Why do Domain Auctions Partner With Sleazy Registrars?

I recently won a great domain name at an auction. Spent the money, waited a few days, and got the domain management details.

I logged into my domain management account, and searched around the site...no details on how to transfer a domain name away from their site - no transfer authorization code anywhere. The only article I found was one on ICANN rules, stating that you could email them if you needed help locking or unlocking your domain names - but nothing about auth codes.

Most of their contact policies were via email. I could not find a phone number on their site until after I submitted an email to them explaining my frustrations. Then I got sent back an email telling me to check out their help page which consisted of a Google search box. This page actually had a phone number in the upper right corner. So I called it and it told me I was the first person in line. I waited for a few more songs and got told I was first a few more times before hanging up the phone in frustration.

So then I searched for the parent corporation site and hunted around their site for a support number. That worked and was answered within about a minute. Sweet. But...

The guy who answered the phone at first denied that his registrar had anything to do with the domain name I just bought. "Someone registered that directly with Tucows," he said. I then asked why I was sent a welcome domain name management email to log in at his company's site and why I have a customer number with them. At that point he looked up the name and saw that it was registered with them, but then he told me that they had a 60 day policy on domain transfers and that I couldn't get it yet. I said to send the auth code anyway.

After telling me no a couple times he finally said ok. But then the email did not come right away, so I asked if he could just tell me the auth code. He said "no because then we could seize control of the name." I told him I thought they already did that with their website and customer service.

I finally got the auth code, and the domain name is allegedly "Pending Current Registrar Approval." I hope it goes through!

Are these shady third party registrars actually owned by the same parent companies? Couldn't the domain name auctions allow the end buyers to pay a $10 fee per secured name to avoid sending them to some outfit that wastes their time in an attempt to either steal their domain name or cash? Some of the auctions already have the house keeping some of the best inventory and shill bidding against you for what is left...why must they keep screwing you even after the relationship is over?

Published: July 9, 2008 by Aaron Wall in domain names


July 9, 2008 - 5:19am

I think he may be right about the 60-day policy. I believe it's an ICANN policy that most registrars follow. The same applies if you're trying to move the domain 60 days before it's due for renewal.


July 9, 2008 - 10:01am

I couldn't agree more. It's like they used the total "bottom of the barrel" registrars for dropped domains.

Every time I win one it ends up being a different registrar.

I won a domain on SnapNames last week and all I got from the registrar was a note saying "Thanks for registering a domain with us". No hint of my new username or password for the account they auto-created. No idea what domain it was that they had (I buy a lot of drops). The registrar in question is MyDomain.com - I can't recommend them.

I always try to transfer away as soon as I can, but as you found out - registars have to stick to that 60 day notice. It makes it very annoying when you have domains getting registered with 14 different registrars and have to remind yourself to go back in 2 months and transfer them out.

Aaron Rosenthal
July 9, 2008 - 4:36pm

Unfortunately, they have to do this.

Registrars only get a small number of request to hit ICANN with. So, the more registrars you have in "your network" the more requests you can send.

This ICANN rule came after old school domainers would hammer them with requests.

July 9, 2008 - 5:14pm

I know what you mean - you really need to keep tabs on where these domains are and make sure you transfer them asap after the 60 days so they are 'safe'. Some of them have no business calling themselves a registrar.

July 9, 2008 - 7:25pm

I'm irritated by this as well.

Not only are many of the registrars crappy generally -- they often make it *extremely* hard to transfer the domain out.

A few times, I've actually had to contact "support" to have them email me the authorization code that is needed to transfer a domain name.

July 10, 2008 - 4:59pm

I've gotten stuck with some crappy ones. This one is by far the worst:


I have a domain there that I won on Pool and I've had major problems getting it out of there. They claim to have a customer login area, but good luck finding it -- I don't see one. They also don't answer emails. Come to think of it, I've actually had major problems with a lot of domains that I win on Pool.

On the other hand, I don't have too much trouble with the NameJet, snapnames and other domain auction sites.

July 10, 2008 - 5:41pm

I've gone through and canceled all of my snapnames bids for this very reason.. The registrar I got stuck with took three support emails over a month before I finally got an answer..

When you win a name shouldn't be allowed to use whatever registrar you want??

July 11, 2008 - 8:03pm

1and1 locks you in and requires similar authcode bullshit to get your domains out of their clutches.

July 12, 2008 - 4:05am

Unfortunately there's a combination of situations and rules that play into these problems, apart from bad registrar management systems and support.

While many domains don't actually "drop" any more (i.e. are deleted and then re-registered by one of the Snapnames/eNom/Pool type of service), because they are given to the auction houses directly by the registrars, there actually is a 60 day restriction on transfers for newly registered domains.

Apart from these restrictions the registrar is however obliged to provide support, authorization codes and comply with any request by the registrant. In many cases the auction houses were you bought the name are able to help if the Registrar is un-responsive.

But you are pointing out one of the reasons that makes this system for bidding/buying premium domains more difficult for the users that it need be. While the domain aftermarket has come a long way, there's clearly still room for improvement.


PS: The transfer should complete within 5 days when it's pending approval at the losing registrar. Depending on the registrar you're transferring it to it may take a day longer to show as completed.

July 12, 2008 - 4:32pm

Thanks for the comment Frank. :)

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