Domain Verification Woes

I would love to have a conversation with other DoOO school administrators about how you handle the whole domain verification process. We find it is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for our students. The dependence on email for verification is tricky because our student email system so frequently sticks those messages in a clutter/junk/spam folder. Or students delete the message because it looks spammy.

In addition, students don’t really understand that this is a part of the process we have no control over. We can’t verify the domain on their behalf, we can’t access their email inbox, etc.

As it stands, we usually have dozens of domains in verification limbo and no real foolproof way to reach out to those users to help them fix the problem.

Would love to brainstorm communication approaches to ease this friction point.

I know BYU and Davidson are the big schools using top level domains (several other schools make it a paid option but offer free subdomains so probably don’t deal with the issue on the same scale). I suppose the banner at the top of cPanel isn’t helping? We have similar struggles on the shared hosting side (especially with .edu email addresses, to the point where completely unironically we’ve had to encourage people to not use an .edu email when signing up with us. It’s a shame there’s not a better way to prevent the emails from ending up in junk mail as a starting point at least. I imagine there are fancy ways to use the registrar API to check against pending verifications and send your own notices as well, though we haven’t gone down that road ourselves yet.

The two things we have on the shared hosting side are:

  1. A banner when they login to our system that is fairly prominent if they have not verified their domain yet.
  2. Our welcome email includes information on the verification process and links to documentation. Since this email comes from our system it’s more legitimate and less likely to end up in spam or seen as spammy.