29 years ago, the Sydney Morning Herald wrote how Robert Elz from the University Of Melbourne made a phone call to America and asked the question, “Can we please have the internet in Australia?”
And at that moment, Australia and Australian Business became a whole lot less-isolated from the rest of the world.
“MelbourneIT” (derived from Melbourne Information Technology International Pty Ltd) became a commercial subsidiary of The University of Melbourne. The initial objective of the company was not merely to register domains but to demonstrate the University’s strategic leadership in working with industry and government in selected areas of IT. Robert Elz, senior system administrator in the University of Melbourne’s Computer Science Department, was in charge of the registration process of the .au domain at that time.
MelbourneIT started charging for .com.au domain name registrations in November, 1996. Prices were generally $100 wholesale and $125 retail. They also introduced different pricing plans and different criteria for domain registration processes during that period.
After enjoying exclusive rights to sell .au domains for 5 years, MelbourneIT signed a license agreement with .au Domain Administration (auDA) on July 12th, 2001. It was reported that MelbourneIT‘s Chief Executive, Professor Peter Gerrand, claimed that the deal “extended MelbourneIT’s guarantee of exclusivity.” Later, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston announced that the claim was incorrect and that MelbourneIT’s monopoly on .au domains would not be extended.
Skip forward a few decades to the last day of 2019 and my experience with MelbourneIT has left me tearing my hair out.
Here’s the story.
My business partners and I purchased a one-word domain name for $10k on the 19th December, a few weeks ago.
The seller was easy to deal with, although it took some coaxing for him to sell the domain name. He overcharged for it, but it was something we really wanted, so we paid his invoice.
The seller had been using MelbourneIT as his domain registrar for years, he said. He insisted we use a MelbourneIT account to perform the transfer because it would make things so much easier.
I was hesitant, as I know MelbourneIT charge a heavy-premium for a simple Change Of Registrant (COR) and their entire support team is based OVERSEAS, with no local support that I’m aware of.
It took me 2 days to talk the seller into selling his domain name, that he didn’t want to sell.
It took MelbourneIT FIVE DAYS and cost $339 to perform the COR (Change Of Registrant). It cost me 4 hours of my life too. That I’ll never get back.
Three Support Tickets were raised and I had to ring their Phone Support number four times across two different days and I was on the phone for more than 30 minutes each time I rang.
What is most concerning about the bad-quality of service at MelbourneIT, is that when you finally get through to an overseas support person, they immediately ask you, “Can I please have your phone number in case the LINE DROPS OUT”.
And the line seems to drop out EVERY TIME THEY PLACE YOU ON HOLD.
I guess they’re hoping you’ll give up and leave them alone?
The line dropped out EVERY TIME I rang them, and they never bothered to call me back, so I had to phone them again and wait in line again… then, after finally getting someone NEW back on the phone, the new overseas call centre worker would ask, “What’s your phone number in case the line drops out again?”
I don’t mind paying a premium price for a premium service that is FAST and EASY, but in this case, my experience with MelbourneIT is that they are USELESS as a service for housing my domain names or performing any sort of domain name service and I’ll never be using them again.