselves and your employees. Those can still be used discreetly.

Along with this change, all codes that currently offer $25 discounts to end users along with either 30% revenue shares or $75 bounties will be disabled. These have not been used much since, presumably, most of you only wanted the very best offer you could get for your customers. And with the best offer coming down now, there really isn’t room for these any longer.

Also, starting today, if you have not already generated a $50 discount code, you will not be able to generate a new one. Again, if you already have these codes, they will continue to offer a $50 discount until January 15. But we figured we would not make offers available anymore that are soon to be extinct.

We know it is never easy to offer the customer less. We hope this does not create disappointment.

We continue to focus on crafting an offering that:

- Extends significant value to your customers.
- Provides healthy, sustainable margins to you.

We remain confident that Ting does both. As always, we appreciate any feedback or ideas.

Holiday Hours for the Civic Holiday, August 6, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012 marks the second long weekend of summer here in Ontario, Canada where the OpenSRS offices are located. In some parts of Canada, the first Monday in August is known as the Civic Holiday. However, in beautiful Toronto, we celebrate the Civic Holiday as Simcoe Day, in honour of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada.

It seems that the rest of Canada has the City of Toronto to thank for this August long weekend (much to the chagrin of our fellow Canucks in Vancouver, who don’t think anything good every comes out of the city at the Centre of the Universe). Toronto’s City Council is credited for coming up with the idea for a summer day of recreation way back in 1869.

The first Civic Holiday was celebrated in Toronto in 1875 and the idea spread across the rest of the nation in the years following.

Holiday Hours

Putting the rest of the history lesson aside for a moment, Simcoe Day really means most of the staff at OpenSRS will have the day off. That said, Reseller Support will be here to help you out as usual throughout the weekend, and holiday Monday as well.

Here are the hours of operation during the holiday:

Our Reseller Support team continues to be available 24/7 to assist you.

Hours by department:

Department Dates and Hours
Reseller Support Regular hours
Payments Email support: payments@opensrs.org
Compliance Closed August 6th (Monday)
Service Bureau (for transactions requiring manual processing) Closed August 6th (Monday)

More about Simcoe Day

John Graves Simcoe was a British soldier who distinguished himself during the American Revolutionary War, earning an appointment in 1777 to lead the elite Queen’s Rangers regiment. In 1781 he returned to England, where he was later elected to the House of Commons. He arrived in what later became known as Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1792 and established the provincial capital – known then as Newark.

The threat of invading Americans right across the narrow Niagara River led him to look for a more secure capital. He found a great spot not far away on the north side of Lake Ontario near the abandoned French fort of Toronto.

In June 1793, Simcoe and his entourage arrived in Toronto on three ships, having sailed across the lake from Newark, and established Fort York. Each year on Simcoe Day, there are historical reenactments at the Fort (pictured above), which still stands as a National Historic site just a few minutes’ walk from the Tucows offices.

Leap Day Domain Registrations Explained

Tomorrow is a leap day – February 29 – an extra day that shows up in February ever four years (well, sort of. Years that are evenly divisible by 100 are not leap years, unless they are also evenly divisible by 400, in which case they are leap years).

That has some implications for domain registrations. Sadly, it does not mean you get four years for the price of one.

Rather, most registries have policies defined to account for registrations that happen on leap days.

In most cases, domains registered on February 29 will expire the following year on February 28. A few registries use March 1 instead.

That begs the question – is it possible for a domain to expire on February 29? The answer is yes depending on the specific extension and registry policies.

For example, if you register a .COM domain on February 29, 2012 for a four year term, you’d expect the domain to expire on February 29, 2016. However, the registry policy states that .COM domains registered on February 29 will always expire on February 28.

Does that mean that there will be no expiring .COM domains on February 29? A quick check around seems to suggest that the answer is yes. Anyone have a more definitive answer?

You can consult documentation for a list of which registry uses which dates for expiry. Check page 72 of the Reseller’s Guide to Domain Name Registration and Management. You’ll note that .BZ, .IN and .WS do in fact allow four year registrations done on leap days to expire on leap days (assuming there is one four years after the registration).

Crystal Peterson from .CO Internet has said in a blog post today that a four year .CO domain registration done on March 1, 2012, would lead to a domain with an expiry of February 29, 2016. Anyone care to test that hypothesis tomorrow?

