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I recently bought an domain off of NameJet. I paid between 10 and 20 thousand dollars for it, wired the funds, and got the name at Network Solutions. The is the three letter acronym for the company I work for and purchased the name for.

Just a few days after the sale, before I even had a chance to move the name away from the registrar to our own registrar, I got the following notice from NameJet:.


We regret to inform you that a domain you recently purchased through a pre-release auction has been cancelled by the registrar of record, as allowed by the NameJet Agreement. In most cases, these cancellations are the result of the previous registrant disputing the auction within a permitted timeframe, based on that registrar's own policies.

Therefore, we will be refunding the entire auction fee and removing the domain from your account within the next few days. Please be assured that this is a rare occurrence, and we do apologize for the inconvenience.".

And now my name has been taken away by NameJet.

The previous /img/avatar5.jpg seems to own it again. Years ago, they bought a company that owned that domain and had the same three letter acronym, but the company that owns the name now just uses it as a portal to their own, unrelated, website. The three letters have no meaning to them.

Is there anyone here that can help reccomend a course of action to me? Is there anything we can do against NameJet, Network Solutions or the previous/current /img/avatar5.jpg of the that allows us to get control back of that name, or are we out of luck?..

Comments (93)

Why don't you just buy it from them? If you paid around 10-20K for it I am sure the owner would not mind that chunk of change in their pocket...

Comment #1

Sounds like NameJet thinks you are. You might take this as an opportunity to approach the company directly and offer to buy it from them (maybe at a fraction of what you offered in the auction) Good luck but I do not believe you have much recourse. If you do go the route of approaching them direclty, consider hiring a domain broker to do it for you unless you have experience in these matters...

Comment #2

I have approached the people at the company that currently owns it, and they have told me they are not willing to sell at this point. I have offered them the same money as we bid in the auction. I have a strong suspicion that I am not getting through to the decision makers at that company, but I am running into a solid wall with them.

Who would be a good broker, and what might they be able to do for us?.

Alternately, I am pretty sure we would not mind taking this into a courtroom if that would have a chance at producing some result. We are launching a new advertising campaign, which we put on hold so we can print the on everything, and now we made all those costs and the lll was taken away. There must be someone responsible other than us? We have real damages because of this.....

Comment #3

As I know offers brokerage:

Sedo charges around $70 (nonrefundable) plus probably success fee, but I never tried it, therefore can not comment on their ability to get the domain for you.

Do you have a trademark for this three letters?.

Another possibility is to buy a (with the same letters you need), usually it costs much less. Although "-" was not popular in early internet years, now companies are using such domains...

Comment #4

The name could have been in deletion stage and the owner paid the redemption fee.

The domains being offered in pre-release are all in some form of "expiration to deletion" stage.

The same thing happened to me with a some years ago in "clubdrop".

As I won the bid @ $450..

Comment #5

We are registered in several states with those three letters (Management Company of lll). We've been in business under this name since 1991. We can officially trademark the name, which we haven't done at this point in time, but I think we already have a common law trademark.

Does this make a difference somehow?..

Comment #6

Maybe a UDRP could be used if you have a trademark for the exact term?.

What is the current owner using the domain for? parking?.

If he is parking the name, and displaying ads relevant to your business, you may have a case.

Im no expert but just an idea..

Comment #7

Reverse hijacking ? No cool.

I say bad karma..

They have every right to own that LLL acronym unless you can demonstrate they are hurting your brand.

While I feel for you and your company, the previous owner has an opportunity to redeem the domain within a certain timeframe, which they did.

Indeed this is a rare occurrence but it's spelled out in the Namejet terms. You're out of luck...

Comment #8


Taking it to court could take a bit of time and fees might destroy any money you might put in to this name in just buying. Then on top of that you might not even win at all. IMO, you should just get the name brokered, save tons of time for sure and prolly a bit of money to boot.

Time is Money! You can always get money back but time is always forgotten...

Comment #9

The current owner actually had NOTHING up until they reclaimed the domain from us (you'd get an error), and now it goes to a page that gives an index of an empty directory with a missing picture for an icon (looks broken, but no error in your browser anymore).

I honestly have no idea why the current owners are so set on holding onto the domain. They are not doing anything with it, haven't done anything for years, and it's not their name, or has anything to do with their name... Who's mentioning reverse hijacking? We are not proposing, or willing, to steal the domain, or do anything immoral to obtain it. I work for an honorable and socially concious boss.

But the current owner's right to the is at this point at the very least disputable. We have a strong suspicion that our efforts to purchase the domain have actually allerted them to their ownership, although we will never be able to prove that. This is a big corporation (we are not small, but they are much bigger) that is holding on to a name they do not use for some unknown reason (if there is any) which happens to be our name. Indirectly, that is hurting our brand. Our customers can't find us by using the one logical acronym, hence the large amount of money we are willing to pay...

Comment #10

Probably, because they KNOW you want it badly and will hold on to it or know the value of the domain name.

I'd personally trademark the name and GET it OFFICIAL. Then you let your lawyer take care of the rest of it. That 20K or less could be used for trademark and lawyers fees...

Comment #11

First, if I were you, I wouldn't take a great deal of the advise given here and set it in stone.

The bottom line: NameJet F'ed up the auction. Does this happen often? It's likely from what I know and have seen.

A customer has 35 days to renew the domain once it hit's "expired status" at Network Solutions. Nobody in the "public" will know when the domain was really renewed... it could of been on the 1st day into this process or the 35th.

NameJet let the auction run, payment to take place and transfer into your account etc when it should not of from what I can tell. The lame ass email you got from them, well it's just that!.

A great deal of things "could of" happened really on how the old owner was able to keep the domain, but I would have to know the domain to dig deep...

At this point you have a couple options:.

~ Keep trying to buy the domain from the current owner. (best current option).

~ Try and take some legal action against NameJet, but it will be hard to win unless the judge FULLY understands what NSI & NJ do. Secondly, the one thing that will make the major difference, is when the domain was actually renewed by it's old owner. Will you get the domain name taking legal action against NJ, not likely, but it totally depends on when it was "renewed" by the old owner.

~ Choose another domain. I'm sure all your customers do not "search" for the company based on your acronym. Do some research for even a better domain.. like a category killer .com of your product or service field. If the majority of your customer base do search online based on your acronym, go back to my best current option but I have a felling a "better" domain might be able to be purchased for what you really need...

Comment #12

Jamie's offered some great advice there.

I would recommend not filing a UDRP or making any legal threats/actions that'll pretty much guarantee you'll never get the domain should you not win.

I'd leave the guy along for a couple weeks let him think it over, make it appear to him that you're not desperate and going to pay whatever it takes to acquire the domain...

Comment #13

At this point you know nothing about their plans for the domain, besides they don't have to justify anything to you..

I personally am very wary of corporate bullies who, one day, may want to come after my, because they covet those domains and they think they have a God-given right to strip me of my assets..

Just because you think you would put the domain to better use does not bestow any particular privileges upon you..

You know, I am hurt too because my business name is SDS and some corporation registered back in 1994, thus depriving me of that great name. Yet I do not believe in confiscatory and predatory practices.

The bottom line is that evidently the owner is not infringing on your trademark...

Comment #14

My guess is that the registrars operated within their terms and you are wasting time considering legal action against them. it's a tough situation for you, but making it worse won't help you...

Comment #15

What amazes me is the fact that NameJet can't organize this process so these things don't happen...

