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I have a few domains that I had registered and used a long time ago, and then I let them expire. I want to start them up again and now I am told the cost is as much as $40,000 because it is a "Premium" Domain.

How can a registrar get away with that? It has always made me mad that they can steal ownership of my intellectual property in the first place. But to then make it impossible for me to afford to get it back is in my opinion unethical. They should be limited to charging a normal fee.

Is there a way around these charlatans?

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    If you let the domain go, unless there are exceptional circumstances, you gave away all rights to it...simple as that. They now own the domain, just like you did and they are entitled to charge whatever they like for it, ethical or not. A way around it? Hope they get tired of paying the renewals and let it expire (unlikely) or come up with a new name. – Steve Apr 20 at 5:49
  • Premium are defined by the registry and not registrars but they have to pass the price obviously. You seem to be mixing two things: expired domain names (that can be put into auctions or grabbed and then later resold at higher price) and premium domains defined by registry. You are not giving a lot of details in your question, most notably the TLD if not the domains. Also why did you let them expire in the first place? You can renew at any time, no need to wait last moment. – Patrick Mevzek Apr 20 at 14:36
  • @Steve " They now own the domain" At least in gTLD, the "they" can not be registrars themselves. – Patrick Mevzek Apr 20 at 14:38
  • "They should be limited to charging a normal fee." We live in an "offer and demand" market, even if you do not like it but domains are not different. By not renewing your domain you signaled you didn't want it anymore and hence are not making any demand for it. Others (while it is not clear from your question) grabbed it and offers it at whatever price they want. It if their offer. – Patrick Mevzek Apr 20 at 14:39
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    @PatrickMevzek ohhhh...I missed that this was the registry doing this, I thought it was a squatter :P – Steve Apr 21 at 7:08
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We never really own domains.

We apply to rent them when they aren't being rented by anyone else and then we continue to rent them on an ongoing yearly basis.

Any time we stop renting them, another person or organisation may apply to start renting them instead.

At this point we can only start renting them again if the other person or organisation agrees to transfer rentership to us (usually for a substantial price) or if they release it back to the domain registrar and we then apply to that registrar to rent the domain before anyone else does. At which point the registrar determines the cost of access-to-rent and the subsequent ongoing rental cost.

We commonly use the term domain ownership, but we never really own domains. We only rent them.

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