IT.COM

Domain reclassified as premium at Name.com & priced at 10x original renewal!

NameSilo
Watch
Normally i set every domain to auto renewal and forget it. Randomly and once in a while will audit the account to see if there is any anomalies in renewal prices.

During this process in @name.com Name.com account found one of the domain marked as premium and renewal price has been set to more 10x the original renewal price. Original transfer/renewal prices is $69.99 and new renewal price is insane $736.25, no communication or anything, nada.

This domain is a .bond TLD and there is a similar discussion about another TLD here where is registrant just filed a ICANN complaint against the registrar/registry.

Filed a ticket and getting the same usual registry changed and we can't do anything about it.

I've asked to escalate and i'll update the thread.

Meanwhile If you're on auto renew, advise everyone to thoroughly go through your account.

This is getting ridiculous that registrars / registries can change status as premium and charge whatever they want without your consent while continuously OWNing and RENEWing the domain.
 
15
•••
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
As I've dug into it, I'm stunned by the lack of registrant protections when it comes to premium classified domains. That's left me with the opinion that registrars should refuse to sell them until better rules are put in place that protect registrants (aka the registrars' customers). Cloudflare already does that as far as I understand.

I'm not sure about registrars refusing to sell an entire extension though. As an aggregate, the registrars wield most of the power in the industry because they're the only one that has a relationship with registrants. If they stop handling entire TLDs, some of the registry operators may take more notice of that weakness and start buying + consolidating registrars to maintain the status quo.

Since there's not a ban on being both a registrar and a registry operator, which there should be in my opinion, there's always a risk of seeing consolidation in the industry that makes it worse for registrants. The only way to truly protect registrants is via contractual guarantees, which is mainly the registry agreement, and that doesn't seem to be a priority for ICANN.

In the last 10 years, have there been any changes to the registry agreement that benefited registrants?



Were there protections added to the agreement for new gTLDs? I didn't see anything in the agreement that deals with premium pricing classifications. The word "premium" doesn't even appear.



That's a very good point and most people don't undertand there are, in my opinion, no registrant protections to prevent it. That's why I was careful when talking about those kinds of registrations to say "I don't have a problem with it if the domain becomes non-premium for the duration of the registration period", but it's a subtly that most people won't notice.

Thank you for pointing out an instance of it actually occuring. It's nice to have an example instead of speculation / interpretation.



That would be nice. ICANN is the only one in a position to foster stability and predictibility for domain registrants. There's a massive imbalance of power between a registry and a registrant and, if ICANN doesn't protect the interests of registrants, I think (some of) the registries will ruin the long term health of the system by chasing short term profits.

ICANN's position seems pretty clear though. There's a good post on DNW [1] from a couple days ago that shows it. I agree with most of the author commentary on that.

@bismisoft You should try to keep as much documentation as you can that shows the way your domain was reclassified, the (attempted) price increase, and the reversal. It demonstrates that registries are willing to and have engaged in targetted price increases for domain names that are potentially valuable. It doesn't matter who owns the domain at that point, because targetting high value keywords is an effective way of targetting registrants that are likely to have built / developed enough with their domains to make switching TLDs hard (or impossible).

That DNW article also shows why it's so imporant for registrars to keep track of this issue. ICANN is saying it doesn't make business sense for registries to engage in this kind of price discrimination while it's literally happening to some registrants.

1. domainnamewire.com/2024/03/28/icann-publishes-economic-analysis-about-price-controls-in-org-and-info/
I do have the entire saga documented, still thanks for the heads up i've to formalize it and keep it archived in the cloud.
 
0
•••
This may be the new cash cow of the domain industry, including registries, registrars, and domain aftermarkets.

I don't think registrars have any interest in something like that. Porkbun is in this thread saying as much and I think it's fair to judge Namecheap by their actions which include a lot of registrant advocacy based on what I've seen. Add in GoDaddy refusing to sell certain extensions and, to me, it starts to look like registrars are the biggest advocate for registrants.

Plus, it would damage their brands, burden them with extra support costs, and expose them to increasing liability as registrants file consumer complaints with regulatory agencies. That's not worth it to eek out a thin margin while the registries get the lion's share of the benefit.
 
0
•••
I don't think registrars have any interest in something like that. Porkbun is in this thread saying as much and I think it's fair to judge Namecheap by their actions which include a lot of registrant advocacy based on what I've seen. Add in GoDaddy refusing to sell certain extensions and, to me, it starts to look like registrars are the biggest advocate for registrants.

