Several customers of 24/7 Hosting, a New Zealand web hosting reseller that has all but severed communication with customers and suppliers, have reported that their websites and email are offline. And as it seems that 24/7 Hosting is no longer in business, some organizations are working to ensure their domain names are not lost.
Earlier this year, customers became concerned with 24/7 Hosting when it stopped responding to support tickets and it has reportedly not paid its hosting and domain providers. To make matters worse, customers often lacked self-service options to take their web hosting, domains, and email elsewhere.
According to a local report from 3 News, customers have recently seen their websites and email go down without having any options or recourse.
Hundreds of complaints have been posted to the company’s Facebook page with no response from the company. 24/7 Hosting has also let its domain (www.247hosting.co.nz) expire, furthering speculation that the company may never return.
Ordinarily, a domain authority would allow the owner of the domain to transfer it to a new provider, but 24/7 Hosting had incorrectly listed many of their customers’ domains as their own.
After months of regulation breaches and customer issues, however, the Domain Name Commission imposed “last resort” measures on August 19 that allow it to take greater action on domain names.
The DNC’s Campbell Gardiner told 3 News, “It’s become really blindingly obvious that people are experiencing massive disruption and 24/7 Hosting appears to be doing nothing to fix things. This is very, very rare, in fact it’s unprecedented… this is beyond a joke, this needs to be closed now.”
In an effort to move customers away from 24/7 Hosting with their domain names intact, the DNC has involved registrar Voyager, through which 24/7 Hosting resold thousands of domains. Voyager is contacting domain customers, and allowing them to switch domain providers before September 20. After this date, their domain is cancelled and put back on the market.
Due to 24/7 Hosting incorrect listing of customer domain records, it’s difficult to contact the true owner of the domain and prove their identity. Because of this, Voyager and the DNC are working to provide domains to people who have provide adequate proof that they belong to them.
Meanwhile, New Zealand tech site TechDay has reported that a trucking company has threatened to sue 24/7 Hosting for as much as $300,000 plus legal costs to compensate it for the disruptions to its business.
While it still remains unclear what exactly happened to 24/7 Hosting, the response from customers makes it very clear that web hosts should be upfront about their actions, and that hiding from customers and creditors (and the press) is not a viable business decision.