Running a platform like Openprovider’s always creates tension between ever-extending functionality and maintaining usability. The more functions (trust me: our customers plead for the most diverse features!), the more menus, pages and buttons. Over the years many features were added that we know about but which are rarely found by our customers. On numerous occasions I should even rephrase this to “features that I know about”, because sometimes even my colleagues don’t know about it. In this blog post, I want to provide you with ten tips and tricks. After reading until the end, you’ll have gathered some new knowledge to make your life easier and maybe you will even be able to turn this into a profitable case with your customers!
I don’t number them, as I don’t want to rank them from ‘best’ to ‘number 10’ or vice versa. The nice thing about such features is that each of them could be very valuable to a specific selection of our customers. Knowing that, who am I to judge their value?
Reseller in the whois
Wouldn’t it be great if you would be listed in the whois record of a domain name, as being the provider for that domain? Even if you register it through a company like Openprovider? For .nl domains, that is possible! Registry SIDN supports the use of a “reseller contact”. This can be you, but you can also choose to list your customer. By setting reseller contacts for your .nl domains, you increase the exposure of your company.
You can set a default reseller contact for all your domains, or you can choose a specific contact for a selection of your domains. Find an example of the new whois output and more details about this feature in our original news item. In the future, we may extend this feature to other extensions as well, as long as the registry supports it.
Reduce frequency of renewal reminder e-mails
A long time ago, when Openprovider started, our customers were small and our biggest customers had maybe 100 domains under management. Our daily renewal reminders were very useful, our customers were happy with it. Over time, our customers grew. Managing thousands or even tens of thousands of domains automatically leads to renewals every day. We found – by our own experience as well – that these automatic reminders don’t get a lot of attention anymore if they are received every day again.
That’s why we introduced customization of their frequency. By receiving these warnings only once a week or even once every two weeks, the level of attention increases. Find this feature in your account settings!
Choosing the right SSL certificate is always a difficult question. You need to know the customer’s requirements, but far too often the customer doesn’t know himself! To help you help your customers, we have created a small few-step wizard that leads your customer through a number of simple questions. Based on his answers, we suggest two types of certificates matching his needs best. We offer an honest advise: if a cheap and simple certificate is sufficient, we will say so.
To pay or not to pay VAT?
A small note on paying VAT: being a Dutch company, Openprovider is obliged to charge VAT to customers that are VAT liable (Dutch customers and customers from within the European Union without a valid VAT number). If you are based in the European Union and have a valid VAT number, check if this VAT number is present in your account details. Only then, we can exempt you from VAT on our invoices!
One of the most ancient concepts in Openprovider is the “nameserver group”. After 15 years, I can safely admit: we’ve stolen this great idea from DNS Belgium because we liked it so much! At the same time, we have improved it to support all extensions instead of only .be.
Knowing that most customers deal with only one set of nameservers, or at least a selected number, why would you need to enter the same nameservers over and over again? What if something changes? When you want to add a third nameserver to your cluster, for example? If you are using our nameserver groups, you can do this in just one simple action rather than updating all your hundreds of domains manually. Once changed, Openprovider will update each single domain name linked to that nameserver group.
This mass change happens in the background, allowing you to continue in Openprovider. Once all domains have been updated, you will receive a report by e-mail listing the update results.
Manage your nameserver groups through the “DNS Management” menu.
Different contact types
When signing up to Openprovider you provide your contact details. These data are used to create the default administrative contact. This is the main contact for your account. However, Openprovider supports more contact types: a technical contactthat will receive e-mails on technical topics like status updates and a billing contactthat will receive all finance-related communication like payment confirmations and invoices. These additional contacts can be configured through thecontrol panel.
Automated validation of DV certificates
If you have ever ordered an SSL certificate for a customer of a customer of a customer (in short: for somebody outside your direct control), you know how frustrating the e-mail validation can be: people ignoring e-mails, not having provided the right e-mail address, outdated whois records, … Luckily it’s possible to do the validation without having to rely on e-mails: you can do so through the DNS or web hosting. Read more in our news item (valid for all brands, not only Comodo).
Do you want to get rich on SSL certificates? Read our white paper for inspiration!
Sorting your pre-registrations
Assume that you pre-registered 100 domains in the new gTLD .whatever. Then, one of your best customers calls you and wants that-one-great-name.whatever. Normally, pre-registrations are processed in the same order as they have been ordered. Wouldn’t it be nice if you can push your customer’s great domain name to the top of this queue? That’s possible! Just check the Sort pre-registrations page in your control panel. Sorting pre-registrations is possible as soon as the domains have been prepared for the General Availability (GA) , normally at least a month before the GA date.
Why is there sometimes a difference between the transaction lines on the invoice and those in the control panel? The answer is simple: we only include completed transactions on the invoice. A .com transfer, for example, is not realtime: after ordering it, it can succeed or fail. As long as there is no final status, the transaction is “reserved”: the money is deducted from your account but not ready for invoicing yet. As soon as the transfer succeeds, the transaction will be marked “completed” and will arrive on the next invoice. If it fails, we will refund the amount and you will see a credit line in your online transaction overview (but not on the invoice). Reserved transactions are used for all asynchronous operations, including some non-realtime registrations (.dk, .sr, .mk, …), many transfers and SSL certificate orders.
You can review your reserved transactions anytime in your control panel.
Ever wanted to update a bunch of domains or register dozens of domains at once? Doing so through the control panel can take a serious amount of time. However, you can automate it! Openprovider provides a powerful automated interface (API) that allows you to do everything that you can do in the control panel as well – but without manual interaction. Even if you have never used it, I encourage you to read at least our “Step by step start guide” – following the examples and using the scripts that we provide should allow you to make your own scripts within minutes!
Having written down this 10th tip, my head explodes with other ideas. Let’s not make this blog post a too lengthy one, let’s stop here. However, keep tuned at our blog and you’ll certainly find a “take 2” soon!