The good news? OpenSRS has all the logic built in to properly account for and handle leap year registrations for all TLDs and services.

Enjoy the extra day!

Premium domains work.

A few months ago, we expanded our premium (secondary market) domain offering. We encouraged you to help your customers find the perfect domain by including premium domains in your search results using the OpenSRS API. We recognized this would require some front-end work. We recognized many of you still thought of a domain name as a component of your hosting service, not a revenue stream. We also had our own doubts about whether people would pay a couple of thousand dollars for a domain name rather than settle for whatever-is-available.com. We had even greater doubts that they would just throw it into an online shopping cart and plunk down a credit card without any real human sales effort.

So we took our own advice and integrated premium domains in the Hover search results in early August.

The design approach was a bit different than anything else we had seen in the industry. Rather than break these domains out into some distinct section of results, we simply included them in one long list of available domains. That seems more consistent with the way we shop for products and services that will ultimately play the same role. “I can have this low-end brand for $15 or that deluxe model for $2,400.”

Check out the search results for sandwich.com (in a new tab, so you can get to the shocking results below!). A roll over the star explains that this is a premium domain. A click goes to a detailed page with a video.

The results are shocking. We have sold 29 premium domains in 4 months at an average price of $1,530.

(I also have to mention that just about anybody reading this post has a better base for premium domains than Hover does. About 20% of Hover customers claim to use their domains for business purposes.)

So to put that in the context of your own business, that is 1 premium domain sold for every 853 new available domains (“regular domains”) registered. Said differently, we have collected $1.79 in gross premium domains revenue for every new available domain registered. With your 10% commission, that would be an extra $.18 in margin for every new domain name you register.

For us, that starts to look like real money.

Plus, our customers are thrilled with their new domain names. And, not surprisingly, almost all of them are renewing these domains far into the future and buying additional services on them. Makes sense. These are heavily invested customers. (I am not claiming causality there, stats geeks. The premium domains do not make them more serious about their businesses. But they certainly get them even more excited about their businesses and make other expenses seem less steep by comparison!)

Finally, this has been mostly passive stuff so far. We have not yet begun to really sell these domains. We are just starting to have fun with database marketing. Imagine looking at every organization name among your base to see if any exact matches are available as premium domains. Imagine just looking at every domain name that has a hyphen in it (a classic compromise) and finding the exact same domain name without the hyphen available as a premium domain. As always, we would love to pull these sort of lists for you so you can reach out to these customers with a killer pitch. (By the way, you do not even need to implement the API to do this.) Please let us know if you are interested in these sorts of efforts.

So, in conclusion, once in a while, we are right. And when we are, I will always tell you about it.

Sell premium domains!

 

 

SiteLock and TRUSTe Join the Trust Service Lineup

Starting today, OpenSRS Resellers can sell two new Trust Service products, SiteLock and TRUSTe.

SiteLock Website Security

SiteLock Website Security provides website security scanning that identifies vulnerabilities and protects sites against threats. SiteLock is offered at three different levels of service – SiteLock Basic, Premium and SMB Enterprise. Similar to other Trust services like SSL certificates, SiteLock is provisioned through the OpenSRS Control Panel. Plans start at just $10/year.

TRUSTe Privacy Policy

TRUSTe Privacy Policy lets you help your customers increase sales with an online privacy policy that turns consumer confidence into clicks. OpenSRS Resellers can offer two TRUSTe privacy solutions to their customers – TRUSTe Website Privacy and TRUSTe Website Privacy with Seal. TRUSTe is also provisioned and managed through the OpenSRS Control Panel in the Trust Manager tab. TRUSTe plans start at just $15/year.


We have much more information about SiteLock and TRUSTe on our website in the Trust Service section. Learn about the various features and benefits of both products and see full rundowns on the differences between the different plans available for each product.

Learn more at our webinars

We’re hosting a pair of webinars in the coming weeks to help introduce SiteLock and TRUSTe. You’ll learn not only how the products work, but also how to provision and manage them using OpenSRS. And we’ll share marketing advice and ideas to kickstart your sales efforts.

SiteLock Webinar
Available for on-demand viewing

TRUSTe Webinar
Available for on-demand viewing

A Plea from Marketing

Almost every time I meet with an OpenSRS reseller, they end up saying, “Hey, it would be great if you had something to help me deal with (particular marketing challenge).”

