Most domain investors don’t know what they are agreeing to when they create an account with a domain registrar. They just click a box agreeing to the terms of service. With some registrars you are agreeing just by logging in. Now to be fair you don’t have a choice, you can’t register a domain name and not agree to the TOS.
The fact of the matter is that you should at least read the terms and conditions so when an occasional problem comes up you will understand why.
One area to pay attention to is the first 30 days of a domain registration. Lately I have been running into people getting names taken back and not understanding why.
This is happening more often due to the new gtlds, but first let me take you back to 2007 and one episode in .tv that shows how these things can happen.
Back in 2007 Online.tv dropped hundreds of valuable premium .tv names. The names dropped and were priced at $10, the deal that Online.tv had with Verisign for a number of years.
Now Verisign was known for these “glitches” and when it was a one off domain you did not have to worry about them taking it back 99 out of 100 times.
This was a bulk dump and there were members at Namepros that got 1 and 2 letter .tv domains for $10. So you had people register domains, get an email confirmation and have control over the domains to do things like change nameservers.
These domains were registered at Enom, the next day the domains were taken back.
“Please be advised, that due to a pricing error, we inadvertently listed several .TV premium domain names at $10.00 each. These .tv premium domain names were supposed to be priced at $10,000.00 per domain name. As a result, any .TV premium domains you purchased at the $10.00 rate will be removed from your account and full credit will be issued today. These .tv premium domains will be re-priced and re-added to the Auction website today.”
One member got a large chunk of the domains, I had pointed out that the registration agreement allowed for them to take back the domains. The debate went on, and then John Berryhill came in and backed up what I had said, and then continued to layout other points that the thread starter disagreed with.
John was thorough in going over every potential scenario where one could try to attack Enom from a legal standpoint. The thread got quite heated, it’s worth a read.
So let’s look at Enom’s TOS,
- We and your Primary Service Provider may reject your domain name registration application or elect to discontinue providing Services to you for any reason within thirty (30) days of a Service initiation or a Service renewal. Outside of this period, we and your Primary Service Provider may terminate or suspend the Services at any time for cause, which, without limitation, includes (i) registration of prohibited domain name(s), (ii) abuse of the Services, (iii) payment irregularities, (iv) allegations of illegal conduct or infringement of any third party intellectual property right or other right, (v) failure to keep your Account or WHOIS information accurate and up to date, (vi) failure to respond to inquiries from us for over fifteen (15) calendar days, or (vii) if your use of the Services involves us in a violation or alleged violation of any third party’s rights or acceptable use policies, including but not limited to the transmission of unsolicited email or the violation or alleged violation of any intellectual property right or other right. No fee refund will be made when there is a suspension or termination of Services for cause.
- At any time and for any reason, we may terminate the Services thirty (30) days after we send notice of termination via mail or email, at our option, to the WHOIS contact information provided in association with your domain name registration. Following notice of termination other than for cause, you must transfer your domain name within such thirty (30) day notice period or risk that we may delete your domain name, transfer the registration services associated with your domain name to ourselves or a third party, or suspend or modify Services related to your domain name. If we terminate Services for a reason other than cause, we will provide a pro-rata refund of your fees.
- If we terminate or suspend the Services provided to you under this Agreement, we may then, at our option, make either ourselves or a third party the beneficiary of Services which are substantially similar to those which were previously provided to you. If we have grounds to terminate or suspend Services with respect to one domain name or in relation to other Services provided through your Account, we may terminate or suspend all Services provided through your Account.
- Your registration of a domain name is subject to suspension, cancellation or transfer by any ICANN procedure now in affect or which may come into effect at a later date, by any registrar or registry administrator procedures approved by an ICANN-adopted policy or any policy adopted by any ccTLD registry or governing body, to correct mistakes by us, another registrar or the registry administrator in administering the domain name or for the resolution of disputes concerning the domain name or as a result of any government decree, rule, law or regulation.
I placed “for any reason” in bold, this is important to understand, that it does not matter the name or the reason given, it’s there to protect against mistakes. The fourth point of the Enom agreement even includes the language “to correct mistakes by us.”
The other thing to take note of is the first 30 days of a renewal come under the same terms.
Now getting back to new gtlds, it seems this is where most of the recent pullbacks are taking place. A registry may misprice a bunch of domain names with non premium pricing and then someone catches it and tells the registrar to refund the registrant.
I have seen some names where a registry does not pullback, maybe they feel it’s better to create a sense of goodwill. Because it’s creating a sense of hostility by some who got a good but not great name taken from them. It does not play well in the domain investor community when you take back names that were not that special in the first place. In the case of the .tv names everyone knew those names were premium and would never sell for $10. In a world of 800 extensions, the word premium has already been diluted, it might be better to let those interested in your names to run with them unless it was an outlier type name that’s truly worthy of the premium moniker.