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Namecheap + .sbs domain zone: Wants me to pay premium price for the regular domain name

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z-z

New Member
Impact
1
Please guys, I need your help.

Earlier this month the domain in .sbs zone that I bought from namecheap was expired.
I wanted to pay for my domain but I was shocked to see the price more than 200$.
I have asked why the regular domain became premium and they said that .sbs registrant just took a decision to make my domain premium.

Based on that article:
domainnamewire.com/2022/06/24/can-registries-reclassify-your-domain-as-premium-before-renewal/

Looks like it is the impairment of my right.
But I don't know what to do next? Because namecheap support is taking so long time to answer on my case and in short period of time the domain gonna go to the redemption period.
What would be the correct way to stand upon my rights?

Thank you for any help!
 
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kor

Established Member
Impact
313
As they addressed the issue, the registry changed the renewal price. Not Namecheap.

So, you've the rights to renew or drop it.
 
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z-z

New Member
Impact
1
As they addressed the issue, the registry changed the renewal price. Not Namecheap.

So, you've the rights to renew or drop it.
Looks like you didn't read the article. It explains pretty clear that:

ICANN doesn’t want a registry to be able to say, “Gee, someone invested a lot of money in building a site on this domain, so let’s charge a lot to renew it because they’ll have no choice but to pay.

Registrant can not make specific domain premium if there is a legal owner.
 
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kor

Established Member
Impact
313
In what part of the ICANN article is this rule written?
 
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I am sorry to learn of your experience, @z-z I too was surprised when a number, not all, of my .sbs and .cfd domain names, when I went to renew, had been reclassified to premium renewals. I realized that the discounted first year (just a couple of dollars) would not hold but was expecting renewals of order of $11 as standard. I first thought it was registrar error, but found that no matter where I would choose to transfer, while prices varied a little, they were at about $60+ or $220+ per year, depending on name.

So the agreement that the registries are supposed to follow is found at https://www.icann.org/en/registry-agreements/base-agreement.

In what part of the ICANN article is this rule written?
To answer your question, as I read it the relevant section is 2.10 (c) regarding Registry Pricing. I have copied that part below, and added bold for what I view as the critical wording.

(c) In addition, Registry Operator must have uniform pricing for renewals of domain name registrations (“Renewal 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 and this Section 2.10(c) will be interpreted broadly to prohibit such practices. For purposes of this Section 2.10(c), a “Qualified Marketing Program” is a marketing program pursuant to which Registry Operator offers discounted Renewal Pricing, provided that each of the following criteria is satisfied: (i) the program and related discounts are offered for a period of time not to exceed one hundred eighty (180) calendar days (with consecutive substantially similar programs aggregated for purposes of determining the number of calendar days of the program), (ii) all ICANN accredited registrars are provided the same opportunity to qualify for such discounted Renewal Pricing; and (iii) the intent or effect of the program is not to exclude any particular class(es) of registrations (e.g., registrations held by large corporations) or increase the renewal price of any particular class(es) of registrations. Nothing in this Section 2.10(c) shall limit Registry Operator’s obligations pursuant to Section 2.10(b).​

My reading of the section is exactly the same as Andrew @DomainNameWire (as cited in your original post). The registry can, if you explicitly agreed in writing at time of registration, that this was a premium name with clearly stated premium renewals, increase the pricing with appropriate notice to the registrar. But I never agreed in writing. There was nothing at registration time to differentiate these names from others that I registered. It is not just one registrar, as I held names in these extensions at three different registrars.

Note that this is NOT the same as a registry, when a domain name drops, reclassification as premium. That happens with .co and .xyz a lot, and with some others. The original owner has given up the name, and the new registrant knows the premium status. This clause does not prevent that. Nor does this clause apply to country code domains outside the authority of ICANN.

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.

This is an absolutely critical issue for the domain community. There needs to be protection, otherwise a registry could look at which domain names are developed, or have high asking prices or other measures of quality, and increase just those names to high renewals, coming as a surprise to the investor or developer that already has resources tied up in the domain name.

To answer your question, the relevant form to complain about registry noncompliance is I think https://icannportal.force.com/compliance/s/generic-registry

I urge those who have been impacted will consider making a complaint. It does not take long to go through the various steps.

When I first discovered this, thinking it was an error, I tried to reach out to the registry multiple ways (filled out their online form, always with no response), then by other means. Eventually I did have a communications exchange. They do not see the interpretation of the above rule the same way I, and Andrew, do.

Therefore, eventually, I did submit a formal complaint to ICANN on the above form. It has now been about 5 weeks without a reply. I realize my own names will be lost, some already have been, but I made the case, the first time I ever submitted an ICANN complaint form for any issue in 5+ years of domain investing, to establish a ruling on whether the interpretation is correct. I will post an update to this thread when I get a decision from ICANN.

Note that there is nothing to be gained by complaining to your registrar, except possibly if they hear enough complaints they might rethink their association, as GoDaddy did after the Uniregistry across the board increase in renewal fees some years ago (that is a separate issue from this variable renewal pricing one.

I hope that the rights of developers, users of domain names, and investors will be confirmed by ICANN. I have invested in many different extensions from many different registries, and this was only the second time I have encountered this, and the other was resolved by the registry as a simple error on one domain name.

Bob
 
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It was just posted on social media overnight that this is a huge issue if someone has auto-renew turned on. This person was surprised a week or so ago by a $5000 renewal fee charged to his credit card, one domain at as much as $500, when expecting the normal renewal rate of about $10 for .sbs and .cfd.

I don't use auto-renew and had not thought of this. I just posted a warning on NamePros:
https://www.namepros.com/threads/tu...sbs-and-cfd-to-avoid-unexpected-bill.1290692/

I would feel absolutely sick if these charges resulted in a bill like that. Hopefully we can save some others. If there is any chance you might have auto-renew on, please immediately check.

-Bob
 
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