In light of some very recent events in the domain name market, we thought now would be a great time to again call attention to why taking your time, and doing your research when choosing your Registrar is so important. The advice applies both to Resellers and to Registrants as the impact of making the wrong choice can, and will, be felt by both.
The “recent events” I’m referring to is the practice Network Solutions was found to be engaging in whereby they would immediately purchase available .com domains that were searched for at their website. While this practice is commonly referred to as front running, Network Solutions has since responded, and have said they instituted this practice as a way to protect potential Registrants against front running by ensuring that the domains they searched for remained available for purchase. We’re willing to give Network Solutions the benefit of the doubt in this case.
Tucows applauds any attempts to protect Registrants from the less scrupulous members of the Internet community.
While Network Solutions registers names searched for at their website, and parks the domain with a holding page, it should be noted they do not attempt to monetize with PPC ads, or otherwise prevent the purchase of the domain in question. However, at this point, potential Registrants are effectively forced to purchase the domain from Network Solutions for a period of four days at which point the domain is dropped.
I spoke with Adam Eisner, our Product Manager for Domains and he reiterated the underlying values we hold at Tucows.
We work to uphold the rights of Registrants. That means, for example, not putting 60-day locks on domains when a Registrant makes a change to their WHOIS information effectively locking some into a renewal and blocking domain name transfers to other Registrars. That also means having a clear, defined policy surrounding expiry and redemption periods. You can read ours here.
Specifically on the subject of domain tasting, Adam stated that Tucows works to prevent domain name tasting by charging our Resellers a monetary fee on domain name registrations that are cancelled within the five-day Add Grace Period (AGP).
In addition, Tucows does not engage in front-running. Adam is clear on this point: Tucows doesn’t use WHOIS query data or search data from our API to front-run domain names. You can trust our WHOIS and domains lookup search boxes.
But following the rules is just part of what we’re doing to make the Internet better. Tucows has, and continues to work to shape Internet policy with the rights of resellers and domain name registrants in mind. We’ve long been active at ICANN and we’re continue to work to shape domain name policy with the expressed goal of making the Internet better for its users. Next month we’re off to New Delhi, India, for the 31st International Public ICANN meeting.
Ross Rader, our resident policy guy (officially the General Manager of Retail Services) has worked tirelessly in the areas of WHOIS Privacy reform, to name but one example. Elliot Noss, our President and CEO, was one of the people at the forefront of the fight against Registry price increases last year.
Last May, Elliot wrote an extensive article for this blog titled “Questions to Ask Before You Pick Your Domain Name Registrar.” We reference that post regularly as it provides a wealth of information that Registrants can use to educate themselves about how to evaluate potential Registrars before they make a domain name purchase.
Thanks to Flickr user Joe Nangle for the photo and for releasing it under Creative Commons.