Comment #16

No kidding! I came here to ask for advise, not to be reprimanded for something we have no intention of doing in the first place. I have no idea what happened between NameJet, Network Solutions and the current owner of the domain, and it doesn't seem I will ever find out, but I spend time and money (a lot of both) on getting this domain when it became available, I did get it, fair and square, I was told I had entered into a legally binding contract, I wired NameJet thousands of dollars, and then it was taken away from me as if nothing happened, and it seems out of all the parties involved I am the only one affected negatively. I don't think I am the corporate bully in this scenario, and I don't think it is out of line for me to investigate my options.

To everybody else that replied here: Thank you so much for adding your opinion and advice. It is much appreciated!..

Comment #17

Hmm.. id go with freshfoot's advice on this one since you are shelling out 10k-20k, just get it trademarked instead and take the domain from them.. it maybe even cheaper.. but the hassle..

But sad to hear they wasted your time like that, hope you get what you want....

Comment #18

Second person now talking about reverse domain hijacking. The issue is between the OP and NameJet it sounds. If the company already owned this domain and is not infringing on your TM, if you even have one, then there is not much more to it.

Two posters have basically suggested a RDNH and have no idea what they are talking about. Please ignore them and make an educated decision about your options.


Comment #19

I've had this happen on NJ only once, but more than a few times on GoDaddy. I'm not an attorney, and I don't play one on the internet, but I fail to see any legal recourse here - you agree to these terms when you bid on pre-release names. It sucks, but shit happens - chalk it up to experiance and take Jamie's advice - find a better name...

Comment #20

Which, unfortunately, includes a term they'll take the domain back to correct mistakes made by them or their suppliers...

Comment #21

I think it would just be best for everyone's time, karma and wallet to just try to deal with each other one on one. If you can't get through to them now, maybe next month. I'm sure they are probably currently investigating the value of the name, and possibly starting threads like you, in domainers forums asking for advice.

Give it time before you take any big steps. And if they don't budge in time, perhaps think about an, or an, with your companies letters, that would probably save you a lot of money too...

Comment #22

This happens more often than many realize. Many drop services allow for the original registrant, in many instances, to reclaim their domain within a period of time, which may not be as fixed as their agreement makes it out to be ... ie. some say 30 days after sale, but the reality is one, in rare instances, could potentially lose it months later.

The crux of the problem is the LLL-domain in question didn't go through the complete delete cycle.

Buying non-deleted domains is always risky, for a period of time afterwards, in the aspect that one could lose it back to the original owner.

In short, the domain wasn't truly NameJet's to sell; original registrant still had claim to it. And hence, NameJet canceled the OP's purchase and fully refunded.

IMHO, the OP has no effective recourse other than trying to buy it from the current registrant; more realistically, putting the money towards other purchases - for every drop that doesn't work out, most do ... lots of great deals out there.


Comment #23

I like godaddy's system: the domain is not moved to your account until the time is expired. Even though godaddy reversed the auction to me many times, I still don't feel too bad since I never had my hand on the domain though I paid for it...

Comment #24

Basically , it goes like this ... Expiration Date >>> Grace Period (days 1-12 , longer in some registrars) >>> Registrar Redemption Period (days 13-40) >>> Registry Redemption Period (days 40-70) >>> Pending Delete (days 71-75) >>> Deletion (available to register again).

Drop companies that sell Pre-Release domains (like NJ) are buying them from the Registrars that renew them right before they enter the Registry Redemption Period.

These registrars , in their ToS , they mention that a registrant has the right to renew a domain for the regular fee for the first 12 days and with a redemption fee added from the 13th to the 40th day ... then they state that after that the registrar has the right to sell the domain to another registrant or cancel it.

The thing is that Registry Redmption Period was made specifically so that registrant can reclaim their domains up until the 70th day.

While many registrants don't bother going after a domain once it enters Registry Redemption Period (partly also because of the Redmption fee) , some registrant "press" their registrars to reclaim their domains even up until the 70th day.

On these cases , the registrars demand the domains back from the Drop companies (which have , very carefully , included sections for the above mentioned scenarios in their ToS).

Therefore , you cannot sue the Drop company for reclaiming the domain (since it was in their ToS that this might happen) and you can't sue them for damages for your advertising costs because you have agreed to their ToS when you used their services.

Also , you cannot sue the company that owns the domain since as it seems from your description that they are not infringing on your trademark (either registered or common law).

Some possible actions ...

Keep communicating (or hire a domain broker to do it) with the company that owns the domain , maybe raise the price if needed.

Try to find another appropriate domain , maybe something like the name of the product or service you offer (or maybe a new made-up word or combination of words).

One last note ...

I think you misunderstood sdsinc's intentions.

(at least that's what I understand when you said "To everybody else that replied here: Thank you ..." , right after you replied to sdsinc's post).

I think you should also thank sdsinc ... Kate (sdsinc) is a very experienced domainer ... and her intention was to help.

Her suggestions (although expressed cut and dry) were meant so that you avoid the unneeded hassle of suing for trademark infringement , which (in this case) will only cause expenses and headaches.

I don't think she tried to insult you ... she either used the term 'corporate bullies' speaking generally (not directly to you) ... or used it to show you that in your "frustration" you begun to become somewhat "aggressive".

We have quite some "corporate bullies" coming around this place and she couldn't have known that your talk about legal action was only a well-meant research of your options..

Comment #25

Earthian, thanks for the detailed explanation. I wasn't aware of those details...

Comment #26

I want to thank everyone for their insights, including sdsinc.

As a general remark, the more I learn about the domain name business, the more I am amazed by how this business is (not) regulated. The overseeers are commercial entities whom themselves have multi-million dollar interests in this business. Has the current economic mess we are in not proven how bad of an idea it is to have an industry oversee itself?..

Comment #27

The industry (at least, .net, .info etc..) is regulated by ICANN which is comprised of Academic, Governmental, Industry, and Business interests. ccTLDs (.de, .uk) and others are regulated by their respective countries. In addition, there are IP(intellectual property), Trademark, commerce, and criminal laws/regulations that oversee online domains and actions as well.

This works best in my opinion because the internet is international in scope and access, and whose country's specific regulations should be followed? China?, Saudi Arabia?, US?, Iran? And why apply more regulation when there are already laws on the books to address just about every concern that can be raised? Remember the industry is only about 2 decades old, with widespread access still unachieved. Lets not muck up a system that works pretty well. Cheers...

Comment #28


I can't believe that the prevailing attitude here is just roll over and concede to the auction companies and their sleazy ways. Why aren't we clamoring for significant change in this industry? Why is this industry tolerating auction companies running amok with TOS that are probably unenforceable in a court of law? Just because they get away with it now, doesn't mean that someone won't file a class-action suit against these auction companiesAND WIN!.

Here are some suggestions for SELF-POLICING: 1. It should be strictly FORBIDDEN to auction off a domain that is not yet available for auction. Period. The deletion cycle should be played out as specified by ICANN.

2. The original registrant should be given a 30-day notice (with two additional reminders) that his/her name is about to go to auction and that if he/she wants to renew the name, it will cost $$$. In addition, if the name goes to auction, the auction company will split the proceeds 50/50, minus the redemption fee, with the original owner.

3. Once the deletion cycle has played out and the name has been auctioned and awarded to another registrant, the former owner no longer has any rights or claims to the domain. Period. As long as notifications have been sent out, the original owner would have no legal standing. If the company can't get in touch with the owner, well, then, too bad. It is the registrant's responsibility to keep info up-to-date. In any case, the unavailable registrant's profit should go into an escrow account, much like funds that end up in unclaimed federal and state accounts, for a time when the original owner or heirs can be reached.What is so difficult about doing the right thing? And everyone wonders why this industry has such a bad rep? It has definitely been earned!.

