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alert Turn Off Auto-Renew on .SBS and .CFD To Avoid Unexpected Bill

Catch.Club Catch.Club
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If you have invested in either .sbs ("Side By Side") or .cfd ("Clothing-Fashion-Design) extension domain names it is absolutely critical that you immediately make sure that you do not have auto-renew set for any of these domain names. Here is why.

The Short Dot Registry made many continuously registered domain names in these two extensions premium renewal pricing with substantial increases. The normal renewal fees in both extensions are very reasonable, wholesale $6.00 for .sbs and $7.00 for .cfd, with retail prices at a number of registrars in the range from $6 to $11. So you were probably expecting those names you registered on discounts, just a few bucks, last year to be renewing at about $10 or even less. You are in for surprises in some of your names.

The Short Dot Registry has made the renewal prices on many domain names not these reasonable standard amounts, but about $60, $240 or $500. I can confirm the first two levels personally, discovering names that I registered at standard rates were now showing a renewal of $240, or a in a few instances $60. It seems widespread, extrapolating from my own portfolio. I also made sure that it was not an error at one registrar, checking renewal and transfer pricing for these names at four different registrars, and while prices varied slightly, they all showed the same premium renewals.

Is this allowed? Not by how I read section 2.10(c) of the ICANN Registry Agreement. As I read that section (see segments below) there must be uniform renewal pricing unless the registrant agreed to higher renewal pricing at time of initial registration. I have had communication with the registry and their representative, and they do not interpret it as I do. I have submitted a compliance report to ICANN, but no response as of writing.

(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..."

Earlier domain industry expert Andrew of @DomainNameWire wrote on exactly this issue in Can Registries Reclassify Your Domain Name as Premium Before Renewal. My conclusion is exactly the same as his: no.

The alert to high premium renewal changes in these extensions was posted on NamePros by a new member a few days ago. I responded in this post, including the link to the form if others wish to dispute this through the ICANN mechanism. When the issue first arose, the thought of auto-renewed names that had been switched to premium never entered my mind. That makes this situation more dire, and hence this warning.

I turn off auto renew on every domain name out of caution (I do register years in advance my most valuable domain names in most cases). So I never thought about what if someone uses auto-renew with domains in this TLD. An investor posted on social media that they just discovered a $5000 credit card bill, with individual domain names auto-renewed at as much as $500.

Don't let this happen to you! If you have any names in these extensions, make sure auto-renew is off right now.

I of course welcome Short Dot to state their position, or any parts of this that they do not agree with, at any time.

-Bob

PS The same registry also operate .icu and .bond. To my knowledge it has not been implemented on .icu, and I am not able to personally confirm the situation with .bond. If someone has a .bond portfolio and can confirm, either way, that would be helpful.

PPS Please do not confuse this with premium pricing in general, which investors don't like but is allowed, or the practice of a name that has expired being bumped up to premium for someone who next registers it. That is allowed by the policy, since once the name has fully expired it is under registry control and the new registrant will know, and agree to, premium pricing by registering the domain name at that premium price.
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.

NickB

it's a mysteryTop Member
Impact
16,347
Very shady...and that's being polite.......

Could not see anything in T&C's that would cover them from "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"

If anything they cover their responsibilities pretty clearly in the T&C's....Even if it was in there, it still would not be considered giving someone the chance to "expressly agree" to higher renewal fees - imo (could be wrong though?)

Rights, Duties, and Responsibilities of the Registry
  1. The duties of the Registry under these General Terms and Conditions are:
    1. To register, manage and maintain Domain Names
    2. Comply with these Terms and Conditions and the obligations of its Registry Agreement with ICANN.

https://shortdot.bond/terms-and-conditions-for-domain-registration/

Hope enough people complain so ICANN look into it properly and those who have been fleeced get their money back......
 
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jhm

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I thought it would be just people like me, who had spent time researching, listing and presenting names that I was now going to let go. And also developers, who had invested in it for their site or brand. Until overnight, had never thought of the trap with auto renewal. I would feel so sick to wake up to a multi-thousand renewal bill. I hope he is able to dispute it successfully thought some mechanism.