And I end up saying, “We do have that! #@!!%! We posted it on the blog five times and emailed you like thirty.” And they say, “OK, calm down, I’m just asking…” And I say, “You’re just asking?! Let me ask you this…” And they say, “Stop pushing me.”

Anyway, since apparently we are reseller friendly, I have been asked to apologize and politely remind you that we have wonderful marketing resources and capabilities you should take advantage of.

Want to make it easy as possible for customers to transfer more domains to you?
We have white label videos and tutorials to help them transfer away from your top competitors.

Want to educate your customers about the value of contact privacy?
Check out our white label video and PDF on the benefits of revealing less in their Whois records.

Want to help your customers understand that it does, in fact, matter who manages your domain name?
We have Tucows Domains badges and a Tucows Domains Promise that you can link to.

We have marketing kits for TLDs, SSL brands and goMobi. We have end user tutorials on configuring our email service with the leading mobile devices. We have tons of end user documentation and videos that we can help you brand as your own. We can help you segment your own mailing lists for transfer campaigns or name-based promotions. See anything you like going on at Hover? We can help you replicate it. Have another marketing challenge that you think we might be able to help with? Ask us.

We are not trying to turn ourselves into retailers. We also understand that the resources listed above will likely not help you solve your most pressing business problems. But we have 11,000 resellers that do have some challenges and needs in common. Many of you do not have the resources that we do. If there are opportunities to find efficiencies and to make your jobs a little easier, we want to do that.

So, please use what we have and please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help. Damn it.

Holiday Hours: Victoria Day, May 23, 2011

This coming Monday our offices will be closed to celebrate Victoria Day.

The Sovereign’s birthday has been celebrated in Canada since the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). May 24, Queen Victoria’s birthday, was declared a holiday by the Legislature of the Province of Canada in 1845. The actual holiday is observed on a Monday on or before May 24. This year, it happens to be May 23rd.

The holiday is colloquially known as May Two-Four in parts of Canada; double entendre that refers both to the date around which the holiday falls (May 24) and the Canadian slang for a case of twenty-four beers (a “two-four”), a drink popular during the long weekend.

We like to think that if Queen Victoria were still with us today, she would take great delight in visiting the cottage and enjoying a nice cold, Molson Canadian with us.

Update

Our good friend, Charles Oldfield, in the comments section below suggested our scene might benefit from a little pyrotechnics. We did our best to be accommodating Charles, and although it has been fun, you can see our Photoshop skillz might not be up to the royal standard.

Now, on to official business:

Our Technical Support team continues to be available 24/7 to assist you.

Please note that during this closure, there will be:

  • No orders or requests processed for the following TLD’s: .at, .fr, .ch, .li, .dk, .com.mx
  • No special processing for .ca (registrant transfers, conflicting and municipal registrations) or .eu/.be (redemptions).

Here are the hours by department:

 

Department Dates and Hours
Technical Support Regular hours
Payments Email support: payments@opensrs.org
Compliance Closed May 23nd (Monday)
Service Bureau Closed May 23nd (Monday)

Internet Explorer 6 Users. Help Us Help You

With the preview launch of our Control Panel, if you’re an Internet Explorer 6 user, it’s probably time we had a chat. And if you don’t want to talk to us, then please do us a favour and seek professional help before it’s too late. Because we care about you a lot, and it’s tough watching you put yourself through this.

The Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 web browser was unleashed released to the world more than ten years ago.

As we were designing the OpenSRS Control Panel, we made a decision, after ten long years, to drop support of Internet Explorer 6. Despite the very small reseller base this would affect, we still struggled with the idea that we were finally leaving some of them behind if they continue to use Microsoft’s infamous version of this browser.

Before we get too far into it, let’s put things in perspective with a quick overview of visitors to the opensrs.com website:

In the last 30 days, the OpenSRS website welcomed 40,887 visitors. Of these visitors, 20.91% were using the Internet Explorer web browser. Of those visits, 3.23% were using infamous version 6.

Using these numbers, it means that we’re no longer going to support 0.68% of visitors to our website (276 people) if they report a browser-related problem.