Last year, I bought a domain in the aftermarket and have since developed a site. If my auction company came back to me and said, "Oh, too bad, the original registrant wants his domain back. But we'll give back your $XXXX..." you better believe I'd be going to court.


Comment #29

I totally agree that these auctions sites should be regulated in some way. I always find it annoying that someone else came up with the idea to register the domain, paid for renewals for years, then a company can just take a huge profit on it without doing anything really.

However, my point is this issue is between the buyer and NJ. The RDNH attempts that were talked about by two posters are not good suggestions.


Comment #30

Problem is that registrars are not supposed to be able to hold names and warehouse them while maintaining the ability to drop them if noone regs them. Remember that the domains in these auctions are in a "redemption" status. That implies a tie to the previous registrant. The registrars are just capitalizing on that time allotment to auction it while they still have it under their control. That control is provided by the previous registrant's registration. If a name is unowned by the previous registrant, it needs to be dropped into the available pool via pending delete.

That is the fair thing to do.

As long as the contract/agreement clearly states that this could happen if "these particular things" happen, it is just a cost of doing one of these auctions. Sounds like they just need to make that message more clear. If this was a "scam" or some sort of "Cheat/Theft" I would agree that they need to be punished...

Comment #31

Probably because they just found out it's work at least $20k. The drop and auction probably also pumped up some traffic on it. Holding on to it is probably a better investment than anything else you could now invest in as well, except their investment was probably only a $200 redemption fee and a $25 per year renewal...

Comment #32

I respectfully disagree the system works well. To me, it seems needlessly complicated and deregulated, and the only ones profitting from the current situation are the registrars...

Comment #33

Let me share some points to help possibly understand this further, although it's understandable if one doesn't like it anyway.

Although Earthian gave some input how the "lifecycle" of a .com domain works, the link below will give some people here the actual thing: ICANN | Life Cycle of a Typical gTLD Domain Name.

In a nutshell:.

- domain expired and/or autorenewed 0 to 45 days..

- domain in redemption grace period for 30 days..

- domain in pending delete for 5 days..

- domain available after pending delete.

One's registrar's contract defines their respective relationships and responsibilities, one of which says something like "you possess the domain as long as it's paid for and you follow our terms." The moment the domain expires, your contract expires too.

The VeriSign COM/NET Registry autorenews an expired domain and bills the registrar (I think) for it. Their respective contracts allow that, which essentially gives the registrar greater "ownership rights" and control over the domain than their end user.

Arguably, that makes the expired domain the registrar's as they're paying it's upkeep, coupled with their registrar-Registry contract allowing that. The registrar won't have to show their contract with the Registry to anyone else except those they see fit, although you'll find clues in ICANN's site.

Two things that might surprise some folks here are the registrar aren't really required or compelled to let users renew their domains or even redeem them. Of course, it's in the registrar's best interest to allow either one, still.

As pointed out, the registrar can do something to the expired domain within that 45-day autorenew period. In NameJet's case, it mainly (if not always) tries to auction expired domains before the sponsoring registrar pulls the plug.

Sure, it's seemingly exorbitant to pay more than the usual registration fee to grab it before someone else does. But the registrar has the right, privilege, whatever to make some money out of it like any venture we try out, and some people are willing to pay more to cut down the waiting time.

One inherent risk is the registrant might've been billed to renew the domain, yet the registrar didn't really renew it. There's been few cases mentioned online of that happening, even with the registrar I worked with before.

I'll hazard a guess that's what happened here. Unfortunately it created this whole mess, and both NameJet and Network Solutions tried to "fix" it.

It's nice if NameJet created a system to not allow this to happen. Well, nobody's perfect, though many of us are doing what we can to prevent problems like this from happening.

However we don't want to see happen, mistakes do occur. And as I said in another thread, if there's a chance to completely fix it to someone's satisfaction, why not?.

Of course, that's assuming a mistake indeed occurred here. So far that's what it looks like.

You can pursue legal action if you wish, although it's also pointed out there's no guarantee of getting the desired results. Worse case scenario, though, is NameJet might sue you for breach of contract, especially if they see you have assets worth going after.

(Hint: read under limitation of liability. Or something like that.).

As for whether regulation is needed, it's debatable. I gather ICANN doesn't want to regulate any more than it's mandated to, although lots of people want them to do so anyway.

As I also said before, though, someone is going to make a tough decision one way or the other, and another isn't going to be happy. does what one does under the circumstances...

Comment #34

I seriously think that the other party sat back and waited to see the ending result of the auction so they would have a better idea what the name is worth...

Comment #35

I let a name drop at Godaddy. When I wanted it back (it sold at auction) they told me it's past 42 days, it's not mine. Speak to the new owner...

Comment #36

Sorry, but that is completely false.

Fact is, every name that goes through a lateral transfer fulfillment process (SnapNames, NameJet, etc) through the "Pre Release" program is redeemable -by the Registrant- for a certain period of time AFTER the actual auction.

This actually protects the Registrant, something that Registrars are constantly being accused of not doing enough of.

Each Registrar has it's own policy on exactly how long this protection extends. Ever notice that names are "locked" at the Registrar after the completion of the auction for a period of time? That's why. And, no, they do not make this clear in the TOS at the Registrar... but if you look at the TOS at NameJet they do refer to it, albeit vaguely.

Yeah, I can hear some of you muttering "he doesn't know what he's talking about"... think what you want. Those that do know me also know I might have some inside knowledge on such matters...

As far as the original Registrant's rights being disputable by you... sorry, that dog just won't hunt...

Comment #37

They don't have to tell you their plans. And it is their domain name. It doesn't matter they haven't done a single thing with it in doesn't default to you because of it.

You want goes...get a laywer to look over the Namejet agreement and how the deal went down. If you find wrongdoing then you might have a suit against Namejet but this won't get you the domain imho.

My opinion is that you won't be happy at the end of the day and you're wasting your resources and time. Your best shot might be to contact owner and throw money at them until they say SOLD...

Comment #38

Personally, I would contact ICANN and file a dispute against NameJet for potentially fraudulent business practices. I was finally able to buy my business' name ( only have the price raised at the last minute by a no-name bidder that supposedly placed the bid in 2007 (and yet the bid didn't show up until the last few minutes). They're up to something. Don't let them get away with it...

Comment #39

It is amazing how quickly the advice turns into "do anything" no matter how unethical, as soon as the shoe is on the other foot. What happened to all that domainer mantra about frivilous UDRP's and hijacking? If this was the current owner starting the thread I am sure nobody would be saying they have no rights in the name and should get taken to UDRP.

In short,.

-You really have no legal right to the name, the owner does..

-There might be some breach of contract element against namejet, though I'm sure they have it covered in their contract. Probably the original owner wants to sue them as well for auctioning their name.

In short the only ethical thing to do in my view is try to buy the name, or let sleeping dogs lie...

Comment #40

Out of curiosity, was this a Network Solutions domains or an eNom domain? Under NetSol I believe the original registrant can only reclaim an expired domain up until the moment it's private auction on NameJet begins, and the auction winner acquires unchecked rights to the domain name at the auction's conclusion (NetSol euphemistically refers to this circumstance as a "direct transfer"). Domains with eNom, however, enter a state called "Auction Lock" at the start of it's public auction and remain in that state for 45 days after that auction begins (42 days after it concludes). During those 45 days the original registrant is absolutely free to reclaim the domain name (probably for a semi-exorbitant redemption fee) and the auction winner may do nothing with his/her won domain. It's very rare for original registrants to reclaim eNom domains, but this is a normal condition spelled out in NameJet's user agreement.