I am not a legal mind, but as many times as I read the section, it is pretty clear to me you can't have variable renewal pricing, which they clearly do (domain names I registered same day, same terms, same registrar, same initial registration cost now have renewal fees from about $10 to about $250), without me expressly agreeing at time of writing at time of registration, which I several times asked them to prove.

They have engaged a highly-respected and skilled domain lawyer to represent them. It is possible my and Andrew reading is wrong, but I don't see how.

I wish ICANN would decide on the case. Does anyone know how long compliance reports typically get to be resolved or at lease some answer or request for more information? This is the first I have ever submitted an ICANN complaint on any issue.

-Bob
 
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Thanks for your strong words, @bmugford.

Regarding Uniregristry,
know in the past Uniregistry planned to raise prices substantially on existing registrations
as I understand the case (I did not have any domains directly impacted) they tried a huge increase across the board. And some registrars, GD especially, rebelled and they backed down. That is a bit different from here, where I don't see, no matter how clever their lawyer, it is not variable pricing, and I don't see any explicit written agreement (they claim they read the terms at my registrar and it is in the agreement, but it must be in invisible ink).

-Bob
 
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I thought it would be just people like me, who had spent time researching, listing and presenting names that I was now going to let go. And also developers, who had invested in it for their site or brand. Until overnight, had never thought of the trap with auto renewal. I would feel so sick to wake up to a multi-thousand renewal bill. I hope he is able to dispute it successfully thought some mechanism.

I am not a legal mind, but as many times as I read the section, it is pretty clear to me you can't have variable pricing, which they do, without me expressly agreeing at time of writing at time of registration.

They have engaged a highly-respected and skilled domain lawyer to represent them. It is possible my and Andrew reading is wrong, but I don't see how.

I wish ICANN would decide on the case. Does anyone know how long compliance reports typically get to be resolved or at lease some answer or request for more information? This is the first I have ever submitted an ICANN complaint on any issue.

-Bob
What a great business model this would be.

Offer domains for a low price, or why not even free?

Then raise rates substantially, hoping some suckers get their domains auto-renewed and maybe don't notice.

.ICU is one of those cheapie extensions that have endless promotions on pricing. I see that and .bond are $1.98 on NameCheap right now. I have seen even lower prices in the past.

It seems like the perfect extension to sucker people into this scheme.

Brad
 
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Hope enough people complain so ICANN look into it properly
I agree.

By the way, I don't know the situation with .bond. I only had 3, and they did not get bumped, it seems, so not sure either way. I hope someone has a bigger set, can check their renewals, and let us know.

It definitely is widespread in .cfd and .sbs though.

Bob
 
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Future Sensors

78% of human domainers will be replaced by robotsTop Member
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.ICU is one of those cheapie extensions that have endless promotions on pricing.
While one can criticize .icu on numerous grounds, to my knowledge they have honoured their statement on release that all .icu renewals, even of premium names, are at standard .icu rates. They had it right then, maybe not with the deep discounting and the semantics of the TLD, but with a clear renewal statement. It is disconcerting to see them trying such a different approach here.
-Bob
 
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While one can criticize .icu on numerous grounds, to my knowledge they have honoured their statement on release that all .icu renewals, even of premium names, are at standard .icu rates. They had it right then, maybe not with the deep discounting and the semantics of the TLD, but with a clear renewal statement. It is disconcerting to see them trying such a different approach here.
-Bob
Well, if a registry chooses to go down this path with any extension they operate, I would instantly not trust them with any other extension they operate.

Brad
 
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To what extent and when were ICANN and the registrar informed of this change?
I don't know re ICANN but they say the registrars were informed according to deadlines set out for announcing price increases, and I have no doubt that is probably true. As ICANN requests in complaints, I submitted all correspondence by me and from the registry in response to ICANN, but I am not sure to what degree I can publicly share here.

I may be wrong in my interpretation of the clause, but I did not receive an adequate response explaining how this was not variable pricing, and how I had agreed in writing to premium pricing at time of registration, the two key points.

It seems to me this should be simple for ICANN to rule on, but I presume they allow weeks for the registry to respond, etc.

-Bob
 
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I don't know re ICANN but they say the registrars were informed according to deadlines set out for announcing price increases, and I have no doubt that is probably true. As ICANN requests in complaints, I submitted all correspondence by me and from the registry in response to ICANN, but I am not sure to what degree I can publicly share here.

