Domain leasing vs. lease-to-own vs. payment plans explained

Domain Leasing

There has been some good discussions on Twitter over the last couple of days about leasing domain names. The conversation kicked off after popular domain name blog Domain Name Wire published an article about a company called “Kit” that lost use of the .COM after they were sold, here’s the skinny:

Kit, a service that lets influencers profit by recommending products, is about to lose the domain name it has used for years.

Patreon acquired Kit in 2018 and then sold it to GeniusLink a couple of months ago.

But the domain wasn’t part of the transaction. In fact, Patreon didn’t own it; the original Kit founders leased it.

(Source – Domain Name Wire)

Shane from shared his thoughts on Twitter when it comes to domain leasing:

I agree with Shane here, you’re much better off putting together a payment plan or just shell out the money for a domain you can afford. Payment plans are very common in the domain name world but sometimes there can be some confusion around nomenclature. Shane, Josh Reason and Joshua Shoen talked through it on Twitter and I think the thread is worth a read if you want to understand the details:

I think Joshua Schoen nailed it on the somewhat nuanced difference between Lease-to-own vs payment plan. In essence, lease-to-own means you have the option to buy the name whereas a payment plan means you’re actually buying the name, but in installments rather than upfront.

Lease-to-own deals can be risky – I’ve heard of domain owners dropping out of deals after someone has leased a name for years, and well, getting it settled in court isn’t a simple process. A payment plan on the other hand is a lot more straightforward and is a good way to secure a name if you can’t afford to buy it right away.

I don’t know the details of the lease agreement but it sounds like they were just leasing the domain plain and simple and the owner decided, eh – no more lease, and poof, it went away. I’d avoid any deal where you can spent thousands or tens of thousands of dollars just to see that asset disappear right in front of your eyes. Shane is spot on here, either buy the name through a payment plan or pick a name you can afford otherwise you’re rolling the dice with your online brand…and that’s not something you want to roll the dice with.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Snoopy November 25, 2019, 7:11 pm

    They took a bet on a fabulous name and things didn’t go well, that does not mean they should have settled on the mediocrity of a .co or 2 word .com from the start. I suspect this business just didn’t turn out as well as expected and they couldn’t afford to buy it out.

    So is not as simple as one form or leasing being bad idea and another being superior. Straight leasing normally involves the lowest repayment amounts for some startups this may be the only way they can get use of domain that could provide huge leverage.


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