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Question: Does the registered on date carry over to new owners of a domain name?

Scenario: I was recently contacted by a very credible non-profit that had lost their domain name because they failed to renew. As I was researching the history of their site, I noticed something I didn't expect in the Whois. They first registered their domain name in 2006. The new owners picked it up in the last few months. Yet the Registered On date is 2006.

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    Registrars can auction or sell expiring/expired domains prior to them becoming deleted. In those cases, the original registration date would be conferred to the new registrant since there's no lapse in registration. I would recommend that your client contact the registrar they previously registered it with to convey their situation. If they filed a related trademark, they might still have some rights to the domain, but if the third-party registrant was unwilling to release or transfer it back (often the case), then I would advise them to contact a patent & trademark attorney for assistance. – dan Nov 2 '16 at 1:11
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    This may indeed be what happened. This was not a willful transfer, it was a case of the domain expiration not being noticed and paid. The continuation of the original date is suspicious to me and is in line with your comment. – Nora McDougall-Collins Nov 4 '16 at 4:07
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First of all, it's important to note that there is no standard in how the registries stores or expose the information.

Most ICANN-regulated TLDs follow the same rules, but generally speaking each registry can store and manipulate most of the registration information independently than other registries.

That said, the "registered on" generally represents the initial registration of a domain name, regardless the ownership.

Let's say A registers the domain on Jan 2006. On Mar 2010 the domain is transferred to B. The registration date will still be Jan 2006.

The registration date will not change if the domain keeps being renewed, it is transferred to another owner or to another registrar.

However, there is also a second scenario: the domain is registered on Jan 2006, then at some point the domain is not renewed and it expires (let's say on Dec 2010). On May 2011 the domain is then re-registered (it doesn't really matter by whom). At this point, the registration date will be May 2011.

In other words, the registration date reflects the latest registration, it doesn't reflect the date the domain was registered the first time (if it was registered and then expired).

  • Your paragraph 6 is what I have always assumed. If I take the scenario at hand along with that paragraph, I have to assume then that GoDaddy has a registration system that a back ordered domain is a transfer, not a new purchase. As you mentioned, each registrar has their own rules. – Nora McDougall-Collins Dec 20 '16 at 3:01
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The answer depends on the TLD, and since you do not provide the domain name…

A registrar transfer may not change the creation date but a registrant transfer, specifically for registries having a trade operation or equivalent, may change the creation date since it is a kind of new contract between a new registrant and the registry.

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