In the following article we will come to understand the relationship between resellers, registrants, and the registrar.
Before we begin let's deconstruct some terms:
Registrant - The domain owner, and customer to the reseller
Reseller - Customer to the registrar
Registrar - Tucows Inc/OpenSRS
What is OpenSRS? Who are your customers?
OpenSRS is the wholesale service division of the registrar Tucows Inc. OpenSRS provides a paid service to businesses, both aspiring and established, to which they will have the ability to sell, among other things, top-level domains (TLDs) without having previously acquired accreditation from each TLD registry independently. These businesses can utilize many different interfaces via OpenSRS to achieve the sale, and later management, of these TLDs whether it be via web, third party application, or API.
Businesses utilizing the OpenSRS service, are known as resellers. Resellers may vary according to the products they offer. Some resellers will strictly sell OpenSRS TLDs and strictly utilize our Storefront interface, while others will offer OpenSRS products in conjunction with other products from external services and re-package them.
Fundamentally, these resellers are offering a service to their own customers. As such, they agree to take ownership over the services they offer, whether it be via OpenSRS or otherwise, and provide their own customers support if they so need it.
Such is also outlined in the reseller's master service agreement with us (Section 18).
Concepts for OpenSRS Resellers
The OpenSRS Messaging Tool
We understand the importance of branding a resellers services to provide registrants a one-label ecosystem.
We've made a reseller's job, as a domain service provider, easier. Our messaging tool is designed to perform all the heavy-lifting of distributing email notification (mandatory or otherwise) to the reseller's domain/trust/email owners regarding the state of their product (expiration, validation, etc). Our tool does so, while maintaining a reseller's one-label brand image.
Our messaging platform allows an OpenSRS reseller, to send email notifications to:
- Their Subresellers
- Their Registrants
This tool allows communications to these recipients regarding every billing and/or management aspect of any OpenSRS Service purchased.
These messages are fully customizable, and can be tailored to the reseller's liking via the message template editor, or with raw HTML and CSS.
A full guide on utilizing the OpenSRS Messaging Tool can be found HERE.
The importance of the "Tech Contact" of a reseller account
As mentioned in the blurb above, we understand the value of maintaining the reseller's brand image. So unlike communications sent to the reseller, the communications generated by the messaging tool to registrants are not received from an @opensrs.com or an @tucows.com email address.
Communications designated for registrants come from the reseller's brand email address, automatically. This email address is the same one specified at the time of account registration, known as the "Tech Contact". This email address will distribute vital information to registrants regarding the state of their service, so it's imperative that it remains operational.
How are you sending emails as my "Tech Contact" email address?
Any email server has the capability of sending emails on behalf of any email address, unauthorized email hosts doing so without the knowledge of the domain owner are called "spoofers". Fortunately, Domain Owners/DNS Service Providers/Email Administrators can take preventative measures to stop spoofers from sending e-mail on behalf of a user/domain of their management.
If the reseller provides us a Tech Contact email address with an unprotected domain, we will be able to send the reseller's registrants communications relating to their services under the reseller's brand. Unfortunately, so can anybody else.
As such, we recommend that the reseller implements methods of securing their domain name, and making certain that only certain hosts are authorized to send emails on behalf of that domain. These methods can include DMARC, DKIM and/or SPF records in the domain's DNS zone file. Please note, this is not something OpenSRS Support will be able to assist you with.
If the reseller provides us a Tech Contact email address with a protected domain, the reseller must ensure that our mailservers can send messages on behalf of that user/domain.
Please view THIS article for adding our mailservers to a domain's SPF configuration.
View/Modify the Tech Contact email address
- Logging into manage.opensrs.com
- Hovering over your username in the top-right corner
- Clicking "Classic Reseller Interface"
- Scrolling down to the bottom of page
- Pressing the "Tech Contact" hyperlink
An improperly configured Tech Contact email address can lead to communications being sent to registrants either bouncing or failing. OpenSRS cannot take responsibility for these circumstances as it is the reseller's duty to make certain that their Tech Contact email address is compatible with our sending host.
Reseller is using a free email service provider (@gmail.com, @hotmail.com, @ymail.com) as their Tech Contact email address. The result of which makes all communications to their registrants bounce back.
Issue: Free E-mail service providers have secured their domain and allowed only a certain set of hosts to send emails on behalf of that domain name. Those hosts do not include any OpenSRS outbound mail servers.
Solution: The reseller can swap the Tech Contact email address to a privately managed domain and mailbox. They can then authorize our mail server to send messages on behalf of the domain.
Reseller's Tech Contact email address is utilizing a private domain and managed email service. Why are emails to registrants bouncing?
Issue: There are two possible problems in this scenario.
- The messaging host in missing from this domain's list of authorized sending hosts.
Solution: Add the messaging host to the authorized senders list for the domain.
- The messaging host is authorized to send email on behalf of the domain for the Tech Contact email address. Yet, the message is still undelivered, or bouncing.
Solution: The recipient has blocked the Reseller's Tech Contact email address Domain, the messaging host, or the recipient's mailbox simply does not exist. Inquire with OpenSRS Support for the recipient server response at the time the email from the messaging host was dispatched to the registrant.
Domain Owners of Tucows Inc.
The OpenSRS ecosystem can seem complex, but this guide will alleviate the confusion of who you should be contacting and under what circumstances.
What is Tucows Inc?
Tucows is a wholesale domain service registrar. We sell domains and affiliated services to different businesses in bulk.
Was my domain registered with Tucows Inc?
Please visit THIS page and enter your domain name. The please observe the section of the results page titled REGISTRAR.
I don't remember signing up for Tucows Inc, why do you have my domain name?
As mentioned, Tucows is a wholesale service provider. Meaning, although you didn't register your domain with us directly, you did purchase the domain via one of our Resellers.
How do I know which reseller I purchased my domain with?
For the "Find Reseller" tool, please visit THIS page and enter your domain name. The results page will produce the contact information for the reseller responsible for providing you support regarding your domain.
The "Find Reseller" tool could not find my reseller. What do I do?
If your domain's registrar is Tucows Inc, and the Find Reseller tool could not identify your reseller, then your domain has most likely entered The Redemption Grace Period. Please contact OpenSRS Support for your reseller's contact information. Please note that OpenSRS Support will not be able to answer any other questions regarding your domain name outside of your reseller's contact information.
I've tried contacting my reseller, but I cannot reach them OR they are unsupportive. What do I do now?
If you are the owner of the domain AND your reseller is unresponsive to your queries, please send an email to our Compliance team at email@example.com.
Your email should try and include all of the criteria below:
- The email should be FROM the domain registrant's email address. To determine the registrant's email address, please use any WHOIS Lookup.
- Domain name in question
- Your Name
- Context of the situation
- Briefly describe the most recent communication history with your reseller
- Attach a scanned copy of your full coloured government issued photo ID, and/or a notarized affidavit
Once you send your email off you will receive an automated message to let you know that your request has been queued. Please allow a Compliance officer to start correspondence within 24-96 business hours as their request queue may vary in size. Please note that The Compliance team does not have a reachable phone number.