Registrar Reputation and Trust

TrustIn 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.

Read more about it here, and here, if you wish.

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.

2 thoughts on “Registrar Reputation and Trust

  1. Domain Watcher

    Tucows needs to be thinking ahead on on what this trend means to them from a long term business perspective.

    I think that one of the big domain wholesalers like Network Solutions, GoDaddy, or Tucows needs to get out in front with this issue.

    There is going to be a lot of opportunity to become a spokesman for the industry and get your name in the paper in the next few months as the topic of “front running domains” goes mainstream.

    Tucows needs issue a press release this week so they canstart being the leader on this issue.

    How about writing and subscribing to a “Domain Wholesaler’s Code of Ethics.”

    A company like Tucows could also start advertising a campaign like “Tucows: The Canadian Domain Company – We’ll keep your data safe.”

    Just some thoughts.

  2. Greg Makuch

    I don’t often add my two cents to on line comments but feel compelled to here.

    I am a long time reseller with Tucows and wish to add my voice behind Tucows. My company has a long history with Tucows, the reason being is their business philosophy (I must add “my perceived, not their stated”) of helping the customer first and the bottom line then takes care of itself.

    Over the last few weeks we have had a few client experience this “front running” practice that Network Solutions has started. These clients had spend countless time and effort researching a new venture. Their chosen domain name was searched many times though my company using Tucows whois making the decisions needed to move further. The client innocently searched the name the day they decided to proceed and then called us to start the work. With in minutes it was discovered the name was now taken by the very registrar they usually dealt with Network Solutions. This was not a name someone else would think of registering (“”) Our client felt rather “blackmailed” to use that company and did not like that feeling.

    Lucky in this case the name was released a few days later and the client quickly registered the name through us with Tucows. This client had dealt extensively with Network Solutions and had registered dozens of names there as well as used their hosting services. Those domain names, the hosting and their loyalty are no longer there. This client felt forced to deal with Network Solutions and that they did not like that.

    Tucows Keep fighting for the end user it is there rights that needs that need protected and often are same ones Tucows are putting forward. The less scrupulous business’s will always find a way to make a buck as that is their soul concern, not helping the end user whom they we actually serving. Those end users are actual people too and the very people that pay the bills not just numbers or dollars. Their views are lets say priceless, we must value them always. Tucows keep taking up the issues to task at ICANN and elsewhere for every one. As usual I respect you leadership In the very uncharted Internet world.


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