Just for clarification, and to ease any troubled minds...

1) Powweb is not a Registrar.

Registrar's like Tucows are authorized by ICANN to hold and administer your domain; they are ultimately responsible for controlling the nameserver records and administrative management of your domain.

2) Powweb is a Registration Service Provider (RSP) for Tucows.
As an RSP, we have an administrative account with Tucows that allows us to do things like initiate a Renewal, Transfer Lock and Unlock domains, change the Nameservers, notify the Tucows systems of new external nameservers, request domain privacy for Whois records, update the Admin, Owner, Billing and Technical contacts on a domain (and a few other things).

Basically, we have access to the same tools as any domain holder (i.e. using manage.opensrs.net 's interface to manage the domain) and Registrar level tools to do things like resend/reset passwords, send Transfer Authorization codes from Tucows (EPP/AuthCode/Authinfo), initiate and suspend Domain Privacy), request Domain Redemption. In using these tools, we act for Tucows (additional hands make light work).

3) New Domains: If you purchase a domain at Powweb, currently it will be registered thru Tucows; it will generally also be automatically enrolled in our domain renewal system (ADRS = Automated Domain Renewal System), which watches the domain date and attempts to process a renewal beginning 15 days before the domain's next expiry. You obviously need to have a Credit Card on file to purchase the renewal or purchase a Domain Credit (a kind of Renewal Pre-Authorization) which will be consumed by the system before any new charges are processed. Currently, 1 year and 2 year plans are coming with a Domain Credit on the account (so you can purchase a domain immediately).

4) Domain Transfers:
You initiate a Transfer with the receiving Registrar or their RSP.
Powweb's Transfer Tool does the required checking and tracks the process to request your existing domain from the Holding Registrar.

To prepare to Transfer a Domain to Powweb:

1) Request that the Holding Registrar "UnlocK" the domain if it is Transfer Locked.
You should do the UNLOCK first; you cannot generally have the nameservers changed unless the domain is unlocked. Unless you bought your domain with some special restriction, you are entitled to change the domain nameservers at any point -- it is, after all, your domain. The Registrar holds only the Nameserver records ... everything else is in a DNS table at your nameservers.

2) Request the EPP/AuthCode/AuthInfo Transfer Authorization Code from the Holding Registrar
You can request the EPP/AuthCode at any point; it might be refused if your domain is not entitled to be transferred (new domain or expired and then renewed = not eligible 60 days). You will need this code to authorize the transfer; it may be time limited (eg. valid for 5 days).

3) Request that the nameservers be pointed to ns1.powweb.com and ns2.powweb.com

Once the domain is unlocked, you should be able to request that the nameserver on your domain be changed to ns1.powweb.com and ns2.powweb.com; once that change is made, it will generally take 24-48 hours (sometimes as much as 72 hours), for these changes to propogate through DNS servers around the world. Traffic will start to be directed to Powweb at any point thereafter, so make sure to setup email boxes on your Powweb account promptly.

Now, here's a trick -- you can actually add an existing domain to your Powweb account before the transfer begins ... that will allow you to go ahead and create the email boxes (the domain must be present to create them in the form name@mydomain.com). You can't add a domain that already exists in the Powweb (or Endurance) system on another account (it has to be removed from the other account first). This allows you to have things setup before you even begin the Transfer. When you start the transfer, the system will be ready to get receive mail right away.

4) Powweb wants you to have full control of your domain at Tucows...
If you transfer a domain, and you haven't already changed the nameservers, we will reset them to ns1.powweb.com and ns2.powweb.com after the transfer completes.
We will normally set the domain username and password to the account username and password -- this will allow you to use our OPS Domain Console (an API gateway into the Tucows system) and/or login directly at http://manage.opensrs.net with your account username and password. From the OPS Domain Console you can then change the nameservers from inside OPS, process renewals and purchase domain Whois privacy.

The only cost for a transfer is the cost of a one year renewal at Powweb (currently $15) -- we have to perform a renewal to support the transfer. And, you can do the transfer at any valid time -- but don't leave it to the renewal time -- if a domain expires during a transfer, the transfer will fail and you will have to renew with the Holding Registrar and then pay for an additional year and wait 60 days before you can transfer.

The Transfer tool (a fairly new tool) is designed to assist you with the transfer --- you still have to reply to the Transfer Confirmation Request email and provide the Auth Code -- if something goes wrong with the Transfer (it happens occassionaly), support can track down the status/reason at Tucows and move things along with a manual process.