I may be wrong in my interpretation of the clause, but I did not receive an adequate response explaining how this was not variable pricing, and how I had agreed in writing to premium pricing at time of registration, the two key points.

It seems to me this should be simple for ICANN to rule on, but I presume they allow weeks for the registry to respond, etc.

-Bob
I can tell you right now there is zero chance any credit card company or financial institution is going to side with the registry if there was a dispute over a charge that the customer did not expressly agree to.

Again, this is the type of behavior that consumer protection organizations exist to protect from.

Brad
 
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iTesla

Established Member
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This is of serious concern, if they begin to apply this tactic to other extensions, it will bring chaos, we should write more complains to ICANN so to speed everything up, else nothing will move and they will permit it to happen.
I have one .icu and can confirm that I was able to renew it at cheap price as it was initially promoted, so there are no changes for this extension and hope ICANN will take care for it to not happen.
 
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if they begin to apply this tactic to other extensions, it will bring chaos, we should write more complains to ICANN so to speed everything up, else nothing will move and they will permit it to happen.
Exactly. I took the time to dispute the case with ICANN not for the sake of the few .cfd I used to test the practice, but because if it is allowed here, what is to prevent other TLDs, not just new gTLDs, from replicating it. It will not only make domain investment impossible, but why would any small business invest in developing a site when at any time that domain name might have $200, $500, $2000, $50000 annual renewal?

It cannot be allowed to stand.

Bob
 
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Exactly. I took the time to dispute the case with ICANN not for the sake of the few .cfd I used to test the practice, but because if it is allowed here, what is to prevent other TLDs, not just new gTLDs, from replicating it. It will not only make domain investment impossible, but why would any small business invest in developing a site when at any time that domain name might have $200, $500, $2000, $50000 annual renewal?

It cannot be allowed to stand.

Bob
This is the type of behavior that some people, including myself, were warning about in the past.

One bad actor that creates a precedent like this would hurt the entire new gTLD program. It could really open up the floodgates for other extensions to go down this path.

Now I am no fan of new extensions in general, but I am far less of a fan of seeing people get screwed over.

Brad
 
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What a scam! Any registry pulling this crap should be shut down by ICANN asap.

Thanks Bob
 
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I have 1 2 letter .sbs domain. I just checked the renewal. It's $28.75. I don't remember how much renewal was last year, but I think it was under $10, if I'm not mistaken. I don't think that is too bad an increase. If that includes the premium. But if they can increase that at any time, that might be a problem :(
 
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As a general rule, (which I learned the hard way), I turn-off auto-renew, and auto-pay bills in general... as its an easy -and not uncommon way, that companies overcharge. And, as only a small fraction of consumers catch the theft and take the time to get their money back its a profitable business model.

Besides, digital is a rapid flux world, so manually doing the bulk renewal, or not, dance monthly works for me. And while I also have yet invest in the new extensions, I do appreciate a deserving heads-up.

BTW, being legally right, Bob, may not amount to much in a cases like this. I know it did not for me... when I finally took a hard look at my cable TV auto-pay receipts, years ago, after thinking they seem a bit high for sometime, I discovered the overcharges added-up to over $1,400.

When I went to the company, with my receipts, to demand my money back -or I'll sue, GroupW Cable demanded I hand-over my receipts. I refused. When I got back home the police called to inform me that GroupW filed a theft charge against ME.

So I had to go to court, where I was convicted... and sentenced to 30 days (because it was "my first offense"). The Judges reasoning: while GroupW gave me 'my' sales receipts, I did not purchase the paper my sales data was printed on. As GroupW paid for the paper and the ink, the receipts are company property. Failure to return property is theft. 30 DAYS! (Gavel).
 
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I wonder why NGTLDs do not coppy the success model of .com and .xyz. To be a success TLD, the TLD has to be cheap registration, cheap renewal, and no restriction. Those make a lot of people use the TLD, and they will success. With these high renewal fee, surely .sbs and .cfd will be dead TLDs.
 
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Future Sensors

78% of human domainers will be replaced by robotsTop Member
Impact
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I wonder why NGTLDs do not coppy the success model of .com and .xyz.
What do you mean by that? The .com and .xyz registry each follow a different pricing model. Registering or renewing a so-called premium .xyz can get really expensive this way.
 
