Domain Name Prices
July 6, 2006 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Why are there places that charge you $35 dollars a year for a domain name (, while there are others that charge you as low as $7 dollars a year for a domain (, What's the catch?
posted by falameufilho to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
Brand name, customer service, marketing.
posted by deadfather at 12:30 PM on July 6, 2006

There's no catch. NSI is ripping people off.
posted by majick at 12:30 PM on July 6, 2006

It's harder for someone to steal a domain name from Documents need to be signed and supposedly verified before the domain name will be transferred. For most other registrars, a thief just needs access to the owner's email address and/or a password to the account.

I guess it would be important for business certainty. Part of it I am sure is psychological. $35 is not much to pay for perceived certainty of your internet real estate.
posted by zaebiz at 12:37 PM on July 6, 2006

In 1993 Network Solutions got an exclusive contract to sell domain names. They started at $50/year and then moved to $35/year (you were required to buy 2 years for $70).

This monopoly ended around 1999 (I'm not sure of the exact date) and now anyone can become an ICANN registrar. These registrars pay a fee to ICANN but charge significantly less (go competition!). The $35/year fee is still in place because companies who originally registered their domains with Network Solutions will probably continue to pay $35/year. There's no reason to pay this much and you should definitely go with another registrar such as
posted by null terminated at 12:39 PM on July 6, 2006

There's a bit of history involved, too. Those ones selling $7 domains weren't around when domains cost $35 or $50 everywhere; those ones charging $35 charged $35 back then, too. They've decided not to compete with the low-price ones on price alone, to various levels of success. NetSol has so many hands in so many pots that the domain registry side is hardly relevant anymore; aims more at providing domain management services to companies with larger domain portfolios than at individuals or small businesses looking to register one or two domains.

Also: A company I used to work for had a partner agreement with one of those $35 registrars; our price for domains was a lot less than $35, so we could set our price between $7 and $35. So some of those $35 ones are keeping their prices high so they don't undercut their own domain-reseller customers.
posted by mendel at 12:40 PM on July 6, 2006

FWIW, netsol was the first domain name registrar for the entire internet, and for a long time, the only one. For that reason, I imagine they still have a fairly large installed customer base, who can't be bothered to dick around with any problems that may come from a transfer or think it's worth $20/year to go through the PITA process that Netsol has for changing registrars (it may have gotten simplier -- last I had to deal with it was 2 years ago).

Additionally, there are some companies who *distrust* cheap pricing for internet services, and occasionally, for good reason -- I've used plenty of fly-by-night hosts who oversold their servers and then went out of business, losing all my data in the process.
posted by fishfucker at 12:41 PM on July 6, 2006

As null terminated observed, it's because they can. Some of my corporate clients simply refuse to pay less, thoroughly brainwashed that Network Solutions is still the only legit registrar.

Also, some people have that mindset which equates price with quality, rationalizing that a [domain|car|gas|dress|banana] that costs 10 times more must certainly be 10 times better. As long as NetSol customers feel like they've got their "premium" registration, they're happy to pay the premium price for it.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:46 PM on July 6, 2006

Godaddy, at least, makes you navigate an obstacle course of insane advertising and intentionally terrible UI design where they try to trick you to pay for all kinds of things you don't need. I'm sure they've crunched the numbers that show that their misdirection makes them a lot more than $7 per registration, and so they can successfully charge below market rates as a starting point.
posted by heresiarch at 1:19 PM on July 6, 2006

It's like fast food restaurants. Most of the time they actually lose money on their 99 cent hamburgers...but they're making a killing on fries and drinks (the "side" items).

That's what all the domain registrars do. They offer 7 dollar domains and try their hardest to get you to pay 30 bucks to have your domain submitted to search engines (which anybody can do for free).
posted by JPigford at 1:29 PM on July 6, 2006

The big registrars' domain pricing really does seem to prey on the ignorant. is a full-price registrar, and charges $35 for a .com domain. But owns, which charges $8.88 for a .com domain. I've used both and and they have virtually identical control panels for customers. There's nothing you're allowed to do in that you're not allowed to do in

It is telling that you can transfer any domain name from other registrars to -- except for those names you registered with
posted by jayder at 2:28 PM on July 6, 2006

For companies that also offer hosting, domain name registration is often used as a loss leader.
posted by ChasFile at 2:42 PM on July 6, 2006

I can understand the corporate mindset. A domain transfer that goes wrong would easily cost your company more than the $28 a year you would save. For that little amount of savings, it's just not worth the risk.
posted by smackfu at 5:20 PM on July 6, 2006

heresiarch, you hit the nail on the head. It's a horror show trying to navigate through their site - and I'm convinced it's on purpose.
posted by rinkjustice at 6:38 PM on July 6, 2006

Look for OpenSRS resellers. They all have a similar control interface, and you have recourse with OpenSRS if you have an issue. I haven't found any as cheap as $7, but the one I use is a very, very small registrar (as in, I doubt they have more than a couple hundred domains), and its $10/yr. Plus the owner will call me when I accidentally let the domain lapse (after 3 or 4 years, you'd think I'd learn to register it for more than a year at a time).
posted by devilsbrigade at 6:42 PM on July 6, 2006

FYI, for those who love (or hate) GANDI, they have a new interface. It works a little better than the old one and I didn't hate the old one. They still have a little bit of that kooky French language style though. The price (~$12) is good enough for me, their terms of service aren't evil, and I have all my domains registered there. One was transferred out of a friend's registration, and I had more trouble with my flaky friend not checking his damn email than I had with .
posted by intermod at 8:41 PM on July 6, 2006

I've been pretty happy with Domain Discover/Tierranet, who throw in control-panel DNS, and web- and mail-forwarding for the $25 a year they charge, which is worth it to me.

Their customer support, alas, is uniformly miserable. But in practice, I almost never need to use it.
posted by baylink at 8:52 PM on July 10, 2006

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