David (Michael) v. Goliath (Register.com)

I have several domain names registered. Over the years, the registrars I’ve used at times have changed and this is driven largely by competitive parking prices. A domain is very much like an automobile. You make a visit to the dealership (registrar) and purchase the vehicle of choice. You make regular payments and enjoy your vehicle. If you are late on a payment, you cannot drive it until you either abandon the vehicle or resume payments. In the case of Register.com, you are bullied into exorbitant reinitialization fees should your payment lapse and if you want to shop somewhere else, they lock the doors making it really difficult to leave. Hotel California is playing in my head right now for some reason.  😉

Register.com uses a 30 day redemption period and then there is a delete period that can last up to 5 days. After the delete period the domain is back in the public pool and can be registered. If you fall into redemption, you cannot get your domain back until you pay Register.com $120! This brings your domain back online for one year. The standard renewal is about $20-$35. There are horror stories on the Internet where people claim that your expired domain could actually be in redemption limbo for a solid year before it is released to the public. This redemption process is in actuality, extortion. Look up the legal definition if you disagree.

Domain transfers to other registrars take about 15 days. When you initiate a transfer, the winning registrar initiates the transfer to the losing registrar. It requires a transfer code be issued by the losing registrar, which in the case of Register.com. supposedly takes 5 business days. I might add that this code is part of an automated process and in actuality, only takes about 30 seconds to generate. Once the code has been issued, the winning registrar takes the code to validate the transfer request. The transfer then takes another 5 business days. This process crosses the threshold of tortious interference with my contractual rights as a consumer. Look up the legal  definition if you disagree.

Register.com deliberately creates this frustration and tension. It is an obvious part of their business model to harass departing customers and extort exorbitant fees from current customers by holding your lapsed domain hostage for ransom.

ICANN has the power to influence this predatory consumer practice. Shame on them for allowing registrars to do this to consumers. I guess they are too busy dismissing public oversight and cooking up hot new .XXX domain opportunities to notice.

Look for corporate contact information on the Register.com web site and you will not find it. I did some sleuthing of my own and arrived at these two addresses.

575 Eighth Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10018

575 8th Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10018

Would the real Register.com please stand up? Any particular reason you are attempting to obfuscate your corporate contact information? My next stop is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm is the site address to go for consumer complaints.