If some kind of "supplier malfunction" occurred, for example the domain appeared on NameJet but the registrar had actually failed to renew the domain due to a scheduling bug, then logically speaking the domain would enter a registrar redemption period. Whether original registrants are permitted to redeem the domain within this block and how long this block lasts is defined within it's specific Registrar-ICANN agreement. The registrar essentially owns the domain name during this redemptionPeriod within the bounds of it's Registrar-ICANN agreement, which may permit redemption by the original registrant.

In this thread, posters are very confusingly mixing dicussions of whether this entire process is moral, should be regulated more stringently, etc. with discourse on the registrar / original registrant's legal rights. Once we learn whether the in question was registered under NetSol or eNom, the resolution to the latter should be quite clear...

Comment #41

I am surprised that the prevailing mindset seems to be that it is better to have a three letter domain name go unused (and it has been unused for a few years now) by a company that does not even use that name, than to have it used as the primary address by a company that goes by that name. In a discussion about what is morally right, this doesn't seem to be it to me.

It is also beyond me how I can outbid everyone at an auction, be locked into a legally binding contract, pay very well for what I just bought, and then still have absolutely no rights to it. Again, this does not seem morally right to me.

However, no sense crying over spilled milk. It seems that we are out of options, at the very least legally. I fully agree with those on here that have pointed out that it's a waste of time to try and pursue that angle, so we won't.

Again, thank you all for your advise, and just remember that just because someone is examining options does not mean they're willing to do anything...

EDIT: The domain registrar was and still is NETWORK SOLUTIONS..

Comment #42

Robert I share all of your moral qualms about parked domains versus domains used to deliver valuable products and services. But as you have discovered, the prime objective of 99% of domain investors (and are the companies who cater to them, like GoDaddy and NameJet) is to rake in as much dough as possible. Contrary to portrayal of the domaining community in the press, however, very few domain industry players are downright malicious; the number of scams that go down in this industry are far fewer that popularly perceived, but those few tend to receive huge press and spark the most extensive discussions in forums because (a) controversial topics are interesting to read/talk about, and (b) the domaining industry is only a decade old and lacks mature representation. The greed and backhanded dealing that occurs in the finance and real estate sectors has spurned magnitudes more pain and suppression of economic growth than domain industry scams have, but finance and real estate are both considered respectable professions (though the former less so as of late) because they have undergone centuries of stratification.

Be completely honest with yourself: if you had owned a 3-letter .com (or any other valuable commodity), allowed it to expire, and then later learned it was worth $10,000 on today's reseller market and will likely be worth $25,000 reseller five years from today, or $40,000-$80,000 to the right buyer would you seriously continue to let it lapse simply because you had no personal use for it? Well, if this poll were put forth by Reuters or the Washington Post, I'd guarantee at least 95% of respondents would answer "no", and 99% of all respondents "no" if they could accurately imagine how they would act in that situation. The other 1% would consist primarily of philanthropic upper-class families who could earn back that $10,000 in less than a week. So if you, honest-to-God, would not have attempted to reclaim that domain if you were the original owner's situation, you would be amongst a vast minority consisting of upper-class dignitaries, with a few irrational economists sprinkled in.

If you think about it, giving up that domain name would be financially equivalent to hiring a friend to drive a UPS truck over your pinkie toe, then getting that toe amputated for scientific study you knew nothing about.

A short time ago I went around trying to purchase several domains off their owners (mostly business who'd recently shut their doors) for use with an education-oriented nonprofit I work for. In nearly all cases, the owners refused to give up their domain names because, even though they had no plans for them mind, they intuitively felt they were holding on to something valuable.

There are as many domainers out there as are rational economists who own domain names millions of people even if only about 10,000 of them call themselves domainers. If you deemed those millions of domain owners immoral and therefore refused to do business with them, you would be left selling to the Dalai Lama and Pope John Paul.

When it comes to business matters, most people in this country are civil and considerate, but when push comes to shove especially when we're talking $10,000 and a domain owner who doesn't know you you can only expect others operate in their own best self-interest. Any other course would stand contrary to human nature.

But in theory, at least, I share your feelings on the matter...

Comment #43

I don't understand the logic about what is morally right.

I am not sure why it even matters what the current owner does with the domain. That is the owners prerogative.

If someone owns a piece of land in a great location, but is not doing anything with it, should they be forced to turn it over to me? It is the same thing here. Just because you think you have a better use for it means nothing.

Not to mention we still have no idea what the domain itself is. I am gonna guess there are other companies who could value the same LLL also.

I am sorry about your situation, but the issue is between you and NJ. The original owner still has all legal rights to the domain. This might not be what you want to hear, but it is a true.


Comment #44

Really? Where, exactly?.

If only this were true...

Comment #45

I don't think these agreements are publicly accessible, but you might be able to discern parts of them by reading the registrar's TOS...

Comment #46

Whether a domain is used has no bearing. No one who wants to use it has any rights over the owner. I have a boat I haven't used in two summers. That doesn't mean my neighbor who would like to use it should get the title. As long as I can pay any licenses and taxes, I can do as I wish with it. I could own beachfront property in a resort city, with no obligation to develop it.

If the domain was parked on another site, some may think that isn't use, but it actually is. A domain doesn't even have to have a website to be used. I have one domain with no website, but just use it for email. Someone may think they should get it because it appears to be unused, but why should they if I own it.

I would guess if you read the fine print of the name jet TOS it would probably indicate that a winning auction isn't final until some date after that if redeemed (most people don't read what they agreed to). Most drop services work this way and put for sale before the redemption date is over. Whether it's moral to hold an auction AND collect money before it can be transferred for good is another question. Maybe money shouldn't change hands until title can change.

Most registrars are working the system, to make sure it's sold before they have to let it drop where other registrars can pick it up and they get nothing. I'm sure namejet wold LOVE to have let you have it, since they make more money on auction than by redemption. Now they only make a renewal fee and probably about $200 redemption fee instead of $20k! If the owner then sells it direct later, they don't make anything and may even lose the future renewals if transferred...

Comment #47

I think by making an unsolicited offer you have given up your right to fight this battle in court, so any reverse hijacking is simply impossible.

Your choices really are to either up your bid, or forget it. Think about it, if your firm has the cash and really wants this name, you should make a move. Names have never been cheaper and unless the economy simply collapses, the domain's value will be going up and up indefinitely. Figure out what it's worth and pay it. LLL is the secondary prime market. The first one was dictionary words and they are either long gone or far beyond any reasonable amount of money.

Same will hold true once you own the LLL you seek.

Forget about Namejet, they are bound by their agreements with the registrars. No one is happy about losing all that money you were willing to pay but clearly the former registrant went nuts and make a big enough stink to get the name returned to them.

The former registrant if they have any sense at all should be willing to sell for double what you offered previously. After that you're just dealing with crazies from the psycho ward and time to find a new domain.

Best of luck...

Comment #48

Again, your legally binding contract defines one another's rights, responsibilities, relationships and limitations. I already mentioned there's a term there something like NameJet can take the domain back to correct mistakes, but at least refund you.

It would be "morally wrong" if NameJet didn't refund you after taking the domain back and tell you about it, although they did anyway. Whether morals are right or wrong pretty much depend on who agrees and/or disagrees with them.

If you wish to "impose" your "morals" on someone who doesn't seem to use something you want merely because it doesn't meet your expectations or definitions of such, then you'd better be prepared for someone to do the same to you. You know, golden rule?.

(And yeah, I find it not morally right when people feel they're entitled to something, acquired by another, that's not theirs to begin with. But...that's one of my own personal morals.)..

Comment #49

Someone simply redirecting the name does not mean you have better rights than them. This is the kind of mindset that leads to frivilous disputes. Unless the name has trademark issues, and it is clear this doesn't people can do whatever they like with the name. At the end of the day why should anyone care if you think you have a better usage? In this world assets aren't allocated according to who thinks they can best use them.

