.AG Registry is taking 7 years old domain away from me, holds many other .ag domains hostages. .AG domain investors/web developers beware!
I registered b.ag on November 9, 2010. When I tried to renew it in the beginning of past November while the domain was still active, .AG Registry, Nic.ag, didn’t let me do so. It appeared that Nic.ag silently imposed a lock on b.ag preventing it from being renewed even before I tried to renew it.
So I contacted Hexonet, the current registrar of b.ag, and asked for help. They confirmed that the lock was made at registry side. They tried to contact Nic.ag regarding this issue but haven’t got response from Nic.ag. Hexonet legal department advised me to contact Nic.ag directly which I did.
I was emailing at all known Nic.ag addresses ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]) almost each day for few weeks and didn’t receive any response from them. After few weeks emails sent to Nic.ag started getting back undelivered. Now emailing to Nic.ag works again, but they still didn’t provide me with a single response! I also opened 45 tickets at mydomains.nic.ag at all their departments regarding this issue but got no response at all.
Finally, after more than a month of numerous attempts to get in touch with Nic.ag, yesterday, December 14, Hexonet forwarded to me Nic.ag response, as follows:
“The problem stems from two violations of our policies, which have been in existence for much more than 10 years. Unfortunately, there was an error that caused some of these names to be made available technically, but the registration was still invalid. We caught it too late to delete it in the Add Grace period of 5 days after registration, and so we decided then to allow persons to go ahead and develop legitimate websites for their personal businesses. Even so, we monitored these closely to ensure that the names were not sold or were registered simply for speculation and not in good faith.
Now, we see that this domain name, which you do not "own", has NOT been developed for a legitimate business, and is instead listed on SEDO as for sale. We cannot continue to allow these violations to continue, and so we will not allowed further renewals of this and other domains like this that continue to violate of stated policies and rules. The domain name will be allowed to expire its current term and will no longer be allowed to be re-registered and will return to the pool of names that are blocked and/or restricted by the Registry.”
Below is what I think of all this mess:
1. Indeed, Nic.ag policy says: “Minimum length of a domain name is 1 character, not including extensions. However, all 1 character domain names are reserved by the Registry.” Also b.ag, along with many other .ag domains, is indeed in Registry reserved/restricted list
Before I registered b.ag of course I was unaware of this, as I saw other single character .ag domains being dropped and re-registered by different persons all the time. Needless to say that when I discovered b.ag being available and registered it, I had no idea of any reserved/restricted .ag names. OK, one can say it was my fault that I didn’t read all their policies before registering it. But who does? The domain is available for registration – I take it.
2. Nic.ag, in contrary with their own polices, allowed me to own b.ag for 7 (SEVEN!) years, enjoying my annual renewal payments (around $80 annually) but suddenly woke up and took it away. Moreover, Nic.ag says they “closely monitored” it during all these 7 years, knowing that the domain name is under violation of their policies, but did nothing. If Nic.ag itself doesn’t care about their own policies, who should (rhetoric)?
3. Now Nic.ag says that listing b.ag for sale at Sedo is in violation of their policies, and they “cannot continue to allow these violations to continue", so "we will not allowed further renewals of this and other domains like this that continue to violate of stated policies and rules.
So, Nic.ag considers selling .ag domains names illegitimate activity and violation of their policies.
B.ag was listed for sale for FEW YEARS, and Nic.ag, while “closely monitoring” it and enjoying my payments, quietly held the domain hostage of their misguided policy. BTW, Nic.ag policy says the following:
“11. Domain names may be re-sold.”
What is this?
4. Nic.ag says: “we monitored these closely to ensure that the names were not sold or were registered simply for speculation and not in good faith.”
According to Namebio, many .ag domains were sold in the past, including some reserved/restricted domains as well. Again, Nic.ag is in violation of their own policies, as they did and do allow registration and selling of restricted domain names.
But most concerning thing is they claim selling .ag domains is in violation of their policies. As such, nothing prohibits them from monitoring public .ag sales and then suspending those sold for decent amounts. How should feel the buyer of t.ag that he bought in 2011 for $60,000 on Sedo!
5. Amazingly, Nic.ag allowed many other reserved/restricted names be registered and STILL allows doing so, thus holding more and more domains hostages. One can easily verify this by running whois scan of the names presented in reserved/restricted domain list. Some reserved/restricted domains were registered even very recently this year.
6. Few days ago Nic.ag also suspended i.ag which was registered in 2004!
7. Despite Nic.ag says that “we decided then to allow persons to go ahead and develop legitimate websites for their personal businesses” on registered domains from reserved/restricted list, all those domains are still in violation of Nic.ag policies and may be silently taken back anytime at Nic.ag discretion. Nic.ag policy clearly says:
“All domain names registered that may be on one of the lists on this page are considered to be in violation of these Regulations.
If a domain name that violates this policy is later found to have been registered, then the registration may be found to be invalid, and the domain name may either be deleted or transferred to the Registry.”
Some of reserved/restricted domains were registered for much longer than b.ag. Some of them were registered by end users. For example, ms.ag is registered by Morgan Stanley… are they aware that Nic.ag may take it back anytime if they want lol.
8. .AG domain investors, beware! Think twice before you register/dropcatch/buy .ag domains, as your investment is at risk! If you got valuable .ag domain and list it for sale, Nic.ag may allow you to own it for a few years, taking your money, and then quietly take it away from you.
9. .AG end users/web developers, beware! Despite Nic.ag silently allowed you to use one of their reserved/restricted names for your business, it is STILL in violation of Nic.ag policy, so “the registration may be found to be invalid, and the domain name may either be deleted or transferred to the Registry”.
Nic.ag is one of the most obscure registries I ever seen. Forget about .ooo registry that took 9 months old domain away from the owner, now we have the new leader. From my experience, Nic.ag absolutely doesn’t give a sh*t on domain registrants: no single response to all my emails & 45 support tickets being sent to them during a month!
On the opposite, I’m so grateful to Hexonet for all their assistance regarding this issue. Hexonet is no doubt one of the best registrars with amazing customer support.