Domain Redemption Period Farce Exposed!

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When I first heard about the plans for a redemption period for expired domain names, I thought it was a terrific idea. In the past, too many domains were deleted when, for one reason or another, the owners wanted to continue using them.

What is the Redemption Period?

If you haven’t yet heard about the redemption period, it’s a “grace period” of up to 30 days that begins once a domain registrar deletes a domain name. This deletion normally occurs sometime within the first 45 days after a name expires without being renewed.

Instead of actually being deleted and re-available for registration within a few days, what happens is the central VeriSign registry holds the name in a new “REDEMPTIONPERIOD” status. The grace period basically gives the original domain owner a chance to renew their domain name.

This redemption period is of particular importance, not just because it extends the time available to renew expired domains, but because all names that enter the redemption period are removed from the zone files, which list the domains that are currently in the global DNS.

Under the previous system, some registrars removed names from the zone files, while others allowed names to continue working normally right up until the day they were deleted. In this case, the actual deletion came as a real shock to many domain name owners, who, by the time they realized what was happening, found it was too late to do anything about it.

With the new system, the Website and email services will definitely stop working for at least 30 days before the name is finally deleted. This gives the owner the opportunity to renew, and means they have no excuse now for failing to renew their domain name.

That’s the theory out of the way — and it sounds like a great way to help clean up the domain name industry. So what’s the problem?

Why is it a Farce?

Unfortunately when VeriSign and ICANN get together, they have a habit of taking good opportunities to improve the industry, and reducing them to farces. The redemption period fiasco is one of the most extreme examples to date.

Domain Redemption in Action: Case #1

Take this recent situation. A domain owner (and customer of registrar Network Solutions), whose name had entered the redemption period, contacted me. The domain name in question was vital to his business. In fact, he believed he would lose his job if he couldn’t get the name back.

So it should have been a straightforward matter to pay the renewal fee and recover the name, right? That is the whole point of the new system, after all. But no, every time he’d contacted Network Solutions (and he’d spent several hours on the phone with them) he’d been told the same story: that the name was no longer recoverable and would definitely be deleted!

Domain Redemption in Action: Case #2

I was also contacted by one of my own customers whose name had entered the redemption period. When I made enquiries about getting the name back to the ICANN registrar who held the name, they quoted a charge of $200 to have the name returned to its owner. Presumably I was supposed to add my own percentage on top of this figure, and charge the customer even more…

Another Wasted Opportunity

So there you have it! Customer #1 is told the redemption period is not for recovering names after all. For customer #2, the name is recoverable — but it will cost him at least $200 to do so.

A chance to clean up the industry has been transmuted into a situation that makes the industry look seedier than ever. In fact, it will look to many customers like the new system is just an artifice designed to drain them of more hard-earned bucks.

Designing and implementing a fair redemption period should have been a walk in the park. But for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened. One has to seriously wonder about the structure and integrity of an industry where such a farce is allowed to play itself out. Domain name owners, beware!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Domain Redemption Period

What exactly is a domain redemption period?

The domain redemption period is a phase in the lifecycle of a domain name. It typically occurs after the domain has expired and the owner has not renewed it within the grace period. During this period, the domain is held by the registrar and can still be retrieved by the original owner, but often at a higher cost. This period usually lasts for about 30 days, but it can vary depending on the registrar.

Why does a domain go into redemption?

A domain goes into redemption when it has expired and the owner has not renewed it within the grace period. This is a protective measure to prevent domains from being lost accidentally due to non-renewal. It provides the owner with an additional opportunity to reclaim their domain before it is released for public purchase.

How can I retrieve a domain in redemption?

To retrieve a domain in redemption, you need to contact your registrar. They will guide you through the process, which usually involves paying a redemption fee. This fee is typically higher than the standard renewal fee. Once the fee is paid, the domain is removed from redemption and returned to active status.

What happens if I don’t retrieve my domain during the redemption period?

If a domain is not retrieved during the redemption period, it enters a phase called “Pending Delete.” During this phase, the domain cannot be retrieved or renewed. After about five days in this phase, the domain is released and becomes available for anyone to register.

Can anyone else purchase my domain during the redemption period?

No, during the redemption period, the domain is held by the registrar and only the original owner can retrieve it. However, once the domain enters the “Pending Delete” phase and is subsequently released, it becomes available for anyone to register.

How can I avoid the domain redemption period?

The best way to avoid the domain redemption period is to renew your domain before it expires. Most registrars offer automatic renewal services to ensure that your domain doesn’t accidentally expire. Additionally, keeping your contact information up to date with your registrar will ensure you receive renewal notifications.

Why is the redemption fee higher than the renewal fee?

The redemption fee is higher than the renewal fee because retrieving a domain from redemption involves additional administrative work for the registrar. This includes communicating with the registry and updating the domain status.

How long does it take to retrieve a domain from redemption?

The process of retrieving a domain from redemption can take anywhere from a few hours to several days. This depends on the registrar and the specific procedures they have in place.

Can I transfer my domain to a different registrar during the redemption period?

No, a domain cannot be transferred to a different registrar during the redemption period. The domain must first be retrieved from redemption and returned to active status before it can be transferred.

What happens to my website and email during the redemption period?

During the redemption period, your website and email services associated with the domain will not be functional. Once the domain is retrieved from redemption and returned to active status, these services should resume as normal.

Lee HodgsonLee Hodgson
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Lee operates DomainGuru, where domain names, industry knowledge, and personal advice come together to help your business secure the best possible home on the Web.

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