The eth.link case brings up an interesting question.
Earlier this month, the domain name eth.link expired because the domain owner didn’t renew it. He had a pretty good excuse: he’s in prison.
Parties interested in the domain tried to renew it. It’s not clear what they did to try to renew it, and I’m not sure it actually was renewed. I think people who think the domain was renewed might be confusing the registry expiry date with the registrar expiry date.
But this case begs the question: should anyone be allowed to renew a domain name on behalf of someone else?
Some registrars allow this. Tucows’ retail brand Hover enabled this in 2010. It found that over a third of support tickets were related to renewals. People forgot their login or wanted to renew the domain for someone else who wasn’t able to do it at the time.
This change probably saved Hover and its customers a lot of headaches. And it means Hover keeps a subscriber who it otherwise might have lost.
So why would a registrar not allow people to renew domains for other people?
There are some edge cases that could create headaches.
Say I discover that one of the domains in my account infringes a trademark I wasn’t aware of. I decide to let the domain expire but someone else renews it on my behalf. I get hit with a cybersquatting lawsuit a year later. Who’s fault is that?
Or, in the case of eth.link, the owner of the domain is in prison for helping North Korea evade sanctions. If someone renews the domain for him, who is the actual registrant? The person who renewed the domain hasn’t entered into a contract with the registrar (GoDaddy in this case).
Contracts and registration agreements are likely a key reason more registrars haven’t enabled no-login renewals. A registration agreement is in effect as long as someone is the registrant of a domain. If they want the contract to end, should someone else be able to extend it on their behalf?
I’d be curious what other registrars think.
Well. this question has been on my mind for some time. why can’t another persobol renew any domain for any reason. We can add top up for phone for a friend or somebody else… By cc “no questions asked”
tbarrett20523262tom barrett says
Generally, it should be fine to allow a non-registrant who shares the same domain name as the registrant to renew a domain. so [email protected] should able to renew domains for a registrant called [email protected]
Remember, there are registrar renew-prohibited locks that can be placed on domains that registrants do not want renewed. or, they ask that the domain be moved out of their account into a “donotrenew” or “deleteuponexpiration” account.
Brad Mugford says
Well, it would be nice if there was some type of emergency situation in place to deal with incapacitation, death, and other issues preventing renewal.
In the eth.link case it has been reported that the registrant’s legal representation was trying to deal with the renewal. If that was the case, it should almost certainly have been allowed to be renewed as they were representing his interests.
While he is in prison, it might be rather hard to access login credentials for any number of reasons.
As long as there is some type of manual opt-out, I think allowing other parties to renew domains is worth exploring. Now, there might be some reason you would not want it. That is why there needs to be an opt-out.
I am not sure if this would be compatible with current ICANN policy though, as some actions require “affirmative” action by the registrant.
Your question reminded me of this:
“Back in 1999 there was a big story when Microsoft forgot to renew their passport.com domain name, meaning that many people couldn’t access their Hotmail accounts. A guy who wanted to access his Hotmail account went to Network Solutions and paid the $35 to renew the domain and gave it to Microsoft.”
“It appears a similar situation has happened. Microsoft apparently forgot to renew the hotmail.co.uk domain, and some random user bought the domain.”
I always thought it strange that a registrar would allow this.
Then a friend died, their domains were at a registrar that did not have such a feature setup and some domains were expiring (think is was around 2010). I asked their support to allow me to renew his domains (to give time to recover them for his family). The registrar was a bit shocked that I wanted to renew someone else domains. Their accounting department contacted me, confirmed what I was asking to do, I gave them my credit card info, and they renewed the domains.
Aaron Foll says
There is a very simple answer to this, I deal with companies domain portfolios every day, the registrant isn’t always the person who actions the renewal but they can give orders for people to do it on their behalf. They are still accountable as it is their account.
Another solution is find a registrar that allow invoice and auto renew, we trust our clients to pay so if they don’t pay on time we don’t drop their domain unless they specifically ask for a “do-not renew”.
Feel free to get in touch if your fed up of retail registrars dropping your domains, email is [email protected]
.br allows anyone to renew an expired domain on behalf of the current registrant. No issues so far in the decades this has been allowed. Anyone hit with a cease’n’desist or lawsuit can just delete the domain.
Another concern with such a setup is what would happen if hypothetically someone attempted to renew a third-parties domain with a invalid form of payment (such as a stolen credit-card) and the payment was later charged back? Should that result in suspension of a third-parties domain name because of an action that potentially occurred without their input?
Andrew Allemann says
Miroslav Glavić says
Have you people not heard of auto-renew?
Also, let’s say the guy on the article who is in jail, someone renews his domain……..who’s credit card is used for the payment? Jailed guy’s credit card? The someone who is renewing’s credit card?
What if jailed guy’s credit card is used and he is sentenced for let’s say 2 years. How is jailed guy supposed to pay the credit card at the end of the month? I don’t think Visa/Master Card/AMEX will wait 2 years.
>>Have you people not heard of auto-renew?
Domain gets transfered to a new registrar. Registrant decides domain is important and renews for 5 years, their card expires in 1 year. Four years later auto-renew tries to renew via a card that expired 4 years ago …. And the registrant changed their email address and did not update it at their registrar.