Regarding the contract, I don't really follow your argument at the start of the post you comment on how you can "be locked into a legally binding contract" and have no rights to the name, yet it is under that contract that you've lost the name? You can't have it both ways, you agreed to that contract. Post added at 07:53 PM Previous post was at 07:49 PM Note that the name wasn't owned by a domainer, it sounds like it is the acroymn of a company they have acquired.

"The previous owner seems to own it again. Years ago, they bought a company that owned that domain and had the same three letter acronym, but the company that owns the name now just uses it as a portal to their own, unrelated, website."..

Comment #50

Sure wish there's a whistling smiley. Getting rather more interesting, cartoonz.....

Comment #51

Ever actually try to smile AND whistle at the same time, Dave? heh heh..

Comment #52

Namejet sucks They are not allowing me to login nor sending me the password even if I click forget password.

And no it isn't about credit card My credit card was working nice and it is working nice...

Comment #53

What NJ did is just follow the TOS and you don't have chance to get it back through taking legal actions against NJ.

Actually this kind of situation happens much often on GD (TDNAM)..

Comment #54

Many of the drop services take advantage of registrant / domainer ignorance to grab and resell expired domains.

What many registrants don't know, in respect to gTLDs, is they often still have a right to renew a long, as in over 60 days, expired domain.

While many domainers playing the drops don't realize that domains being grabbed by many dropcatching services often aren't truly "free and clear" for an extended period of time, since they never went through the complete delete cycle, in particular the redemption period...

On a related note, some folks point out that registrars have the option of retreiving a domain in redemption. However, in my view, that's a moot issue for expired domains that never entered the redemption period to begin with.

Point is that bypassing the delete cycle allows many dropcatching services to offer domains they couldn't otherwise, but that comes with a tradeoff for domainers who use such services - one can't assume they truly own such domains until an extended period of time has elapsed, such as 70+ days after the expiration date.


Comment #55

No one should be able to auction anything that they cannot guarantee to deliver to the highest bidder.

The very fact of the auction taking place implies that the item is for sale, and available.

If the auction house can't guarantee to deliver the item - and, yet they are stating that the successful bidder is legally bound by their highest bid to pay for it - then....well....that 'auction' becomes no more than a disguised price-guage fishing expedition.

It only has to be stated to see the inconsistency of that situation.

Shouldn't be allowed, imo...


Comment #56

Dear Cartoonz,.

I just read your post. You seem to know quite a bit more than I do about what happened, specifically on what happened at the side of yyy. You have some details that were previously unknown to me. I will follow up with a PM to you to ask you to please contact me directly via email right after I write this.

You do make it sound like I misrepresented us or our case, and I wanted to refute that here. I think I actually faithfully and honestly reported what happened. Also, Steve and Doug are actually two people who have been closely involved in the purchase of this domain alongside myself, they are not aliases of me. I am very surprised that you have their names. I would think only a person with inside information at either NameJet or yyy would have that information?.

Also people seem to think we are upset with yyy. We are not (not much, we've had an aweful time getting in touch with anyone there, which makes it hard to extend an offer). Our issue is much more with NameJet and the way this was handled by them than anything else.

Finally, I was trying to keep the domain names and the names of the companies involved out of the forums. The views I have expressed in these forums are my own, not (necessarily) those of the company I work for, and I would hate it if this somehow unexpectedly came back to hurt me or my company. So could you do me a favor and please remove them from your post, cartoonz?.

Thank you...

Comment #57

I have details that were unknown to you because I did my homework. Due diligence. That same due diligence revealed the other parties involved on your end.

I know the history and facts I put out here because I did contact CheckPoint myself during the period before the auction to buy the name myself. I even spoke on the phone with their Tech guy in Israel several times to assist in the renewal process (which was a nightmare due to the company merger). I had no problem opening up lines of communication with them, so I have no idea why it would be so difficult for you to have done the same.

You came in here and spun a tale of entitlement and portrayed yourself and your company as a victim. While I agree that it was a bad situation and that NameJet / NetSol should not have proceeded with the auction, your assertions that CheckPoint has no rights to the name due to their not using it to your own ideals of what proper use should be is patently absurd. To now claim that you are not "upset with NFR/CheckPoint" is obviously a false statement when reconciled with your various other statements to the contrary.

I do not work for NameJet, Netsol, or CheckPoint - so, yet again, you make unfounded conclusions that are completely wrong.

Look, I agree that it sucks that you went through this. But to make assertions (which you did, multiple times) that NFR/CheckPoint has no rights to the domain - especially the lame angle that they "were not using it properly" is ridiculous.

The TOS that you agreed to at NameJet is very specific. These situations DO happen. Unfortunate, yes. Actionable, no.

Had you posted in a different part of this forum and not the Legal section, I would be able to delete/edit any information in my posts. But not in this section. I'll tell you that I would likely not be inclined to do so anyway, even if I could. You made allegations and statements in this thread that were possibly fueled by frustration/emotion/whatever and, as I have demonstrated, were completely unfounded and baseless.

All I've done is post factual information. Had you done the same, you'd have no urge to retract anything...

Comment #58

Cartoonz, what you did is not ethical. You are trying to make a quick buck off a valuable expired domain by cutting a deal with the previous owner.

You don't seem to be very happy right now and I understand why. From your point of view, it would have been better if the domain was pulled earlier and never entered the auction. This way two things wouldn't happen:.

1. The domain's market value wouldn't be revealed and you might be able to get it cheaper.

2. There would be nobody to chase a forgotten and dropping domain and you and your tech mate could maybe cut a deal between the two of you...

Comment #59

Sounds like the owner renewed the domain.Wait a bit,contact them,if nothing,choose another name.If they're doing nothing with it,not taking your offer is their loss,as they may never get one again!Sounds like you built up a reputation,so your clients and customers will go to whatever website you send them to! Especially if you're advertizing it! Good luck!..

Comment #60


Contacting the Registrant and attempting to purchase from them is unethical? Since when?.

And you've not a clue what deal I offered the Chairman of the company! The only reason I even talked to the "Tech guy" was to help him renew the name - AFTER I was told they didn't want to sell it! No worries, I showed them everything to get it done, all the while knowing I'd not get the name.

How in the world is that "unethical"?.

Any vitriol you may perceive from me in this thread is solely directed at the original poster's continuous blathering on about entitlement through his own misconceived ideals of "better use"...

Unethical? Yeah, right.

I've tracked down the widows of dead registrants whose names expired and were headed towards the auction block. None of them would have seen a dime had the names been auctioned, all the contact info was outdated. I've paid $xx,xxx for names they were never going to see a dime from, several times.

I've also found they were not ready to sell but did not know how to renew the names, so I help them to do that so they don't lose their names - all the while knowing I was not going to get the name.

That's just the widows. I've done the same thing thousands of times over the years with all sorts of Registrants.

Unethical? Don't be a twit. Just that bit makes me howl with laughter...

Next you'll be telling me it is "unethical" for the Registrars to continue to try to get the Registrants to Renew the names after expiration too, right?.

"Unethical" is the exact opposite...

Comment #61

Cartoonz, I understand your frustration. To me you look like an opportunist who does a lot of research. If the whois info was up to date then probably they wouldn't have let it drop since they would have received tons of warning emails before the expiry date.

This shows that you put great effort to find and contact the owners to make them an offer. The current system allows such an alternative route for those who would rather not compete in the auction. For some this is a loophole that should be fixed, for others it is an opportunity...

Comment #62

If Cartoonz paid $5K or less than he got an amazing deal.