Plus, it would damage their brands, burden them with extra support costs, and expose them to increasing liability as registrants file consumer complaints with regulatory agencies. That's not worth it to eek out a thin margin while the registries get the lion's share of the benefit.
Point well taken.

The lines may get blurred when the registrar also functions with a marketplace.

Keep in mind that registrars can profit by domain names being dropped and auctioining them off or keeping them for reselling. Is it possible that the new premium renewal pricing may affect their ability to profit from the drop? Perhaps their own potential profits, or lack there of, weigh into their advocacy?
 
0
•••
Here is the relevant Section 2.10(c) of ICANN Registry Agreement. Note I added the bolding. To me, it says if I did not give written consent at time of initial registration that the pricing of the domain name must be identical to price of all other domain name renewals, i.e. not certain names reclassified as premium.
(c) In addition, Registry Operator must have uniform pricing for renewals of domain name registrations (β€œRenewal Pricing”). For the purposes of determining Renewal Pricing, the price for each domain registration renewal must be identical to the price of all other domain name registration renewals in place at the time of such renewal, and such price must take into account universal application of any refunds, rebates, discounts, product tying or other programs in place at the time of renewal. The foregoing requirements of this Section 2.10(c) shall not apply for (i) purposes of determining Renewal Pricing if the registrar has provided Registry Operator with documentation that demonstrates that the applicable registrant expressly agreed in its registration agreement with registrar to higher Renewal Pricing at the time of the initial registration of the domain name following clear and conspicuous disclosure of such Renewal Pricing to such registrant, and (ii) discounted Renewal Pricing pursuant to a Qualified Marketing Program (as defined below). The parties acknowledge that the purpose of this Section 2.10(c) is to prohibit abusive and/or discriminatory Renewal Pricing practices imposed by Registry Operator without the written consent of the applicable registrant at the time of the initial registration of the domain..."
 
7
•••
Here is the relevant Section 2.10(c) of ICANN Registry Agreement. Note I added the bolding. To me, it says if I did not give written consent at time of initial registration that the pricing of the domain name must be identical to price of all other domain name renewals, i.e. not certain names reclassified as premium.
Thanks, as always, for the excellent insight. So our origanal poster appears to have a recourse with ICANN if another attempt is made next year to increase the renewal price as "premium."
 
1
•••
So our origanal poster appears to have a recourse with ICANN if another attempt is made next year to increase the renewal price as "premium."
It is clear that that one registry and their legal counsel somehow view it differently, but yes, I hope that anyone affected will stand up for their rights. Eventually ICANN surely would have to at least respond. Here is the link with information and the form for submitting a registry compliance complaint:

https://www.icann.org/compliance/complaint

I would have thought that ICA would pursue this, not because many investors invest in names from that registry, but because of the precedent if one registry is allowed to get away with it.

-Bob
 
0
•••
Here is the relevant Section 2.10(c) of ICANN Registry Agreement. Note I added the bolding. To me, it says if I did not give written consent at time of initial registration that the pricing of the domain name must be identical to price of all other domain name renewals, i.e. not certain names reclassified as premium.
Exactly, that's black and white! Shortdot didn't admit to their mistake instead they mentioned they're making an exception.

Again all documents are ready and goes straight to ICANN if it happens again (unless by mistake)!
 
0
•••
@Bob Hawkes I finally got a chance to read through the related threads you linked from 2022-2023. What happened with your complaint?

One of your comments in an older thread caught my attention.

But this clause makes, in my reading (the registry see it differently, it seems), it very clear that unless the registrant explicitly agreed in writing at time of registration to higher renewal fees for this particular name, it can't have a renewal different from other names in that extension (until it drops). Or at least that is how I interpret it.

Now when I read Section 2.10(c) it makes me think there's an argument to be made that all premium renewal pricing violates the agreement unless the registries can produce that written consent. I don't consider a ToS checkbox to be "in writing".

Can you clarify whether your domains were reclassified from non-premium to premium or if you registered premium domains with the expectation of non-premium renewal prices since you hadn't agreed, in writing, to premium renewal pricing?

I would love to see that tweet about the $5k credit card bill, but the account is deleted.

I also read an article once about a registry that signed an agreement for voluntary price controls with registrars. Does anyone know what that was about or have any links? I can't find it despite a lot of searching.
 
0
•••
  • The sidebar remains visible by scrolling at a speed relative to the page’s height.
Back