Dynadot

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

Catch.Club Catch.Club
Impact
34,315
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.
Impact
2,248
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.
I think they have done this before (to a smaller extent) with .cfd actually. In May 2021 I registered 16x .cfd. The only ones that were premium registration were 2x 3L's. Everything else was standard reg fee ($5.79 when/where I purchased), including some pretty decent one-word names. Fast-forward to May 2022, and I got a bit of a shock when I went to look at renewals (I also turn off auto renew and run through them manually). At this point in time:
- the 3L's cost me 220% higher to renew than they did to register. I was committed on those 2 so transferred them out for a very slight discount, but they were still more than double the initial price.
- of the remaining 14 domains I had already decided to drop 5, leaving 9 domains.
- of those 9 domains, only 4 were the standard renewal fee.
- of the remaining 6, the renewals were [email protected] $489.57, [email protected] $245.04, [email protected] $61.64, [email protected] $31.07. I dropped them all, though I had to let some nice names go.

I thought maybe they had some 'out' where they could change standard registrations to premium, though I didn't look into it because I wasn't committed to the extension. It was annoying, but not terrible, since I was just taking a bit of a punt on them. But imagine if you had a little home business, paid $5.79 to register your domain, then renewal price came up at $489.57!! Ridiculous.
Looks like I'll be dropping the remainder at renewal time if that's how they play the game.
 
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Impact
2,248
Interestingly, I've just checked, and my 6 domains are (currently) the same renewal price as last year.
 
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iTesla

Established Member
Impact
761
If registrars begin selling domains as premium, goodbye domaining, which is already around 80% dead biz.
 
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Impact
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Non-update:
I still have heard no result from ICANN on the registry compliance complaint I submitted.

Another example from a different registrar, 3 names about to expire. I registered airborne, ethical, and nomad at NameSilo at same time, all at same rate $1.19, with anticipated renewal about $9, same conditions of registration.

When I went to renew, airborne at $8.60, ethical and nomad about $240.

How exactly that is not variable renewal pricing, not allowed by registry agreement without express written consent of registrant, I have no idea.

I will let you know when I eventually get a reply.

-Bob
 
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