And yes, what he did was opportunistic, but by no means unethical...

Comment #63

The actual registrant being allowed to renew his own name is a "loophole that should be fixed"??? And I'm the opportunistic one? Too funny.

I make deals with registrants every day for domains. Some have 3 yrs left of registration, some are past due. Makes no difference.

What you all seem to be failing to grasp is the the owner of the name is the Registrant. Period.

And I didn't even buy this particular name, so speculating on what I paid is wee bit bizarre as well.

I submit that it is the vultures waiting on the auction, praying all the while that the real Registrant "forgets" to renew it while they still can so that they can fight for it like jackals on a carcass.... those are the "opportunistic" ones.

Like I said, more often than not the registrants simply renew the names and keep them - and I gladly help them do that.

Yeah... shame on me.

@JoshuaPz That particular auction ended at just over $12k, but that's a moot point...

Comment #64

Cartoonz: well said, couldn't agree more..

It's not stealing... you are buying from the rightful owner (when they can be reached). The opportunists are the registrars that auction the expired domains and keep the money in their pocket. Domains names being so unique in nature there is no such thing as 'accurate domain market value'. The right price is the price that is agreed upon by both seller and buyer. Oh wait, everybody is looking for bargains, that's business.

E-mail is not reliable these days as most messages are spam..

There are domains that drop because the company goes out of business or they no longer need it. Many companies are clueless and think they can drop their LLL today and grab it back later if they need it again..

Comment #65

Oh, they and the ones waiting for an expired domain name to either be auctioned off or become available again, as cartoonz said. The OP tried with potentially (?) little regard for the registrant's situation, and shame on NameJet for not having seized the opportunity to make money off this auction and not care about the registrant either.

That's what I recall what an opportunist supposedly is, anyway. Then again, how many of us seize upon an opportunity for something, usually with little regard for others we otherwise have no obligations to?.

But...I digress. Carry on, folks...

Comment #66

Yea but it's all laid out in their TOS.....

Comment #67

December 2012 gold closed at $1045 on Friday.

What Cartoonz did is neither opportunistic nor unethical. ICANN gets a LOT more complaints from former domain registrants about inadvertent non-renewal, difficulties with renewal, or registrar failure to renew, than they get about almost any other topic. If you take a look at upcoming agenda items, the ALAC is calling for yet another GNSO review of domain deletion and renewal problems, because there are still jerkwater domain registrants who can't figure out how to pay in advance or renew their domains, and there are jerkwater registrars who - although quite correctly - mean what they say when they say "a one year contract".

These scenarios come in all shapes and sizes, and by contacting the registrant to try to buy a pre-release domain, Cartoonz is just as likely to alert someone who was asleep at the switch to renew their domain name, and while they may be very grateful, they may not be inclined to sell the domain name. Maybe the IT guy who is the admin contact was killed three weeks ago in a car crash, and the company has no idea the domain is headed for domain deletion. Then, really folks, what are the auction bidders but a bunch of ghoulish opportunists themselves.

As long as a registrant has a right to renew or redeem, then they can exercise that right and, yes, they can lawfully sell that right. As long as they have a lawful right, then it can be lawfully bought. Being upset that the registrant was contacted about an expiring name, and calling that "opportunism" is a prime example of one's ethics being dependent upon what feet are in what shoes.

The best comment in a thread with many good comments, is the one above to the effect of "which part of the contract do you want to enforce". To say that the Namejet contract conferred a right to transfer of the domain name, while to deny that the contract is contingent on actual non-renewal and non-redemption by the prior registrant, is an exercise in selective reading. Nobody put a gun to anyone's head and forced them to participate in a Namejet auction.

Bottom lines:.

1. ICANN gets more complaints from prior registrants about their names having been auctioned off because of various circumstances under which the registrants failed to renew or were not able to renew their domain names. The level of sympathy within ICANN or the broader ICANN community, for expired name auction participants, is less than zero. There is profound antipathy for the entire market.

2. If Cartoonz or anyone else wants to contact anyone on this planet for any lawful purpose or communication, there is nothing wrong with that. There is not some omerta, or blood oath, against contacting someone and saying, "Hey, did you know your domain name is heading for expiration and being auctioned?" They might say, "I don't care". They might say, "Oh, really, I don't want it to expire" and renew and keep it. They might say, "How do I get a piece of the action". They might say any number of things, but what really sends the ICANN community into orbit is a widespread perception that people are not adequately informed or warned about expiration and it's consequences.

But this business of it not being snooker to contact the registrant sounds like the disappointment of perverts hanging out under the glass staircase upon finding out a gentleman is warning ladies in skirts against going down it. Who knows - if he's a nice guy he might indeed find his way up there, but that is by no means guaranteed either...

Comment #68

Tottaly agree with cartoonz.

I do not see where is the unethical action.

Waiting for the domain to drop simply because everyone is waiting for the same thing, that is, for the Registrant - the owner - to let go the domain is much more unethical. everyone is praying for that stupid registrant that doesn't know the value of the domain that he has.

Cartoonz does it's job and it is hard. sometimes the registrant doesn't sell the domain, so it is time and money spent for nothing.

Drop catchers have nothing to do about it and have no implicit right whatsoever. this is all about greed in a race to moving up the ladder so as to catch the domains the sooner as possible, to retain more value and let less people have a chance to grab a domain.

If you think about it, what is the ethics on having auctions where who has the money will catch the domain? it's is very nice to sit on your desk and browse to drop/expire lists and go to auctions and bid on them if you have lots of money...

The whois info is public so everyone can contact the owners before, during or after an auction.

Sorry, but this all ethical thing is funny. it's business! and there is no better/ethical business than to make a deal with the owner.



Comment #69


Well, it's almost a year later, and there's a new twist to aftermarket domains in pre-release: the registrar now removes the orginial registrant's Whois infomation, so unless a potential buyer contacts the owner before the domain goes into pre-release, there are no side deals to be made.

I just won an auction in which the domain name expired in early March, which means that it's less than 40 days expired. So while I currently have complete ownership, the name could still be yanked from my account, so, obviously, I'm not going to blab the name itself. If the domain does get yanked, I won't be happy about it, but the former registrant has certain rights that I would want to have if the shoe were on the other foot.

I think it's kind of sleazy to bury the body (so to speak) before the person is actually dead, which is what is happening now with these pre-release domains. It is not uncommon to see "registered" names in pre-release with "No Match" in Whois.

How are the registries getting away with "blank" Whois? Can't they at least be honest and place their own details in the registrant fields? To give the devil it's due, just before the name went into auction, there was a warning on the Whois warning the registrant that the name was about to be deleted and to call an 800 number. But, still...

From my standpoint, I would rather see domains go through their full expiration cycle so that when a domain is awarded, a buyer can be assured that they have a solid claim on the name. Or stop this fiction and shorten the time in which the original owner has a grace period. Perhaps 45 days from expiration to deletion would be sufficient time and would be clearly spelled out in reminder emails.

Perhaps, by now, OP has arrived at some deal with the original owner or has found an alternate name.

I hope so!.


Comment #70

For a long time the registrars have been hiding the whois info on an expired domain. the pattern is not linear however, even within the same registrar.

I suppose that you are referring to making a whois query for a domain and the Registry says that it is registered but the Registrar whois says "no match"? I have seen this in the last months getting more frequent and it is against ICANN rules. I would suggest to try a complaint on Internic in those cases. Not sure however if it is against rules on redemptionPeriod status.

The game is going closer and closer to the expiration moment. If the trend continues - and we almost see this already on GoDaddy expiration auctions - a domain will be put on auction on the day after the dead-line to renew - even before grace periods, redemption periods, and the likes.