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What do you mean by that? The .com and .xyz registry each follow a different pricing model. Registering or renewing a so-called premium .xyz can get really expensive this way.
Yes, after .xyz used by alot of persons, some are treated as premium. But when the time I bought .xyz and sold at Ebay, No premium words. I got some 1 words .xyz like sedan.xyz, Taxicab.xyz, Hockeys.xyz, Telenovela.xyz, Natrium.xyz, Polyclinic.xyz, and some 3 Ls .xyz with regular fee...

IMG_20221217_190458.jpg
 
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NickB

it's a mysteryTop Member
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Yes, after .xyz used by alot of persons, some are treated as premium. But when the time I bought .xyz and sold at Ebay, No premium words. I got some 1 words .xyz like sedan.xyz, Taxicab.xyz, Hockeys.xyz, Telenovela.xyz, Natrium.xyz, Polyclinic.xyz, and some 3 Ls .xyz with regular fee...
You really should edit out the buyers username before sharing the screenshot and all of your account information is on show

I would remove the screenshot and repost once all the of the above has been edited.....
 
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DaaZ

CRM manager @ DaaZ.comUpgraded Member
Impact
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If you have invested in either .sbs ("Side By Side") or .cfd ("Clothing-Fashion-Design) extension domain names it is absolutely critical that you immediately make sure that you do not have auto-renew set for any of these domain names. Here is why.

The Short Dot Registry made many continuously registered domain names in these two extensions premium renewal pricing with substantial increases. The normal renewal fees in both extensions are very reasonable, wholesale $6.00 for .sbs and $7.00 for .cfd, with retail prices at a number of registrars in the range from $6 to $11. So you were probably expecting those names you registered on discounts, just a few bucks, last year to be renewing at about $10 or even less. You are in for surprises in some of your names.

The Short Dot Registry has made the renewal prices on many domain names not these reasonable standard amounts, but about $60, $240 or $500. I can confirm the first two levels personally, discovering names that I registered at standard rates were now showing a renewal of $240, or a in a few instances $60. It seems widespread, extrapolating from my own portfolio. I also made sure that it was not an error at one registrar, checking renewal and transfer pricing for these names at four different registrars, and while prices varied slightly, they all showed the same premium renewals.

Is this allowed? Not by how I read section 2.10(c) of the ICANN Registry Agreement. As I read that section (see segments below) there must be uniform renewal pricing unless the registrant agreed to higher renewal pricing at time of initial registration. I have had communication with the registry and their representative, and they do not interpret it as I do. I have submitted a compliance report to ICANN, but no response as of writing.

(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..."

Earlier domain industry expert Andrew of @DomainNameWire wrote on exactly this issue in Can Registries Reclassify Your Domain Name as Premium Before Renewal. My conclusion is exactly the same as his: no.

The alert to high premium renewal changes in these extensions was posted on NamePros by a new member a few days ago. I responded in this post, including the link to the form if others wish to dispute this through the ICANN mechanism. When the issue first arose, the thought of auto-renewed names that had been switched to premium never entered my mind. That makes this situation more dire, and hence this warning.

I turn off auto renew on every domain name out of caution (I do register years in advance my most valuable domain names in most cases). So I never thought about what if someone uses auto-renew with domains in this TLD. An investor posted on social media that they just discovered a $5000 credit card bill, with individual domain names auto-renewed at as much as $500.

Don't let this happen to you! If you have any names in these extensions, make sure auto-renew is off right now.

I of course welcome Short Dot to state their position, or any parts of this that they do not agree with, at any time.

-Bob

PS The same registry also operate .icu and .bond. To my knowledge it has not been implemented on .icu, and I am not able to personally confirm the situation with .bond. If someone has a .bond portfolio and can confirm, either way, that would be helpful.

PPS Please do not confuse this with premium pricing in general, which investors don't like but is allowed, or the practice of a name that has expired being bumped up to premium for someone who next registers it. That is allowed by the policy, since once the name has fully expired it is under registry control and the new registrant will know, and agree to, premium pricing by registering the domain name at that premium price.
Thanks for sharing, as usual very helpful post.
 
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LosAtmos

Established Member
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Lmao what are these extensions....people actually buy these?
 
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