UPDATED Jan 14, 2013
Someone made a mistake recently and did not renew a high-end, premium domain name, Publication.com. But instead of Publication.com going through the normal domain name drop process, at the 11th hour, the domain name did not become available as it should have–and was suddenly renewed. This should not have happened, according to the domain name drop process. Domain names that are in Pending Delete status cannot be renewed by their former owner–it must become available to the public.
But that is NOT what happened with Publication.com. The domain name was not renewed. The domain name went to the Redemption period. And was not renewed. It then went to the Pending Delete status, where typically a domain name is then auctioned off to the highest bidder. And literally there were hundreds of bidders to pre-registered to bid in a private auction for Publication.com.
When you register a domain name, you register the name with a domain name registrar, such as Godaddy, Network Solutions, or Dotster (more about Dotster in a minute). You pay an annual fee for the domain name registration. You can, in fact, prepay up to 100 years in advance. Many pay for a few years. In any case, if you do not renew the domain name (which typically costs from $10 to $35 a year), then the domain name is put into “hold”, then a “redemption period”, then “pending delete”. Then, the domain name typically is released to the general public.
The following is Godaddy’s policy regarding domain names, and what they do it you don’t manually renew your domain name:
– On the day after your domain name registration’s expiration date, we notify you of the domain name registration’s expiration and park your domain name. You can manually renew your domain name.
– On the 5th and 12th days after expiration, we email you additional notifications. You can manually renew your domain name.
– On the 19th day after expiration, your domain name remains on hold but becomes subject to a redemption fee. You can manually renew your domain name, subject to any applicable renewal and redemption fees.
– On the 25th day after expiration, we put your domain name up for auction with a domain name industry auction service. You can manually renew your domain name, subject to any applicable renewal and redemption fees.
– On the 42nd day after expiration, we cancel your domain name. We delete all services associated with the domain name.
So, what happened to Publication.com? The company did NOT renew their domain name. It got to the 11th hour. The final drop, which happens typically around 2:00pm EST, and lasts up to a few hours. Like I mentioned earlier, Publication.com had hundreds of people watching this domain name drop–with the hopes that they could have the chance to bid on the name and win it–and acquire this ultra-high-end premium domain name.
But that didn’t happen. Instead, the domain name was renewed at the 11th hour. And the “rules” state that domain names that get to the Pending Delete status cannot be renewed. They just cannot be claimed by their former owner, no matter what the price. But apparently this domain name was ‘special’. Perhaps because it is such a valued domain? Perhaps.
But, more importantly, there seems to be more to the story. Dotster and Domain.com have had some major issues recently that might explain all of this, and why there was an issue with Publication.com.
So, at this point, we really do not know what happened, and why such a ultra high end domain name like Publication.com was apparently “special” and got renewed although it was official in “Pending Delete” status.
I reached out to Verisign, and received the following official statement from their PR firm:
The status of publication.com was changed as the result of a court order.
Verisign responds to lawful court orders subject to our technical capabilities. When the company is presented with such lawful orders impacting domain names within our registries, we respond within our technical capabilities.
So, what happened? Right now we don’t know. I’ll keep you posted.
Update: January 14, 2013
DomainNameNews has received a copy of the court order and some additional documents, including info about an email exchange between Blake Ellman and James Hubler at Verisign. Here is what DNN is reporting:
some additional documents showing an email exchange on the evening preceding the scheduled deletion between the registrant of the domain, Blake Ellman and James Hubler, Senior Corporate Counsel at Verisign. In the emails Hubler agrees to stop the deletion of the domain if a court order meeting the following conditions is received before 11am on the day of the deletion:
– Because of jurisdiction considerations, a federal court order is required.
– The order should direct Verisign as a non-party to the suit to remove the subject domain name from pending delete status.
So, it looks like, just as I alluded to earlier, that the whole entire issue is related to the Dotster/Domain.com fiasco (see my link above to TheDomains article).
Publication.com was deleted due to an “inadvertent mistake of ‘Dotster/domain.com’“.