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ICANN should specifically bar registrars from warehousing domains

  • To: <raa-consultation@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: ICANN should specifically bar registrars from warehousing domains
  • From: "Michael H. Berkens, President" <Mike@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 12:01:19 -0400



ICANN should specifically bar registrars from warehousing domains.

Registrars should not be allowed to take the expired domains of its
customers and keep them for themselves.

This practice seems to be barred under the current Registrar Agreement,
however is and has been taking place:

Section 3.7.5 states:

Registrars shall register Registered Names to Registered Name Holders only
for fixed periods. At the conclusion of the registration period, failure by
or on behalf of the Registered Name Holder to pay a renewal fee within the
time specified in a second notice or reminder shall, in the absence of
extenuating circumstances, result in cancellation of the registration."

To us extenuating circumstance would require something unusually, specific
to a certain domain, rather than thousands of domains a month.

Extenuating circumstances certainly cannot mean simply that the registrar
wants the domain for itself and doesn't want the public to have access to

Section 3.7.9 states:

Registrars shall abide by any ICANN adopted specifications or policies
prohibiting or restricting warehousing of or speculation in domain names by

However at least one registrar Tucows.com does just this, they just keep the
expired domains of their customers that they want to keep.

Tucows admitted to doing this on their blog this year:

 "Our strategy to acquire expiring domain names differs from that of some
other large Registrars who have focused on domain name auctions. Tucows
believes that there is substantial value in holding on to these domain
names, both in terms of monetization through pay-per-click advertising, but
also in terms of the resale or lease of high-value domains to individuals
and businesses that understand the intrinsic value of a high-quality domain


When domains of Tucows customers expire, Tucows place it in their parking
program, they can gauge the traffic and revenue, and then they hand pick
which domains they want to retain.

Before Tucows allows expired domains to drop, they handpick the domains they
want and they keep them.

This activity certainly is in violation of Section 3.7.9 which prohibits
registrars from warehousing of or speculation in domain names by registrars.

Although we think this practice is already prohibited under the registrar
agreement, it is being allowed to occur so, a further  provision needs to be
added to specifically outlaw such conduct.

We request that ICANN includes such a strong, clear and unquestionable
prohibition against registrars from keeping the expired domains of their
owner customers or generating revenue from the parking of such domains.

Registrar simply cannot be allowed to warehouse expired domains of their own
customers and profit from parking revenues generated from expired domains of
their customers.

We are also formerly requesting that ICANN review such practices and if it
is determined that such practices are currently not allowed under the
registrar agreement,  order Tucows to return to the pool of available
domains, all the domains they have warehoused over the in the past years,
which numbers somewhere between 150,000-225,000 domains.  In the event
Tucows was not allowed to take their customers expired domains, they need
and should be released back into the pool of available domains allowing the
public to have access as they should have in the first place.

Other registrars are thought by many to be engaged in the practice including
melbourneit.com.au <http://www.melbourneit.com.au>  and register.com
<http://www.register.com> , however neither have not admitted it as Tucows
has.  In the event such practice is not allowed under the current registrar
contract all expired domains that were kept by the registrars should be
released back into the pool of available domains.


We thank you for the opportunity to comment on this matter.



Very truly yours,



Michael H.Berkens, Esq


Worldwide Media, Inc.





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