Danny Taggart's Blogarama

A more-or-less daily dose of news, politics, techmology, and any random thoughts that pass through my head.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Don't use Yahoo Small Business services

I have finally transferred all my domains from Yahoo! Small Business services to a different company. The reason for the switch was bad information security at Yahoo. Here's what happened:

I signed up for a number of services, including domain name registration, web hosting, and email. In my Yahoo profile, I put down all my contact info except my cell phone number, which I try to keep as private as possible. However, in my credit card billing info, I had to type in the phone number associated with my credit card. So, since I assumed that the credit card information is private, I put my cell phone number there.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. I get a call on my cell phone. It's aplus.net asking me if I would like some web hosting for my newly-registered domain name. I asked them how the hell they got my cell phone number. It turns out that they scour the WHOIS for newly-registered domain names. Even though I specifically left out my cell phone number from my Yahoo profile (which is used to populate the WHOIS entry), Yahoo decided unilaterally to include my private credit card-associated number in my public WHOIS entry. What morons!

After God-knows how many calls to Yahoo tech support over two months (that's another story), I managed to get the whole mess straightened out and all my domains transferred from Yahoo's service. Who knows what other security holes they have in their system?

I have other lesser beefs with Yahoo! Small Business, regarding deceptive advertising. Its Yahoo! Domains page states that each domain registration includes free "domain forwarding so you can point to an existing site." Great, but what they don't tell you is that they only provide unmasked forwarding, meaning that your domain name does not show up in the browser address bar. They don't provide masked forwarding, which actually does display your domain name (they will provide it if you pay for web hosting or email service). Other domain registration companies, like NameZero include masked forwarding as the default. Of course, this is a minor complaint compared to their security problems.