Comment #71

The reason they do this is quite simple.

When a great name is let to expire and is resold via one of their "Pre Release" market processes, they get all the proceeds from the sale of that name. Needless to say, when a great name is left to expire and it has valid contact whois (for example, the previous owner just has no idea that domain names have value) that owner is deluged with inquiries from domainers looking to coach him through the redemption process and hopefully, purchase that name for themselve.

To quote one person I purchased a name from in this fashion; "Why is it that I've owned these names for years and no one cared, but suddenly, I'm more popular than the only whore in port at a Naval Base?".

By removing contact whois, namejet effectively cuts out people from contacting the previous owner and having him redeem the name, thus they get all the money for themselves on that sale. With the old method of transparent whois, the only names that were really let to 'drop' without a billion greedy domainers trying to intercede were names with invalid contact whois. Those names were lost causes anyway... With this new method of cloaked contact whois, this means that the original registrant cannot be contacted to inquire about a potential redemption and sale, thus Namejet gets all the money- substantial money, in some cases.

Really, just another aspect of the rotten, rotten, rotten underbelly of the unregulated domain market. There is a role for free market profiteering, but you cannot let profiteers manage "the system" or else crap like this goes on...

Comment #72

I agree with DM, but why not just use a whois history service like domain tools is providing on the domain in question? :-).

Of course it costs but if it is a valuable domain it could pay off....



Comment #73


I think ALL expired domains should drop. Period. This pre-release BS ought to be stopped and the registrar should NOT be allowed to renew the name "on behalf of the original registrant." Yeah, right.

The auction platforms should not have "partners" but should actually have to catch domains. This would mean that the original creation dates for ALL domains ought to be reinstatedit's more honest, anyway. Why call a previously registered domain "new" if it isn't? It could have an original creation date, fallow dates, and current reg date.

In the end, statistically it would work out, if the drop catchers keep their tools up-to-date. Otherwise, it's boo, hoo and time to work on the tech area of drop catching.

In fact, registrars ought to be registrars and be banned from having anything to do with the auction process (GoDaddy) of expiry domains. It's a serious conflict of interest in that the registrars should be advocating for their customers as much as possible, not knifing them in the back. To give the devil it's due, GD does send out those incessant renewal notices (and that's probably their legal "out"), but they should not be running auctions on their customers' not-yet-expired domains.

I would rather see a short expiration period, say 15 days in a grace period, 30-40 days in redemption with a standard fee for renewal, and 5 days in pendingdelete, perhaps still redeemable with a HUGE fee. That is PLENTY of time to renew a domain. And that person's contact info should remain intact (the way he or she intended) until the domain is dropped. Of course, individuals will get in touch with the original owner, but it shouldn't be anyone connected with or representing the registrars or drop catching companies. The registrars should warn their customers: Your domain is due to be dropped from the registry in 20 days and may be auctioned in the domain aftermarket. You may be be contacted by potential buyers but beware of possible scammers.

Of course, I still won't have the same opportunity to catch a hot domain because I don't have the proper drop catching tools. However, newbie High Tech Harry or Harriette ought to have the same chance to catch a desirable domain, but he has 0% chance for domains harvested for the dirty pre-release system.


Comment #74

You have no idea about "monopolistic" in this arena until you understand what Verisign's alternative to this is...

Trust me, what we have is a million times better than what they want.

At least now everyone has the option to bid on any name.....

Comment #75


Enlighten me, Cartoonz.

I thought ICANN made the rules, not Verisign.


Comment #76

Memories... Embittered Registrars Sue Embattled ICANN - Whatever that means. Icann is a manipulated body..

Actually they are in bed with Verisign..

The fact that there is a prerelease market is the proof that the existing redemption process is quietly circumvented by the registrars.

Still... registrants have rights. For example, Enom domains won through Namejet can still be redeemed 6 weeks after the end of the auction, there is a transfer lock in place.

Not saying the prelease market is ethical, just saying. If Verisign had free rein things could get worse...

Comment #77

The solution to end all this BS is actually quite simple.

1) Any accredited registrar found to be practicing warehousing, withholding or pre-release auctioning of registered names is immediately de-accredited.

2) Redemption is taken away from the registrars and made a role of ICANN. Name "expires" and enters redemption? Godaddy doesn't manage that name. It's transferred to ICANN and if the registrant wants it back, they have to pay all redemption fees directly to ICANN to get it transferred back to their registrar... All of this would be trivially easy to accomplish as an almost automated process.

3) All unredeemed, expired names go into a cue where they are re-released not at a fixed point in time on a fixed date, but at a totally random point in time, at some point within the next 500 days. "When" would be left up to software and a rng. No one would know when it happened- there would be no "list" of when top expiring names were being released (that could be quietly channeled to the $right$ people or abused internally by rogue employees). It would suddenly become available at random and whoever got it, got it.

4) Any registrars found to be sending an inordinate amount of availability requests on 'pending release' names would be deaccredited (Say adios Pool, Snap and Enom and all associated shell registrars).

They could absolutely stop this entire rotten process of they wanted to, but too many people are in bed with too many people and too much money is floating around with no one paying any attention...

Comment #78


Fascinating article from the past (2003). Thanks, sdsinc. So it looks as though the tail is wagging the dog, the fox guarding the hen house.

The registrars rule the day, it seems, and ICANN is a big powerful kitty that requires continuous feeding to keep it happy. As long as it's fed, it will leave the registrars and auction houses alone.

I see TWIW.


Comment #79

Wishful thinking... we actually had that before and VGRS blackmailed ICANN into approving WLS, making that impossible. The only reason WLS has not been integrated is because of the lateral transfer systems the Registrars have implemented.

Sure, the Registrars make money from this but, believe me, it is exponentially better than the only alternative. At least this way, anyone can bid on a name. with WLS... don't kid yourself.

So, as resentful at the Registrars making money off this as you want to be, this truly looks like rainbows and moonbeams compared to the only alternative. And yes, that IS the only alternative.

You can argue about how, in your perfect world, the names should be deleted like this... the drop should occur like that... the pricing should be like so... But, in the end, all you're doing at this point is fantasizing because it just cannot happen.

You can also assume I don't have a clue what I'm talking about too, you'd be dead wrong but you can assume that. I've been heavily involved with the whole expired names game for ~12yrs, so I've seen a few things....

And Jennifer... you've got it a little backwards... it is the Registry (VGRS) that put ICANN into a corner and took this over... the Registrars are just fighting back against that...

Comment #80


I don't assume anything, Cartoonz. I've been in this biz only three years, and I just want to learn all that I can, and I learn something new just about every day.

I'm not opposed to the auction houses catching expired domains and auctioning them, but I am opposed to the registrars and auction houses working in cahoots to cherry pick the best names and not allowing them to go through the entire deletion cycle. And I see a conflict of interest of registrars feeding the auction platforms ("partners") pre-release domains.

I see nothing altruistic in the way the registrars are doing business with aftermarket domains. It's all about money and nothing about doing business in an ethical manner.


Comment #81

As long as the Registrars are not cherry picking out names for themselves and they actually make every expired name available in the pending release platform then this is really the best system we can have...

Comment #82

Here Here! What I don't understand is that everyone was up in arms over domain tasting. The practice that allowed registrants (and some registrars) to test the value of dropping domain names for 5 days to see if there is any value and then spitting them out if not, keeping all the gems for themselves. How is this auction process any different? The registrars get to put ALL their expired names up for auctions, if someone bids, great-they get $60, $100, $15000 of pure profit for simply having the fortune of being the registrar the registrant used (Remember, registrants are forced to use one of only a few hundred registrars, they are not allowed to register diect from the source) If noone bids, they let it drop, doesn't cost them anything. Seems like a better deal than tasting to me.

