Top ten domain registrar 1&1 is now accepting pre-registrations on a first come basis, and the various pre-registration offerings are rather confusing.
Last week I wrote about how GoDaddy was beginning to accept paid pre-registrations for a handful of top level domain names that will be coming soon.
Other registrars are also offering some version of paid offering now, and more will begin to do so as the domains are actually delegated.
1&1, which has been running TV ads promoting pre-reservations, has now moved on to pre-registrations for four Donuts domains: .bike, .singles, .holdings, and .clothing. 1&1 will only allow one customer to pre-register each domain, and then the registrar will try to grab the domain during general availability. The price is $49.99, but you don’t actually pay now. You only pay if the registrar successfully gets the domain.
Another registrar, 101Domain, is also taking pre-registrations. (It actually started taking them before GoDaddy.) For 101Domain, you pay upfront and get your money back if they can’t secure the domain.
Most registrars are basically offering a drop-catch style pre-registration system. GoDaddy’s is a bit different, as you’ll notice they have an option in which your domains are submitted to the registry before general availability. This “priority” pre-registration includes a non-refundable fee.
My guess is this is going to be very confusing for the typical end user customer, and there will be many frustrated people who didn’t understand exactly what they were ordering.