No customer-focused company wants to ignore concerns of its users, but at some point, this day of tough love had to come. On the plus side, there’s no downside to upgrading.

In fact, here are just some of the pros associated with taking the time to upgrade:

  • It’s free and doesn’t cost anything to upgrade.
  • There are multiple browsers available to choose from.
  • Better security and protection
  • Faster web browsing, Faster browser startup
  • Your computer will not crash as often
  • Support for the latest web standards

Depending on your connection speed to your ISP, you could be enjoying a shiny new web browser in less than five minutes!

Moving the world off Internet Explorer 6

If you still don’t believe us, look at the efforts Microsoft, the developer of the browser. Even they don’t want you to use it! They’ve been putting lots of effort into migrating IE6 users to a safer, faster, more secure browser:

The Internet can be a dangerous place. It’s important to protect yourself by using the latest version of your web browser. Anything less would be outright crazy. If you’re one of those people frustrated by choices and would rather be told what to do, then go download Mozilla Firefox and install it right now (and remember to keep it upgraded!)

Update

Perhaps the continued use of Microsoft IE6 can be attributed to the idea that not many people know what a browser is?

After writing this post, a friend directed me to this YouTube video, shot in Times Square, New York, by Google in 2009.

It’s a bit dated today in 2011, but it makes a good point that lots of average Janes and Joes simply don’t know what a web browser is. At the time of filming, only 8% of people knew that a browser was an application used to view webpages, with the majority of those surveyed believing the browser was the search engine itself.

The image used in this post was licensed from iStockPhoto.

Tooting the Horn of an Internet Legend: Peter Tattam

Before Microsoft had the good sense to build Internet support into its Windows operating system, there was Peter Tattam and his software, Trumpet Winsock.

Personally, I don’t think of myself as being old enough to talk about how tough we had it during the “old days”, but man, the Internet sure was a different place 17 years ago.

At the risk of offending the technical veterans with some elementary details, Winsock (a mashup of the words Windows + socket) equipped the Microsoft Windows operating system with the ability to ‘speak’ the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Back in the “olden” days of 1995, Windows computers were often not even connected to the local office network, never mind the globally-connected Internet.

The Trumpet Winsock software was distributed under a shareware, “try before you buy” license, which means you could use it on a trial basis, but after the period expired, you were legally required to pay for it. The problem was that people rarely paid for the software after the trial period ended.

Trumpet Winsock was hugely popular in the days of Windows 3.1, mostly due to the inclusion of the software in many popular computer magazines and distribution by Internet Service Providers. The wide distribution channel these magazines offered should have been a good thing for Tattam Software; Internet users signed up by the hundreds, and then thousands, and then hundreds of thousands. But ultimately, although they used the software, many Internet users didn’t care or didn’t bother to register (and pay) for it.

In the end, Peter and his company received very little financial compensation for what many would agree was software that enabled a connection to a global network that has positively impacted the lives of millions.

At Tucows / OpenSRS, at our very core, we believe the Internet is the greatest agent for positive change the world has ever seen. Trumpet Winsock accelerated Internet adoption during a time when Microsoft failed to offer Internet connectivity in the OS. So, earlier this week, we wanted to thank Mr. Tattam by recognizing his efforts with Trumpet Winsock by way of a small corporate donation.

If you’re a former Trumpet Winsock user, we’d love it if you would also take a moment to thank Mr. Tattam for his hard work and dedication in building one of the most popular on-ramps to the greatest resource the world has ever seen. Donations are accepted via Paypal at the thanksfortrumpetwinsock.com website.

 

 

 

Holiday Hours: Good Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter holidays from the OpenSRS team!

We’ll be closed this Friday April 22nd for the Easter holiday.

Our Technical Support team continues to be available 24/7 to assist you.

Please note that during this closure, there will be:

  • No orders or requests processed for the following TLD’s: .at, .fr, .ch, .li, .dk, .com.mx
  • No special processing for .ca (registrant transfers, conflicting and municipal registrations) or .eu/.be (redemptions).

Here are the hours by department:

Department Dates and Hours
Technical Support Regular hours
Payments Email support: payments@opensrs.org
Compliance Closed April 22nd (Friday)
Service Bureau Closed April 22nd (Friday)

Special thanks for Flickr user Alanna George for licensing their colourful Easter egg shot under a creative commons license.

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