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Nominet are worse than Verisign

Thursday, 23 February 2006 internet privacy registrars

Over the past couple of weeks/months/years, there has been a lot of badmouthing the company the effectively owns the .com top level domain, mainly because they’ve managed to keep a relatively unmonitored grasp on the TLD and now because they’re renewed their contract to keep it until 2012. Even then their contract will apparently renew without contest—but this really is another story.

I just received an email, pretty much telling me I owe the head registrar for the .co.uk TLD, Nominet, £80+VAT — that’s £94 inc VAT — for renewal of a domain that I left for dead well over a month ago. A domain that I registered for £4 a year and now they want 2000% of that for me to get it back. As seen here:

Subject: <mydomain>.co.uk: Payment Reminder


Dear Registrant,

<mydomain> .co.uk

The domain name above was due for renewal on 24 Jan 2006.

We have sent an invoice for 80.00 Pounds (+VAT) by email and by post to the address held on the register for you. Our records show that this invoice remains unpaid. If no payment is received the domain name will be suspended in 7 days time.

If you wish to make payment online, go to http://www.nominet.org.uk/go/onlineinvoices and type in

Invoice No: ##REMOVED##
Web Code: ##REMOVED##

If you require any further assistance, please contact your registration agent, our Customer Support Department on +44 (0) 1865 332211 or send an email to renewals@nominet.org.uk

Nominet UK

If Nominet were the run-of-the-mill domain reseller, I would have expected nothing less than this. In fact I did get several emails from Reg123 (my domain reseller) at a increasing rate and with more urgency each time. I logged onto my account with them and effectively told them I didn’t want the domain any more until I got one final email as it was just about to fall out of official registration, which was fair enough.

Nominet are the owner of .uk though. If someone sells a domain name, they’re reselling from Nominet. If all the domain owners spam me to try and ensure repeat custom, why should Nominet?

What’s more, if you try and register a domain with Nominet directly, they try their utmost to push you off to a reseller. The first domain registration page with them tries to put you off with the all time favourite:

It is possible […], but this requires specialist technical knowledge and equipment.

Oh really? And I wont need any knowledge with another reseller? Interesting. If you follow their badly hidden link to Direct Registration the first thing you get is another warning that registering directly with them is a very bad thing and only for extremely brave people. They then say:

Some technically competent users may wish to register domain names directly with Nominet.

That should read: “technically competent and critically insane users”. And rich at that. There is no mention of price so far.

Asides from their dodgy challenge for anyone technically competent enough to register a domain with them directly, I’m left with the question: what right does this company have to cold-call me? I didn’t deal with them directly in the first place, and I certainly wont now.

Do Verisign do the same thing if you let a .com fall out of registration? Do they bump the charges as much as Nominet do? Please use the comments system and leave me a message on it. Time to write to their complaints department.