A while ago, I was told about a domain name registrar called Soho Consulting doing some good deals on domain names, so as I was in the market for some more domain names for various projects, I registered a few with them. Over the years, I’ve signed up with some other cheaper and more flexible ISPs and I’m now doing things with those domain names, so every so often I transfer one or two of the domains to another ISP.

With some re-registration dates looming, I thought it a good idea to transfer two .com and one .net domain names from Soho to DreamHost.

Now, the process for transferring a .com domain name to DreamHost is as follows:

  1. Unlock the domain name with the present ISP;
  2. Change the namservers from the present ISP’s to DreamHost‘s;
  3. Obtain the authorisation/release/EPP code from the present ISP; and
  4. Initiate the transfer through the DreamHost control panel.

Very straightforward.

With a number of ISPs we’ve used before, you can either do items 1-3 through the ISP’s control panel or you can e-mail them and they will do that for you.

So when I checked in the Soho control panel, I found that the three domain names I wanted to transfer did not have the release codes accessible to me – some other ones they themselves had registered through eNom did have that information.

I contacted Soho through their control panel:

Fri May 18 2007 08:10PM by [me]

How do I get the release codes for the following domain names, please:

[Domain 1]
[Domain 2]
[Domain 3]

On Saturday evening, I was sent this message: 

Sat May 19 2007 06:59PM by support@sohosupport.info

The codes have been sent to the registered e-mail address [now defunct e-mail address]

Somewhat miffed, I replied: 

Sun May 20 2007 09:22AM by [me]

And what was the point of that?

The “registered e-mail address” was changed a while back and I have added the correct address to those domain names today as nothing whatsoever was filled in for them before.

Please resend the release codes to the actual “registered e-mail address” which is [me].

What I wasn’t expecting was this sarcastic response: 

Sun May 20 2007 10:15AM by support@sohosupport.info


Wish we could, but those emails are sent from OpenSRS, and always go to the admin contact for each individual domain. They are following ICANN rules, as will the registry you’re moving the domains to. But if you would like to contact ICANN directly they may their rules for you.


Kind regards


Soho Consulting

Maybe he didn’t like working weekends? So, still needing the domain release codes, I replied:

Sun May 20 2007 11:26AM by [me]

Hi Jonathan,

Sarcastic replies are all very well and good, but how is it that every other ISP we use can provide the information from the ISP to me directly or through the control panel?

I have now added a working e-mail address as the admin contact (this information being apparently omitted in your contol panel before) – do you think you would be able to provide me with his information now?

By Monday, there had been no movement or other contact, so I contacted them again: 

Mon May 21 2007 10:35AM by [me]


I am still waiting to get these release codes from you. Could you please provide them forthwith?

I have spent the last 10 minutes on hold in your telephone system so I can only assume there’s no-one taking calls today…

Richard Morris

A few minutes later, this response was added to my support ticket: 

Mon May 21 2007 10:42AM by support@sohosupport.info

Yes I agree I didn’t see the need to be sarcastic either, but perhaps you were having a bad day or something. Sorry, but we cannot give out authorisation codes on the telephone.

I have passed your profile on to the OpenSRS customer interface. The four remaining domain names you have registered through them can be managed from:


Username: [deleted]
Password: [deleted]

Support form:


Kind regards


Soho Consulting

This crossed with mine: 

Mon May 21 2007 10:44AM by [me]

I gave up with telephone support after 20 minutes with no-one answering…

Note that at this stage, my simple request for release codes for three domain names has changed to him giving me a log-in for four domain names…

 In the meantime, I was noticing weird goings-on in the Soho contol panel:

Mon May 21 2007 10:56AM by [me]

Well the domain name [Domain 1] seems to have disappeared from your system so I cannot unlock the domain name to make changes.

Could you please do this for me and let me know when it is done?

Many thanks.

I had now received the OpenSRS log-in details and was trying to obtain release codes in both control panels, but the OpenSRS log-in I had been sent was a restricted one:

Mon May 21 2007 10:58AM by [me]

Actually, that’s the same with all those domain names now. Could you please sort this out?

