Thursday, May 31, 2012

Buying A Custom Domain Requires A Working Bank Issued Credit Card

As Blogger in general, and custom domain publishing in particular, becomes more popular in Asia and Africa, we are seeing more problems with the Blogger / Google domain purchase process. The basic problem, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, will be expressed so simply.
My blog is showing an off-site redirect.
You're about to be redirected.

The blog that used to be here is now at http://www.mydomain.com.
Do you wish to be redirected?
What do I do now?

Some time ago, this report would have been diagnosed as spurious DNS addresses - and we would point out the necessities of proper custom domain DNS addressing, when setting up the domain yourself. Nowadays, an increasingly common diagnosis, for this problem, is an unsuccessfully purchased domain, using the Blogger / Google "Buy a domain" or Google Apps purchase process.

Some blog owners, preparing to purchase their domain, confuse the required bank issued credit card with an alternative - the bank issued debit card. When purchasing products in stores, a "debit card" looks and works the same as a "credit card". Apparently, not every "debit card" may work the same, with the Blogger / Google Apps "Buy a domain" process. It appears that in some countries, notably in Africa and Asia, debit cards are becoming a popular alternative to credit cards.

In some cases, the blog owner will check with his bank, and will find a token charge of $1 (or the local currency equivalent minimum purchase amount) posted to the account - but the $10 (or local currency equivalent) charge will not be found. Possibly, Google Checkout will show the notation
Payment declined : No reason provided

The "Buy a domain" process will appear to work, and the Blogger blog "mybloggerblog.blogspot.com" will be re published - in Transition - as "www.mydomain.com". The blog owner will find out later - after Transition expires and the republishing is completed - that the BlogSpot URL now shows an "off site redirect", because the domain was never registered.

The blog owner may receive email mentioning a problem.
Your service might be suspended.

Please pay your amount due, $10.00.
You have no valid forms of payment available for automatic charging.
Your bank or credit institution has declined an automatic payment with your Visa ...XXXX and provided the following reason: No reason provided. This form of payment can't be used. Please contact your bank for more information, then click the "Re-enable form of payment" link.

Apparently, bank issued credit cards work differently from debit cards, in the "Buy a domain" process. The bottom line is that, with the "Buy a domain" process mentioning "credit card", you will need to provide just that - and a "debit card" may not provide a reliable alternative. The reference Google Checkout: Troubleshooting Payments may provide insight here.

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