Massive price hike for Uniregistry domains will be very bad for business.
A big shoe has dropped.
DomainIncite reported today that Uniregistry (the registry, not registrar) is getting ready to jack up the prices on many of its domain names. Bigly.
.Hosting and .juegos are going up from about $10-$20 retail to about $300. Other domains will also see price increases.
It’s obvious why, but you can read Kevin’s article for Schilling’s comments.
Here’s the thing with new TLD pricing: registry operators can increase prices as much as they want with just six months’ notice.
Then, after that, they can increase with just 30 days’ notice if they don’t increase the price more than they did in the previous 12 months’.
They have to give this notice to registrars. As far as I’ve been able to ascertain, there’s no requirement that registrars pass this information on to registrants. The original intent of the notice, I believe, was to give registrants a chance to renew for up to a ten-year term before the price hike.
Although I expected some price increases, I didn’t expect anything like this. In fact, in its applications, Uniregistry said it planned to enter into a contractual agreement to not increase its prices for five years. (Thanks for the reminder, George.)
There are several problems here, beyond the obvious “wow these domains costs a lot more.”
First, many registrars show the first year price for domains followed by “renews at”. Are they going to have to honors that first-year renewal price that they told the customer? This could be a big issue. I suspect registrars will cease selling Uniregistry names if they are worried about this happening in the future.
Second, when friends have asked me in the past about buying these new domains, I’ve sometimes told them about the price hike potential. I’ve stopped giving that warning lately, but now? I feel obligated to inform them, especially for Uniregistry domains.
Third, this will wipe out domain investors that funded the early part of new TLD registrations. So, does that leave people actually using the domains as registrants? Nope. I don’t buy that argument. I think it leaves you with people that are defensively registering domains to protect their large brands. If I’m a small business, am I going to pay a few hundred dollars for a domain or find an alternative for $15 or less per year? Most of the time, I’ll opt for the latter.
I should caution that this doesn’t mean other new TLD operators will follow suit. But all new TLDs will be guilty by association.
For the good of all new TLDs, it would help if this increase was charged only to new registrations and the old ones were grandfathered, like what Donuts did. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
This is bad. Really bad.
Update: Here are some other domains getting a big bump. I’m basing this on some retail numbers, so this will depend on your registrar:
.Hosting, .juegos appx $300
.Audio, .hiphop, .flowers, .guitars, .property, .blackfriday $100
Also, here’s how much it costs to run a registry.