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If I ordered a domain from a registrar company for 2 years, then my domain became very famous and it's market value increased very much, what prevents the registrar from asking for very high fees for renewing my domain ?

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  • Couldn't the domain be transferred to a different registrar? I would think that if the domain had so much value a fee increase wouldn't be much of a problem, anyway. Sep 21, 2019 at 20:17
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    Not sure from a legal standpoint, but this practise would otherwise be very "deceitful" as they would be essentially holding you to ransom. If word got out of their behavior then it would be very bad for their business - I think that alone would be enough for them not to do it. ("Market value" of a domain name is also very subjective.)
    – DocRoot
    Sep 22, 2019 at 14:49
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    @AndrewMyers I would think that any registrar that unreasonably increased the renewal fees could equally slap on a huge transfer fee.
    – DocRoot
    Sep 22, 2019 at 14:50
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    I don't think registrars have the ability to charge when a domain name is transferred away from them. See hostway.com/blog/… I think they can only charge a transfer fee when transferring from some other registrar. Sep 22, 2019 at 20:46
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    @StephenOstermiller I've encountered several registrars in the past that charged an additional fee to "transfer-out". None that charge to "transfer-in" (except perhaps for a standard "renewal" fee - depending on TLD) - which wouldn't really make sense from a business point of view IMO.
    – DocRoot
    Sep 23, 2019 at 0:15

4 Answers 4

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The first reason is competition. The registrar cannot force you to stay with them and there are tons of registrars. If they charged you 10 times their public price you'd just go to the next one.

The second reason is economics. If your domain is famous, you probably need a lot of other stuff : emails, servers, IPs... If they lost all their big customers, it would be a terrible business strategy. Doesn't make sense economically.

The third reason is practicality. A good registrar will manage hundreds of thousands of domain. It is very hard to keep track and know which domains actually drive good traffic. What is a "famous" domain? It's hard to define this programmatically. And there's no point in doing it by hand to charge 100€ for its renewal.

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  • Thank you very much, I agree with you in the first reason. Regarding second reason In my case I ordered a domain from a company, but I chose another company for hosting, so my registrar only sell me domain name registration service. Sep 23, 2019 at 17:35
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    Then your registrar won't know what traffic goes to your domain (easily) so you don't have to worry about it... However, domain prices tend to go up every year or so (by 1€, 50cts, 2€...). If you want to secure your domain price, you might want to renew for 5 years... At least you're sure they can't jack up the price. And in 5 years when you renew, either you're rich and you won't care to pay a little more at renewal, or your company/project will have crashed and you won't need to renew :D
    – EdouardF
    Sep 24, 2019 at 7:24
  • Yes, longer renewal >= 5 years should be the solution. I asked this question because I ordered a .auction domain a year ago for 40$ from a well-known domains company, and when I came to renew they asked for 704 € !!!! I contacted the support team, and they told me it's a technical issue, and apologized for it, and told me they don't set the fees based on individual domain names, but they may change the fees for all the domain they have. Sep 24, 2019 at 7:32
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    Ok yes for those special gtlds, prices tend to be way higher than regular extensions (like .com or .org). When the new gtlds came out (.pizza, .auction, .bar, .cloud...) anyone could apply to buy them and set them up. The cost to apply and manage an extension is super high and they're free to set the price. So they tend to put crazy prices on them.
    – EdouardF
    Sep 24, 2019 at 7:36
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Besides the fact that your question may depend on the TLD, the answer is "probably nothing", except that if this practice becomes known I think it would attract bad buzz and hence clients going elsewhere.

Also as comments hinted at, you are free to transfer your domain to another registrar at any time (after 60 days) and since you are also free to renew at any time (at least for all gTLDs and most ccTLDs), you can easily see if there are problems on the price. Again, in gTLD world and many ccTLD you can register or renew your domain for up to 10 years, which can shield you quite a long time from price changes: if your domain is famous or even if it is not but at least as soon as it is the basis of some business, it makes no sense to renew it from one year to another, it should be registered for at least 5 years in advance.

Note however that registries, at least in gTLD world are mostly free to change their price at any time and obviously these changes of price will get passed on by registrars to end clients. Things also depend if the domain was a premium from the beginning or not: some premiums will renew at standard price, some as premium registration price, this all differs from one registry, or TLD, to the other.

Also, a recent change of contract for .ORG basically allows the registry to no set prices per domain, if it so wishes (their communication for now is that they won't do that). See http://domainincite.com/24458-org-now-has-no-price-caps-but-no-specific-plans-to-raise-prices for example for some details on this.

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  • Thank you very much, so there is almost no legal protection :( Sep 23, 2019 at 17:36
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    There are none also in many other areas: when you contract for one year of web hosting or DNS hosting, there are no protections against change of prices at the end of the year... And web/DNS hosting companies will have far more metrics at hand to see if your domain is "famous" (starting with volume of traffic to it) than a registrar. Sep 23, 2019 at 17:38
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The registrar won't screw you over - but the underlying tld operator certainly can. This literally just happened to me. I registerd a .help domain and was happily paying $30 to renew it each year.

This year they have decided my domain is a "premium" and it will cost $1200+ to renew.

Feels like I'm being blackmailed.

The TLD operator is https://uniregistry.link/

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New gTLD Registry Agreement

2.10 Pricing for Registry Services.

(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 and this Section 2.10(c) will be interpreted broadly to prohibit such practices. For purposes of this Section 2.10(c), a “Qualified Marketing Program” is a marketing program pursuant to which Registry Operator offers discounted Renewal Pricing, provided that each of the following criteria is satisfied: (i) the program and related discounts are offered for a period of time not to exceed one hundred eighty (180) calendar days (with consecutive substantially similar programs aggregated for purposes of determining the number of calendar days of the program), (ii) all ICANN accredited registrars are provided the same opportunity to qualify for such discounted Renewal Pricing; and (iii) the intent or effect of the program is not to exclude any particular class(es) of registrations (e.g., registrations held by large corporations) or increase the renewal price of any particular class(es) of registrations. Nothing in this Section 2.10(c) shall limit Registry Operator’s obligations pursuant to Section 2.10(b).

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