Registerfly, a Domain Name Disaster - Blame Kevin Medina
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Kevin Medina, until recently, was one of the partners of Registerfly. John Naruszewicz is the other one. Technically, the company they were partners in was Unifiednames (UNI) doing business as Registerfly. From reading complaints posted around the web, everything was going okay until about mid-2006. That’s when the customer service problems started getting really bad, or at least bad enough that Registerflies was actively up and running.
Some say the beginning of the end happened when the decision was made a couple of years ago to outsource customer support to India. There is some question as to whether these new customer support people were trained properly. According to some sources, it is around this time that ICANN began to hear complaints about Registerfly. Eventually customer support was brought back into the U.S., and offices were opened in both New Jersey and Florida -- though even here, the information I've been seeing is somewhat convoluted, with some question as to whether Medina had permission to hire any customer support staff in Florida.
In any case, the deeper cause of the mess is the power struggle between Kevin Medina and John Naruszewicz. Medina was removed from his position as CEO of the company, as well as his position on the board. Since Medina was the more technically-inclined partner, he was able to cause all sorts of problems while being taken down – problems which Naruszewicz and others are still trying to resolve. The latest news that Registerflies is reporting on their site, as of this time of writing, is that Kevin Medina managed to hack into the Registerfly site and regain control of Registerfly. The Malaysia Sun was reporting that Medina had also duplicated the site at http://www.registerfly-inc.com/ in case he loses control again.
This latest action came after Naruszewicz and Registerfly have filed a civil complaint against Medina that makes for the kind of reading you’d expect to see in a Hollywood gossip column. The complaint says in part that Medina has been using the company’s funds “for his own extravagant personal expenses, wasting UNI’s assets…” and that Medina’s “misappropriation, misuse, and mismanagement” of the company’s assets has led Registerfly “to suffer repeated cash flow crises and an attendant loss of customers.”
According to the complaint, Medina has enriched himself to the tune of at least $100,000 – money that Registerfly needed to be able to renew domain names. It’s the nature of the domain name business. Quoting from the complaint, “To operate and maintain its business, on a monthly basis UNI must forward payments on behalf of its customers to various Internet domain name registries…Until recently, UNI needed to maintain a monthly float of between $1 million and $1.5 million to advance the registry payments for its customers…Due to Defendant’s misfeasance and/or malfeasance, UNI has lost approximately 75,000 domain names for its customers since January 2007 because customer domain names were not reserved as requested due to UNI’s failure to remit the registry fees.”
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