My comments on expired domains.
I believe most registrars do an effective job informing customers of upcoming expirations. For example, Go Daddy sends multiple expiration notices by email and even postal mail. Most registrars continue to send these expiration notices after a domain expires. GoDaddy also alerts people who call its support number if they have any expiring domains. Most major registrars follow similar procedures.
I have a few general concerns/observations that this Working Group should consider.
1. The number one reason people neglect to renew their domains is because they have incorrect contact information. When I view historical whois information for an expired domain, I typically find that it involves bogus or outdated contact information. I believe most registrars, and even ICANN, are doing enough to encourage people to use valid contact information. Those that use invalid information are likely doing so on purpose and don’t need to be protected for the purpose of expired domains.
2. The practice of changing DNS servers upon expiration is a Catch-22. On one hand, changing an expired domain’s DNS servers to a registrar landing page alerts a customer that their domain has expired. However, it also prevents them from receiving expiration notices via email if their whois contact address is firstname.lastname@example.org (because the mail servers have been changed).
3. Resellers may have an incentive to let domains expire since they can get a cut. It is normal practice for domain registrars to auction off expired domains and I have no problem with this. Most of these registrars still make best efforts to inform customers of renewal dates. I do have some concern with resellers, especially since some registrars compensate them with a portion of auction revenue.
4. Expiration dates are confusing. One complaint I receive from people who email me at Domain Name Wire claiming their registrar screwed them (and I get many such emails) is that it appeared the expiration date was a year away. They see the registry expiration date, which is usually automatically extended a year, and think this is their actual expiration date (as opposed to the registrar expiration date). Asking the typical domain registrant to understand the difference between registry and registrar expiration dates is asking too much. This working group should consider ways that registries can display this data without confusing customers.