Namecheap is my domain name registrar for my website, a situation which I am in the process of correcting. The problem with Namecheap is that when I travel, use a proxy service, or a VPN--anything that causes their computers to believe that I am in a different physical location--I can't access my account without a huge hassle. I understand that they restrict user logins to specific geographic locations to protect the security of their servers. I also understand that they could use other methods that don't impact the usability of their services. They just don't want to.
The last time I had an apparent location change, in addition to many emails, I spent four hours on live chat with several people from Namecheap, ending with a supervisor called Alina. Each time I was transferred to the next person, she insisted on leading me through her trouble-shooting flowchart, even though I had just been through it with the previous person. After this four-hour ordeal, during which I had repeatedly told each person in the chain that Namecheap was blocking my logins, Alina finally believed me and forwarded my problem to the people who could actually do something about it. That resolved the problem for about two weeks, until the next time I tried to log in from a different location. Now I'm locked out again. This time, after repeated emails, it has become obvious to me that these people understand the problem, and they have no intention of doing anything about it. This is even though I made it clear to them that I would drop them if they didn't. This whole situation makes me fell like a serf--a person who is tied to the land by his master, unable to leave without permission. I'm not a serf, Namecheap, and I will log on from wherever I please.
I have the same problem with Gmail. But with Gmail, there is no one to email or live chat with. The only reason I still use Gmail is that Gmail allows me to use a reasonably secure second authentication method, a Fido u2f key. By the way, Fido keys are great. I've been using mine for over three years, and the only issues I have with it are that it's incompatible with older browsers, and it requires some adjustments to Linux. But when I travel, despite the fact that I use a u2f key every time I log in, Gmail still insists on sending me a six digit code over the phone to log in with. This is a significantly less secure second method of authentication than the Fido key. This means that if I have no way of receiving the 6-digit code, I can't log in until I'm back home. This is a huge inconvenience! And before you ask, no I'm not going to trade my $6.22/month VOIP phone that allows me to make free phone calls to anyone in the US or Canada 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a cellphone that will cost me at least $30/month, probably have significant restrictions, and prevent me from having a secure conversation with my bank.
The question I have for Google is, "Are you stupid?" What is the point of forcing me to use a less secure second authentication factor when I travel? Having worked for several very large companies, I think I have a pretty good idea of the answer to my question. I suspect the truth is that, as with most other large companies, Google is now run by managers who are not competent to make decisions that affect their customers. If this is true, then they should stick to hobnobbing in the executive dining room where they belong and leave the important decisions to people who are competent. I have seen incompetent management to be more or less a problem at all the companies for which I have worked. These managers think that no policy they set--no matter how stupid, dangerous, or alienating to their customers--should ever be questioned. This is why large companies eventually either become smaller companies, or they go bankrupt. Incompetent management is a serious problem in the United States, and I see no solution.
So what can be done about Namecheap, Google, and many other companies that insist on inconveniencing their customers with unnecessary and overly-restrictive policies regarding their services. Well, since they clearly don't listen to their customers, the only solution I have is to stop doing business with them.
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