How to pick a registrar with Matt Segall, Director of Systems Development at UFG

Jan 15, 2020  - written by  in Domain names

Matt Segall is the Director of Systems Development for the United Franchise Group (UFG) who manage 3,500 domains in approximately sixty TLDs, spread across multiple registrars. Last year, when Matt needed to transfer some of his company’s domain name profile to a new registrar, he took to Reddit to ask the community for ideas.

After trying out ten different suggestions, Matt finally settled on Gandi. We got in touch with him to ask him a few questions about his work and his registrar selection process.

G: First off, tell us a bit about your company. What’s the UFG? How many domains do you manage today?

M: The United Franchise Group (UFG) consists of a number of award-winning brands – from #1 in Category by Entrepreneur Magazine, to multiple brands in the Franchise 500, to Top 10 Fastest Growing Franchises, and many, many more! From business-to-business brands, to consultative brands, to retail and food brands, the United Franchise Group is consistently recognized as the global leader for entrepreneurs.

G: Can you tell us a bit about what you do at UFG?

M: As the Director of Systems Development, I handle the bulk of our internet services, requirements, and vendors – which includes the management of all web properties, hosting, domains, DNS, email, application and web development, as well as any ancillary internet services our brands require. I am a long time member of the UFG team and am coming up on my 20th year with the organization.

G: We loved your 2019 Reddit thread, but we have to ask: did you really try 10 different registrars before choosing? What made you choose Gandi in the end?

M: As my team has been the holder of the all the domains and DNS for the past 18 years, we are always looking for efficiencies. We had primarily worked with Godaddy as our main registrar of choice, and then worked with alternate providers such as Marcaria for the harder to obtain TLDs, or ones that required local presence. Overtime, we became disenchanted with the way Godaddy dealt with their customers, their sales tactics, high costs of SSLs, and a pretty bad DNS bug that really pushed us over the edge. During our research, I did in fact try out ten new domain registrars and researched each one over the course of many months. I saw this move as being one I didn’t want to make twice, so I wanted to be sure that the new registrar checked as many boxes as possible. In the end we selected Gandi for the following reasons:

  • Costs were close to Godaddy’s pricing (based on the number of domains we manage).
  • U2F support—I really see domains as a major asset to our organization and I wanted to select a company that fully embraced U2F—FIDO/WebAuthn as our portfolio is essentially the crown jewels of our company, at least in my eyes.
  • Support for multiple accounts. Godaddy had a system that really didn’t work well when it came to multiple accounts, and was very buggy when you had over so many domains.
  • Ability to multi-bill—as we have multiple brands we like to bill domains that relate to a specific brand to that brand.
  • DNS Flattening, essentially support for CNAMES at the Apex level.
  • API access—while we don’t yet use this we are looking forward to pulling our domain data into our data warehouse via API for ease of reporting.
  • Gandi handled the most TLDs we required, this was vital as we want to reduce the number of companies and places we needed to go to manage our domains and DNS.
  • Clean UI/UX, one thing that is truly off-putting to me about our previous registrar was its UI/UX—it seems to be made to suck as much money out of the consumer as they can, Gandi is refreshing—while not perfect it’s still a million times nicer than Godaddy’s.
  • A high level of permissions for our multiple accounts, this way I can give varying access levels to each member of my team.
  • DNS backups, when I saw this I was really excited; how many times would this of come in handy in the last 18 years my mind can only imagine.
  • Web redirects support SSL, this was also a huge deal for us, security is vital and the fact Gandi offers web redirects with free SSL is amazing.
  • Last but not least free single domain SSLs. This alone has allowed us to procure 1,983 SSLs so far saving us $159,000 annually – something we didn’t spend or do at Godaddy as that was just too cost prohibitive. In the end Gandi checked most of the important boxes, and raised the bar that much higher.

G: You mentioned you liked our support for multiple accounts. Could you describe your use-case for this and how this feature has helped?

M: Previously we used one login shared amongst 5-6 team members to log into Godaddy, which is sub-optimal in today’s every growing threat landscape. Having the ability to have control of multiple users, and how and what they can access inside of Gandi is crucial. This allows us to assign user permissions to various team members, and prevent access from certain things we want to keep under lock and key. It might not be for everyone, but any enterprise customer that has a large portfolio would truly appreciate this feature.

G: What was your experience working with our sales and support teams?

M: I have had excellent interactions with the sales and support team. The  sales team was amazing, I really appreciated their time, patience, and consideration. This was a very large project for me to handle and having someone who wasn’t pushing me every day, made my decision that much less stressful. Support has been great on the occasions we have used it. I would say what impressed me most was that the CTO and CEO reached out to me personally after I posted a review online about Gandi. Who does that? I can tell you, someone who really appreciates their customers’ feedback—that was the icing on the cake. Knowing that they felt the need to reach out to me, was truly unbelievable and most appreciated on my end. I was able to provide them some feedback on their UI, and over time I have seen a number of those requests implemented. It’s nice knowing I had a small hand in making the UX a tiny bit better.

You can read Matt’s Reddit thread here. If you’re in the same position Matt was in last year and you want to give Gandi a try, contact our Corporate team!