Read the terms, but also consider which company you trust to hold your domains.
My story this week about Uniregistry adding a late renewal fee has snowballed. People actually read Uniregistry’s terms for perhaps the first time, and they didn’t like everything they saw.
The language suggests that Uniregistry can take your domain away without giving a grace period. That would obviously be bad.
But take a look at many other registrar’s terms of service and registration agreements and you’ll see something similar. They often reserve the right to not allow renewal past the expiration.
There are other terms in agreements, especially registry agreements, that let many parties take your domain name away.
Despite what Uniregistry’s terms say, the company told Domain Name Wire, “Uniregistry.com has never and will never simply appropriate someone’s domain name immediately upon expiration.”
Ultimately, choosing which registrar you work with comes down to more than a question of what’s in their legal terms. It comes down to a question of trust. Who do you trust to serve as your registrar and not screw you?
I’ve observed the trust factor of various registrars ebb and flow over the years. Sometimes it’s because key personnel leave or the company is taken over. Sometimes the registrar is run unethically, other times it’s run ineptly.
I definitely encourage domain investors to read the terms they agree to. But I also suggest that they think about which registrar they trust.