I have bought domain names from multiple companies (e.g, GoDaddy, nic.com, eNom, and Google Apps).

Assuming that one of my projects will be successful, I wonder if one of these companies can take advantage of that and arbitrarily say that they won't renew the domain name for me, and eventually sell it to somebody else. Or maybe they could increase the renewal fee so much that will be impossible for me to pay it?

Can this actually happen? If yes how can I prevent it?

  • 1
    I don't think you need to worry about this.
    – Zistoloen
    Jan 16, 2014 at 21:47
  • mmm why?? because they ca not do that??
    – Derek
    Jan 16, 2014 at 21:49
  • 1
    Company like GoDaddy are serious enough to not to take advantage of one of your famous domain name. If so, they will ruin their business.
    – Zistoloen
    Jan 16, 2014 at 21:51
  • Thank's for your answer Zistoloen. It is clear that those practices would ruin their reputation, however I am trying to clarify whether they CAN do it or not according to law.
    – Derek
    Jan 16, 2014 at 23:08
  • @Derek Unfortunately, this isn't a forum for lawyers, so we can't interpret the law (which varies a great deal between countries) and as such would be considered off-topic here. However, I did reference the agreement that ICANN accredited registrars must comply with, your rights under that, and the reference this makes to consumer protection laws.
    – dan
    Jan 17, 2014 at 4:04

2 Answers 2


All ICANN-Accredited Registrars are bound by the same Registrar Accreditation Agreement, which is:

the contract between ICANN and the registrar that governs ICANN’s relationship with an accredited registrar and the terms and conditions of maintaining an accreditation.

ICANN-Accredited Registrars also undergo Contractual Compliance audits.

Under this agreement, domain name registrants are provided a list of rights, in which the following is stated:

3.) You shall not be subject to false advertising or deceptive practices by your Registrar or though any proxy or privacy services made available by your Registrar. This includes deceptive notices, hidden fees, and any practices that are illegal under the consumer protection law of your residence.

Providing that you comply with the list of registrant responsibilities, registrars can lose their accreditation if they act in ways that violate your registrant rights, and may be subject to consumer protection laws.

It is highly unlikely that accredited registrars would prevent you from renewing your domain name or arbitrarily sell/transfer it to another party. If that were the case, stories of domain misappropriation would be rampant and well-documented.

It is advisable to register your domain through an ICANN-Accredited Registrar, and not a third-party registering the domain for you (i.e, with their registrant information), otherwise you would not be covered under the registrant rights.

One measure that you can take to maintain the rights to your domain names is to trademark them in the countries under which you're doing business in. Prior usage and rights to the mark may be grounds for successfully filing, or defending against, a UDRP case, especially if you can demonstrate that the other party had no legitimate rights to it or registered it deceptively (i.e., in "bad faith").

  • No problem - I felt it was necessary in this case :-)
    – dan
    Jan 17, 2014 at 14:54

Yes this is a legitimate risk depending on the contract agreement with your provider. In some cases, such as GoDaddy, they have a history of hijacking domain names and reselling them through their subsidiary company. The way this happens 'legally' for them is that they don't actually sell you the domain but lease it to you for less than it costs to purchase. I've yet to see a court case go through like this as most of the time it can be resolved through a retainer and taking the matter public with good records.

It's best to use a reputable vendor for your domains and make sure your contract clearly states you are the owner and not leasing the rights to use it from the domain provider.

  • Thank's XOPJ, do you already know a vendor that states that???
    – Derek
    Jan 16, 2014 at 22:39
  • 1
    Can you provide any sources to document that ICANN accredited registrars like GoDaddy have "hijacked" domain names registered under them?
    – dan
    Jan 17, 2014 at 3:39
  • This website expounds some bad practices carried out by GoDaddy antigodaddy.com ... I did not find the "hijacking" case, however, one person says his domain idea was stolen.
    – Derek
    Jan 17, 2014 at 13:01
  • 1
    @Derek Never had a problem with them myself, but I think every large company has its share of unsatisfied customers. Occasionally there are reports of issues with smaller, foreign registrars, but ICANN is pretty responsive to those, so you should be fine with the major ones you referenced. Domain "hijacking" is most commonly an issue with registrants trying to obtain domains nefariously. Locking your domain can help with that. Also be sure to renew your domains before they expire :-)
    – dan
    Jan 17, 2014 at 14:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.