Why won't people get angry about this?..

Comment #83


Correct me if I'm wrong, but according to ICANN rules, a domain should go through it's entire deletion process and should actually drop, NOT be cherry picked and auctioned off by the "sponsoring" registrar's "partner.".

In other words, these companies are simply breaking the rules and no one seems to give a rat's ass about it.

Well, MrSpartan and I seem to be miffed about this and maybe Dongsman.


Comment #84

Yes, you are wrong.

And since they are NOT "cherry picking" names out of the process for themselves (some were, but have since been shamed to stop) the process is actually better. Everyone has an opportunity to get a deleting name. Sure, it costs $ but everyone has an equal chance, funding aside.

What you're failing to grasp is that if ICANN actually DID implement a mandatory deletion of all expired names, VGRS will screw everyone.

Seriously, if what you are really miffed about is that the Registrars are profiting from this practice, you need to get over that and realize that's better than the Registry taking over the whole show with the only alternative possible.

And there are no "ICANN rules" that REQUIRE Registrars to actually delete the domains... for exactly this reason...

Comment #85


Let's take a look at some of the infractions Broken Rule #1: Blank Whois during Pre-Release Auctions 3.3 Public Access to Data on Registered Names. During the Term of this Agreement: 3.3.1 At it's expense, Registrar shall provide an interactive web page and a port 43 Whois service providing free public query-based access to up-to-date (i.e., updated at least daily) data concerning all active Registered Names sponsored by Registrar for each TLD in which it is accredited. The data accessible shall consist of elements that are designated from time to time according to an ICANN adopted specification or policy. Until ICANN otherwise specifies by means of an ICANN adopted specification or policy, this data shall consist of the following elements as contained in Registrar's database: The name of the Registered Name;. The names of the primary nameserver and secondary nameserver(s) for the Registered Name;. The identity of Registrar (which may be provided through Registrar's website);. The original creation date of the registration;. The expiration date of the registration;. The name and postal address of the Registered Name Holder;. The name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (where available) fax number of the technical contact for the Registered Name; and. The name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (where available) fax number of the administrative contact for the Registered Name.Broken Rule #2: Changing Registrant's Information 3.7.6 Registrar shall not insert or renew any Registered Name in any registry for which Registrar is accredited by ICANN in a manner contrary to an ICANN policy stating a list or specification of excluded Registered Names that is in effect at the time of insertion or renewal.Broken Rule #3: Domain Speculation 3.7.9 Registrar shall abide by any ICANN adopted specifications or policies prohibiting or restricting warehousing of or speculation in domain names by registrars. If snagging a not-yet-expired domain for auction is not domain speculation, then what is?.

Source: ICANN | Registrar Accreditation Agreement | 17 May 2001.


Comment #86

Misc feelings about Ms Domainer and cartoonz comments...

Don't know if this is the best system. definitely better than if it was ruled by Verisign.

Need to go back to when the first drop catch system enter in the game and even before but enforce some rules. Dongsman give some interesting ideas.



Comment #87


Putting regulations aside, there are good reasons why registrars should not be in the aftermarket and why they should not be warehousing expiring domains, even on a temporary basis, and handing them over to "shell" partners. 1. Conflict of interest. Why should a registrar warn it's customers about expiring domains if they expect to get a big cut from the aftermarket auction of it? If registrars were just registrars, they would have more incentive to take care of their customers.

2. It stifles the free flow of the market place if just a few big players control valuable expiring domains.

3. It probably breaks anti-trust laws (and not just in the U.S.)In 2004, ICANN put out an advisory on registrars and expiring aftermarket domains: ICANN | Advisory: Registrar Expired Name Market Developments.

In my opinion, this advisory should have been much stronger and should have included a warning that this is not an acceptable practice as per their agreement with registrars.

As to Versign getting it's nose in the pot: they have even less business being in the expiring domain business. Don't they have enough to do with running .com and .net?.

Too bad that ICANN didn't place some kind of price controls on new registrations. Let's just hope that the marketplace itself keeps determining an acceptable price-point.

The problem is, once you allow a few big players to take over, eventually they become too powerful and then begin to artificially control the marketplace and jacking up prices. The diamond business is a good example of this. In actuality, rough diamond material is quite plentiful (unlike Alexandrite and Tanzanite, which are truly rare), but the diamond cartel keeps the flow of finished product limited, and, thus, diamonds have become pricey.

Putting business ethics aside, this practical reason is why we should all be concerned for the future of the expiring aftermarket domain market.


Comment #88

Fortunately, there are pricing limits at the registry level for many gTLDs, in particular, .com and .net. VeriSign has been pushing hard for the limits to come off, but so far to no avail. On a related note, as permitted by contract, VeriSign is raising prices again by around 50 cents for .com / .net in July. Good analogy, and the diamond business is even worse than that. The technology to make artificial diamonds in numerous variations as good looking, if not better, than natural diamonds has long existed. For a long time the diamond cartel has been able to suppress some of those technologies through backroom deals / patents.

Crazy stuff, but their marketing works ... millions of people getting engaged, even despite all the dirty info about the industry, including the movie Blood Diamonds that came out several years ago, still flock off and plop down insane amounts of money for them, but I digress.

Getting back to domain drops, forcing registrars to truly delete expired domains for anyone to catch would seemingly be more fair, but that still wouldn't stop networks of registrars from colluding with each other to grab them.

And furthermore, wouldn't prevent companies from setting up multiple registrars to have an advantage catching deleted domains, much like many already do, including eNom, which does so very openly; browse the accredited list ( InterNIC - Registrar List ) and one sees enom385, enom387, enom389, etc.

There's no simple answer. On the bright side, at least registrars are releasing most expired domains promptly (sometimes too promptly) to the aftermarket as opposed to warehousing them indefinitely, which would be far worse.


Comment #89


Good points, Domagon.

And thanks for your comments.

The reason that I reopened this thread is because on 4/13 I won a pre-release domain that expired in early March and it seemed a bit early for the domain to go to auction, so I did a little digging and discovered that pre-release domains can still be claimed by the original registrant.

So I have my domain parked for the moment because I don't want to do anything with it until it's in the clear.

From my standpoint, I'd rather wait until the domain goes through it's deletion cycleI think that's more fair for everyone. I'm in no rush, anyway.

It seems that ICANN and some people in this field have lost their business ethics.

Perhaps it's true of business in general.


Comment #90

Most ccTLDs do not provide zone access, often there are no lists of expiring domains available either. You have to compile your own. Yet there is dropcatching going on in ccTLDs but it is less transparent than in gTLDs..

Icann is weak but sometimes this a blessing, as they are doing many things wrong. In case of a shake-up, domainers stand to lose the most and nobody will come to our rescue.....

Comment #91


I have no problem with drop catching as it pertains to expired domains and by dropcatchers who have no connection with the registrars; once something drops, it's fair game. Professional dropcatching can be an honest business, like any liquidating business.

But you're right, sdsinc, if there's a way for domainers to get the short end, it will happen, and no one will give a sh*t about us. Well, they really don't now.


Comment #92

The problem is, registrars are in the best position to do dropcatching. They have the infrastructure and connections to the registry..

Of course there are private registrars too, that are dedicated to dropcatching and offer no service to the public.

Personally I agree the prerelease market is ethically challenging. You can try to take comfort in the fact that the domains are indeed abandoned and former owners won't miss them..

I do participate in it though, just saying.

We all need to draw the line somewhere. There is dirty stuff in our industry, if we stand far from it we can avoid the splatter..

Comment #93

This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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