A couple of years back I took advantage of an introductory offer on a .co.uk TLD domain name.
I can’t remember the exact deal, but at the time it was something like £2 for a 2 year registration.

At the time, that was cheaper than my current registrar which worked out at about £1.99 per year, so £2 for 2 years wasn’t to be scoffed at (especially when you are registering 50 or so .co.uk’s a month).

The first of them is nearing renewal and so the 60 day renewal warning turned up in my inbox, and as I expected they increased their renewal price to £9.99 a year.  I’d already started the transfer to my current registrar so it wasn’t a problem. As I said, I was expecting the hike, and I only registered with them to take advantage of saving a packet.

What I didn’t expect was an email from Nominet.

Nominet is the Internet Registry for ALL .uk TLD’s.

How Domain Registration Works

The next part is to give you a basic understanding of how domain name registration works.

Basically, there are Internet Registries responsible for certain TLD’s.  No matter who you register your .uk domain name with, they are all held with Nominet.

  • Anyone who sells domain names is called a Domain Registrar.
  • The Domain Registrar buys domain names in bulk from a Domain Internet Registry.

If we take the domain name www.example.com, the ".com" is known as the TLD – the Top Level Domain (sometimes also called the TLDN – Top Level Domain Name).

  • So a a TLD is a top-level-domain, i.e the end part of a domain.
  • For each TLD there is a domain registry.


Ok, end of lesson and back to the main point of my post.
The email contained notification that my domain was going to expire within 30days and contained an offer to renew the domain directly with Nominet.

For the attention of Chris Wright
DETAILS: Domain Name Renewal .co.uk
NET TOTAL: 80.00
VAT%: 17.50
VAT: 14.00
TOTAL: 94.00
Amounts shown are pounds sterling (GBP)

First off, I will admit that at the start of the email it did advise me to re-register the domain name with the current registrar, so it’s not that this is under-handed. It’s just the price that they wanted to charge that caught my attention. £47 a year !! That is £46 a year more than I currently pay to my regular domain registrar.
Now I know there are markups, but that is one hell of a increase.

You don’t get nothing extra by registering the domain directly with Nominet for the extra cost. But, at least Nominet make it quite clear that you should re-register your domain name with your current registrar and they stress that it will/should be much cheaper to do so.

Domain Registry Of America

Which brings me onto my second incident which is far more serious.

The infamous "Domain Registry Of America" are at it again.
The actions of this organisation are nothing short of a scam designed to trick people into paying extortionate amounts for domain renewal and causing them to transfer their domains from their current registrar.

Then send out a very nice letter that looks very much like a domain name renewal form telling you about how your domain name is due to expire and give you all the details required to renew.  Except, you won’t be renewing at all, you will be transferring your domain from your current registrar, and with a massive price hike too.  They have changed their forms over the past few years, in that there now is the smallest of small print informing you that you are transferring your domain name to them.

Don’t get me wrong, the letter doesn’t make any attempt to hide that it is the "Domain Registry of America", nor does it purport to come from your current registrar. 

To someone like me, it’s obvious as soon as I open the letter that it’s nothing short of a scam.  I should have scanned the one I received last week, but I’m afraid they end up in the shredder within 2ns of dropping through the post box. I then take a good hand full of the shredded paper, fill the supplied envelope, and pop it back in the postbox (they used to be prepaid in the UK, but now they even want me to waste the price of a stamp on them). 

To those unfamiliar with the domain registration process it looks far too official and the prices they charge are many times over the industry average. (In fact their prices are so high, they probably are not included in averages since they would skew the results so much).

What should you do?

No matter who you register your domain with, you have a right to transfer your domain to any registrar that handles your TLD.

There are certain periods during domain registration that you may not initiate a transfer.  The exact details of these can be found at the Domain Internet Registry for each particular TLD.

When you accidentally let a domain name expire, it should enter a period whereby no-one else can register the domain. The longer you leave your domain in this period, the more the domain registrar can charge you to get it back. This period is designed to ensure that you can get your domain back when you accidentally let it expire. Be sure to check the prices charged for this with your domain registrar.

Shop around for the best price before you register a domain, and when the domain is up for renewal.

Instead of letting a domain name expire because you no longer require it, put it up for auction. Some domain names have sold for millions, (most don’t to be honest, but you never know who is watching or waiting for your domain name to expire).

When searching for the availability of a domain, use a well known registry service.  There are some that will monitor the domains being tested and pre-register any that sound good.  They can effectively hold your domain name to ransom charging you what ever they want.

What you Shouldn’t Do

Never buy your domain from the first place you find.

Never buy your domain from the Internet Domain Registry for your TLD. (Search for a domain registrar)

Don’t ever renew or buy your domain with The "Domain Registry of America" (DRoA)