“- Domain Locking –

When locking is enabled for a domain, any requests to transfer the domain to another registrar or hosting company will automatically fail. This can be used to prevent fraudulent transfers of the domain, while locking is enabled.

Should you ever want to transfer the domain, or modify nameservers based on the domain, domain locking must first be disabled, before the relevant action is performed.

Note that only the owner for a domain can enable/disable locking. The sub-user for the domain, if any, will not be able to perform this action.

Locking currently Enabled

NOTE: Locking cannot be enabled/disabled from this interface. Please contact your domain supplier for assistance.

So at this stage I was still unable to unlock the three domain names and obtain the release codes, essential prerequisites for the domain transfers. Imagine my utter disbelief when I received this:

Mon May 21 2007 11:07AM by support@sohosupport.info

I have sent you the log in for managing the remaining domain names directly with opensrs. UK domain names do not have locking but I will pass them back to Nominet for you, so you can manage them with Nominet.

Kind regards


Soho Consulting

What this means is that for six other .co.uk domain names I had registered through Soho Consulting, they had decided to detag the domain names!

When that happens, those domain names effectively stop working as no nameservers hold any details as to where to go for web requests or e-mail delivery.

In addition, the ISP cannot regain control and you cannot simply initiate a transfer to another ISP from that receipient ISP either. You have to go to Nominet and fill in a form providing a copy of ID such as a passport, etc. and details of the new ISP. Oh and there’s the small matter of a charge per domain name of £11.75 that you have to pay up front…

So I replied:

Mon May 21 2007 11:24AM by [me]

Why would you do that? Where, exactly, have I requested that?

All the domain names have disappeared from your domain manager so I have no ability to do anything with them.

Nothing in reponse, other than Soho closing the open support ticket!

Mon May 21 2007 11:36AM by [me]

Why have you closed this ticket when it is very much still open?

I started off on Friday with 14 domain names in your control panel. I asked for release codes for 3 of them.

As of now, I have no access to any of the domain names.

Please rectify this immediately.

In the meantime, I had filled in the forms and paid the fee to Nominet for the TAG transfer to 1&1: 

Mon May 21 2007 11:47AM by [me]

In regard to the .co.uk domain names, how are you going to pay for the fee that Nominet wants to retag the domain names?

These costs – caused directly and solely by Soho Consulting – were ignored by them:

Mon May 21 2007 12:57PM by support@sohosupport.info

You can manage you Enom domains here:


Put in a domain name and the password (same for all) of [deleted]

[Domain 4]
[Domain 5]
[Domain 6]
[Domain 7]
[Domain 8]


Mon May 21 2007 01:00PM by support@sohosupport.info

You may want to make any changes before you initiate a transfer as once the process has started, under Icann rules, no changes can be made to the domain name until the process is complete (or fails).

But yet again, Soho Consulting showed their incompetence by providing a log-in with insufficient rights: 

Mon May 21 2007 04:29PM by [me]

Still waiting for you to send me those release codes. The enom log-in you sent me does not provide that information.

Please do not close this support ticket until the matter is resolved.

I also need to have your proposals for paying the Nominet fees I have now been charged for re-tagging the .co.uk domain names after Jonathan unilaterally decided to de-tag them.

No replies so I rang their Technical Support [sic] number (yet again) and finally managed to get someone there to slowly obtain the release codes and unlock the domain names for the rest of the domain names. The glacial way he realised that yes, I did know what I was talking about and no, the log-in details they had provided did not have sufficient administrative rights was something you had to experience to believe!

Eventually, at 5.51pm, the last release code came through and I was able to remove the domain names from the ‘control’ of that utter shower.

So from asking for release codes for three domain names on the Friday, I had had to transfer fourteen domain names including paying a separate fee to Nominet for the .co.uk ones, all because of Soho Consulting’s incompetence.

Oh and still no word from them as to how they intend paying me back the Nominet fee. It looks like a trip to the Small Claims Court is going to have to be made…

And as a final footnote, for some reason I cannot access the www.soho-uk.com Soho Consulting web site and support area from this PC. I wonder if it’s because it’s on a fixed IP address (and hence easily blockable…) and because it’s the IP address logging the support requests? Surely they wouldn’t be that petty, small-minded and childish?