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Posted 15th February 2013

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Yesterday, I bought the domain name for my upcoming internet radio show: 80track.fm. There’s only a holding page there at the moment, though TV pres geeks should recognise the font used for the logo. (For more, check out this post by Dave Jeffery.) There will be plenty of time for more about the actual show, however – let’s talk about simply buying the actual domain itself.

As it’s a radio show, I decided to go for a .fm domain; domain hacks make me feel a bit dirty, but I just couldn’t resist it. My usual domain registrar doesn’t deal with .fm domains, so I decided to go with the official domain registrar. OK, so the website looks like it was designed in 1485, but no matter. So I got to work filling in all my details, and was told my fax number was required. I got a vaguely amusing Tumblr post out of this, typed in “none” in the Fax field, filled in the rest, and awaited a confirmation email. Ah look, there we go…

Thanks for your recent .FM Domain Registration for 80track.fm.

To process this order we will need the following verification
authorization form completed. Please be sure to include your
Invoice Number [redacted].

Download the Verification Authorization Form:

Fax Verification Form to: +1-415-677-4025

We will hold your .FM domain registration for 48 hours, after
such time the registration below will be void, and the domain
name will be returned to available status.

Please understand that while we regret any inconvenience these
security measures may cause, they exist for your protection. You
will not need to submit this information again for future orders.

Please get back to us if you have any questions.


dotFM/BRS Media Inc.
"Get a Great Sounding Web Address!"

Just read that through one more time. Yes, that is them asking me to FAX a verification form through to them. And if you read the confusing and frankly badly-written form, you also have to include copies of your credit card (albiet partly-obscured), and some sort of government-issued ID as well.

…No. I’m not doing that. Get fucked.

For a start, there’s something that feels very wrong about this. It feels creepy and dodgy having to send through that kind of information, even though – the company being well-established – I doubt there’s a real problem there. Secondly, why the hell is buying a domain name anything other than a purely electronic transaction? I’ve been buying domain names for years, and I’ve never had to do anything like this.

Thirdly, I literally don’t have a fax machine.

As you can see, I ended up buying the domain name through a different method. I waited three days for the domain to become available again, then easily bought it through Domainmonster.com, with no faxing of any details required. How a third party manages to provide a service ten times better than the official registrar itself is something you may wish to ponder.

2013. Buying domain names. Involving a fax machine. Life really confuses me, sometimes.

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