PC Magazine Article Cites Registrars Ability To Delete Your Domains For No Reason

Deleting domains

So PC Magazine UK recently wrote an article titled – How to Register a Domain Name for your Website, which like it sounds is a pretty straight-forward article about registering domain names. While the article covered a lot of basic topics, it also went into strange territory as I stated in the title of this post, here’s the quote:

“Many contracts contain a clause letting the registrar delete your domain name for no apparent reason. The implication, of course, is that the domain name is the registrar’s, not yours.” (Source – PC Magazine UK)

Huh?

Did I miss something? While I’m sure there are clauses around deleting domain names, it seems like the domain world would descend into chaos if registrars just started deleting domains for no reason. Something tells me someone read a registrar’s TOS and interpreted things incorrectly…but I’ll admit, I’ve never read the agreements in detail myself so who knows.

That being said, if I bought a domain for $500,000 and the next day my registrar delated it, safe to say I’d be a little upset.

What do you think? Can registrars just delete your domains for no apparent reason? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Rob Monster - Epik.com November 13, 2018, 1:16 am

    It is all dependent on the Terms of Service.

    Most registrars, including Epik, have a Refund Policy and an Errors clause. We almost never invoke them but they are there for a reason. That reason is even greater these days with registries that increase their pricing or move domains into a premium category often with little notice. Registrars are pummeled with pricing changes and offers that expire. They have to build special software just to handle these situations. For the smaller registrars, I imagine it would be hard to keep up and for resellers even harder.

    Ultimately, it comes down to choosing a registrar that will respect registrant rights. .

    Reply
  • Zev Lazer November 13, 2018, 2:22 am

    Very good point guys, I have lost a few domains to *bad* registrars before (questionable domains though). This used to happen a lot more in the late 90’s and early 2k, not so much anymore, but folks have wisened up – as far as registering too many blatant TMs.

    That said, yes, epik is good. Uniregistry good too (although not all cases u wanna take the name to Cayman). Godaddy is ok if u have a relationship and a lot of names with them, fabulous has been good too me too. Joker used to be where you would stash your domains away from prying lawyers, but it’s hard…

    my 2 cents:

    If u have questionable names, don’t keep them with publicly traded registrars, better yet, dump those names, lol (easier said than done if that’s your model)

    Reply
  • Richard Morris aka Bulloney November 13, 2018, 3:03 am

    That’s nCredulous™ Morgan. Epic is a nCredibleRegistrar so I don’t see any problem with the. In a way this is a lot like identity theft in that “it happens”, and it’s hard to correct it. Because I have a common name my identity has been stolen several times, but I’ve been able to straighten it out pretty fast. I’ve even caught the perpetrator, and it wasn’t a Russian….nCredible☺

    Reply
  • Mr. Nice Guy November 13, 2018, 3:05 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the famous industry lawyers say anything, but they all know the truth while staying silent. And the truth is, it’s not that simple by any means, and it depends on the courts, not the TOS. Every law student and anyone who even takes a college level class in contract law learns and knows about when contracts contain portions that are deemed “unconscionable,” “invalid,” and “unenforceable.” And lopsided provisions like that, without any (really) true and reasonable justification, while extremely prevalent, and threatening and unconscionable on their face, have “unconscionable, invalid and unenforceable” written all over them and would almost certainly be deemed as such upon litigation. Not to mention “anti-social.” And they know it. More people in domaining need to know it too, however, but not everyone has had any law classes or has friends or relatives who are attorneys.

    They also know it would be bad publicity. As in, this time “no publicity” really would have been better publicity, and “bad publicity” really is bad publicity. Look at every scandal of censorship and “deplatforming” taking place lately – they always want an excuse and cover story to make the victim out to be the bad guy and the action to appear justified. Although these days, some care about those appearances more than others. The story, however, is never going to be just because they felt like doing it without trying to convince people it was justified. We all know that’s how such things always work, even from simple personal interactions to business relationships to public affairs.

    And let’s face it, apart from public shaming and legitimate legal means of redress, if all that fails or for some people even if those “legitimate” options are bypassed – look at the new normal of violence and hate in this country and elsewhere. If push comes to shove (more literally now than people ever used to mean that saying), if a person really feels wronged, or moreover really has been wronged, by implementation of such extremely lopsided anti-social provisions without any genuinely true and reasonable justification, then it’s not exactly impossible or always even hard to seek and exact revenge on anyone considered responsible, no matter how immune or powerful they think they are. Unless and only unless divine intervention perhaps keeps you from it for some reason (whoever you are) despite you being so evil and harming others so unconscionably. That’s just reality, but if anyone is arrogant, sociopathic or foolish enough to want to “tempt fate” by being a destructive sociopath to someone else they do that potentially to their peril like playing Russian roulette. And for all they know, any “divine intervention” will consist of the opposite, as in bringing them down because of what they did without the victims even having to do a thing.

    Reply
  • Puneet Agarwal November 13, 2018, 4:13 am

    I think if registrar has govt pressure then they may take this step. Recently none of the registrar took extreme step of deleting gab.com , though they asked owner to move it to diff registrar.
    Even if someone has domain containing any trademark term and that trademark belongs to high revenue company , then also registrar never deletes.
    For me 2 of my domains were deleted by GoDaddy as I used the .99 cent offer many times via diff diff email id but payment was made through same credit card.They came to know about that through their some internal mechanism and the domains were deleted..

    Reply
  • Sigma November 14, 2018, 8:24 am

    Again, this raises the question: Are domains contracts of service or personal property? So far, different courts have ruled differently. Hence the need for the right test case to be pushed forward to the U.S. Supreme Court. There is too much uncertainty about the status of domain names as valuable digital assets. What other asset class has this much confusion and the legal and regulatory level?
    Look at what the owner of France.com is going through…

    Reply
    • Mr. Nice Guy November 14, 2018, 11:48 am

      How about, while that’s certainly a good one, only for the purpose of this particular question, that doesn’t really make a difference?

      Based on the blog post, we are talking about deleting a domain for “no reason.” Or as it may often so anti-socially and threateningly appear in writing, something like “…at any time, for any reason, or for no reason, tough luck, this is what you agreed to, buddy, ha ha ha…” Okay, a little writer’s embellishment with the truth of what some would want to assert at the end there of course.

      If it is merely a contract right, then that would seem to be “unconscionable, invalid, unenforceable.” Unless an attorney wants to go work for one of the organizations holding such a TOS for big bucks, in which case the attorney will eagerly tell you otherwise even if he (or she) was heartily affirming the opposite just a single day before.

      However, there is also this interesting exploration of the matter…

      “Contract Rights as Property Rights” – http://www.academia.edu/785507/Contract_Rights_as_Property_Rights

      With this interesting entry about the situation in the US:

      “The US Approach

      The courts in the United States began to treat contract rights as property rights following the decision in Lumley v Gye.” (See that whole paragraph.)

      Reply
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    Reply
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