SmartName = Bad Customer Service

In one of my first posts a year ago, I raved about SmartName for parking your domain names while you work on flipping them.  A year later, I've now sworn off SmartName, although I didn't really have a choice in the matter as they inexplicable closed my account.  It's how it happened and their follow up that I want to share with you, so that you can avoid them and the bad experience I had.
Let me just tell you, I know that I'm no big fish in the domain world and that my sites have little to no direct type-in traffic so in the big scheme of things for SmartName, I'm an irrelevant customer.  Usually from a customer service perspective though, one wouldn't expect to be treated that way even if it were true but they certainly treated me that way.  And if they treat folks this way when we're small fries, I don't want to have business with them anyways, even when I blow up!  Here are the details:

  • During my hiatus from domaining (Aug '12 - Dec '12), I wasn't paying much attention to anything, GoDaddy expirations, Sedo, Twitter etc.  However, I happened to jump into some of my domaining stuff and specifically noted some revenue rolling into my SmartName account.  The website that was starting to generate some revenue was BabyUrns.com - I know, morbid name.  Odd that it was generating revenue, but it was. And by generating revenue, I mean a few bucks a day - nothing to retire with.
  • 10/22/12: I received an email from SmartName stating, "Due to continued low traffic quality and anomalous metrics your account has been disabled.  Any earnings accrued have been suspended.  Should you have any questions, feel free to contact us.  Regards, The SmartName Team."  Hell yeah, I had questions!
  • 10/24/12: I replied "What does this mean and how can I correct whatever got my account disabled?  I had noted a few bucks actually hit my account the last few weeks - now you disable it and suspended earnings which presumably means you won't pay that?"
  • SmartName's email invited me to "feel free to contact" them if I had questions which I had done.  Apparently, I assumed that might mean they would reply.  By 12/19/12, I had yet to receive a response so I emailed them again.
  • 1/1/13: I emailed again because that elusive response that might enlighten me to why my account was suspended had not come to me yet.
  • 2/7/13: I posted this on SmartName's Facebook page, "You dropped my account - never explained why and won't reply to emails.  What's up with that?"
  • 2/11/13: They posted back telling me to email Afternic (SmartName's parent company) customer support.  I did so immediately.
  • 2/12/13: Afternic support told me they were forwarding my request to the Parking Team.
  • 2/21/13: I posted back on SmartName's Facebook letting them know I was still waiting on a response.
  • 2/28/13: Posted again that I was still waiting.
  • 3/10/13: I emailed Afternic support and asked when I might expect a reply.
  • 3/11/13: I get the long awaited reply telling me exactly why my account was suspended...

...wait for it...

          "Due to continued low traffic quality and anomalous metrics determined by our feed provider, your account has been disabled and will not be reinstated."

I waited five long months for them to basically state the same thing twice... Really?!?!?  Here's what I think may have happened and if this is part (or all) of the reason they dropped me, then they should just let me know rather than provide brief, cryptic emails with no great explanation.  I think the activity on BabyUrns.com may have been what's called click bombing - this is basically a way people can mess with you by continually clicking ads on your site that the ad provider ultimately determines as fraudulent clicks.  Rather than provide a remedy, ad providers' standard procedure of closing the account typically punishes the publisher even though they are clearly not at fault.
If not click bombing, maybe SmartName got tired of all the erroneous domains I had in my account with them.  Remember, I was letting domains expire and not cleaning that up anywhere during my hiatus.  The combo of this and low revenue generating sites might have been the reason for axing my account.
I would have considered my experience with SmartName good if they had given me a warning before abruptly closing my account or at least offering to explain exactly what happened.  I'd like to prevent the next parking service from dumping me if it's avoidable, but the ultimate icing on the cake is the five month runaround on trying to get a response and then when I finally get one - it's irrelevant and worthless! Kinda like how they made me feel.
So from now on, I will never speak another word on SmartName - they don't exist as far as I'm concerned.  My two domain parking companies of choice are DomainApps and Voodoo.com.  Be sure to check them out - tell them Rookie Domainer sent you!  Look for reviews and how-to guides on their services in future posts.

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