Those “boutique” country code domain names – .BE, .BZ, .CC, LA – even though the registration fees are higher, it’s hard to say “no” when you stumble across a juicy, premium keyword, sitting there all by its lonesome, little self, in some unregistered cctld (country code top level domain) extension.
Registrants of single-character .la names recently received a nasty “wake up” call when the Lao registry suddenly decided to “take back” all 1 character domains. Whois records on all these domains now show “Transfer Prohibited, Renew Prohibited”. Current owners can use them until they expire, but after that they will be deleted – they can’t renew the names or extend their registrations. Developed a site on one of these names? Sorry, you’re S.O.L!
There are unconfirmed rumors that the 2 character domains are next …
Can they do that? Yeah, they can. Their game, their rules. And its not just the 1 char domain holders who need to worry – they could at any time do this with anything – 2 character names, 3 character names… Or they could declare your domain name “premium” and dramatically raise your renewal fees.
Think this doesn’t affect you? Think again. Many cctld registries have similar loopholes in their registration policies.
Not all country code registries have these shady provisions – generally considered “safe” are the more popular cctlds, such as .de (Germany), .co.uk (United Kingdom), .us (United States), .ca (Canada) and .in (India) – to name a few.
Quick rule of thumb: if the extension is in use by major, well-known companies, you can bet your bank account that their “a-list” lawyers examined the fine print in that registry agreement before risking the future of the business on that name!
Moral of the story? If you’re thinking of registering some of these “lesser-known” cctld’s, read the terms and conditions of the parent registry first so you know what you’re getting into!
Never a bad idea to read anything you (e-)sign!
[tags]domain names, country code domains[/tags]