Dyn jumps the shark, tries to strong-arm free accounts into paying

I’ve used Dyn, Inc.‘s free dynamic service for many years to maintain a DNS entry for my home internet connection. Their free account allows you to create one or two dynamic DNS entries underneath those domains. They provide software that updates your dynamic DNS record automatically when your IP address changes, usually because your ISP changes it.

In the past, free DNS entries have remained active as long as they were updated at least once every 30 days. The software they provide is configured to send an update every 25 days even if the IP address hasn’t changed, so in the past, as long as you installed and used their software to keep your DNS record up-to-date, you were golden.

Alas, Dyn recently decided to change the rules in a transparent attempt to make more of their free users pay for service they frankly don’t need. Now, using their software to update your dynamic DNS record automatically at least once every 30 days is no longer sufficient; now, you also need to log into their web site at least once every 30 days or your DNS records go away. They’ve claimed that this is to avoid “dormant” accounts, but that’s just stupid. If my account were dormant, then I wouldn’t have software updating its record automatically.

Even if you want to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’re trying to eliminate the load on their servers from people who aren’t using their dynamic DNS records even though they’re keeping them updated, they could do that by making people log in once per year, not once every 30 days. It’s patently obvious that they’re trying to make their free service harder to use, so that more free users will upgrade to paid accounts. That’s just rude.

What’s also rude is that the cheapest paid account they offer is $25 per year. It’s got all sorts of bells and whistles that I don’t need, which is the ability to maintain one tiny little DNS record. The fact that they want me to pay significantly more for that one DNS record than many registrars charge to register a domain for a year is absurd.

In addition to this change being stupid and offensive, they rolled it out incredibly poorly. First of all, they sent notifications to some, but not all, of their customers about the change. I was never notified and had to go digging around their community forums to figure out what was going on. Second, the email messages they send out automatically when people’s DNS records are about to go away haven’t been updated to reflect the change. As a result, I got an email message last night claiming that my DNS record was going to go away because I hadn’t updated it recently, when in fact I had updated it successfully 21 days ago, well within the 30-day window. That’s what prompted me to go searching in the community forums to find out what was going on.

I posted about my displeasure in the community forums. I also posted there a little Perl script to log into the web site automatically. I’m running it out of cron once a week so I don’t have to worry about this nonsense.

Take that, Dyn. Next time you feel the need to extract revenue from your free users, I suggest you let the geeks figure out how to do it nicely instead of Marketing. If you did that this time, then you need better geeks.

 

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