Domain Name Ownership Weirdness
May 28, 2007 11:06 AM   Subscribe

How is it possible that I still own a domain name that I let expire (with a registering company I've never even heard of)?

First, I apologize if this has been asked before. This seems like something that would have come up in the past, but I couldn't find anything similar. Here's the deal:

I let a domain name (a ".org") expire back in March since I wasn't doing anything with it, but recently decided that if it was still available, I might as well re-register it in case I ever got a second wind on the idea that led me to register it in the first place. When I went to register it again, I learned that it was taken. Oh well, I thought. It's not the only domain name I could use, but it was my first choice. For kicks, I checked Whois to see who owned it and found out that.... I own it. WTF?

Although I had previously registered the domain using Bravenet (or possibly GoDaddy... I don't remember off the top of my head), it says the sponsoring registrar is, which I've never done business with nor heard of for that matter. The expiration date is in March 2008. Now, I'm not planning to do anything with it this year and since it says I own it (and it's pretty unlikely anyone else is going to want it), I'm not really afraid of losing it. It's just that I'd like to know what happened and would like to prevent any hassle later on if and when I do actually decide to use it. Ideas? Thanks!
posted by zharptitsa to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite offers registration services through resellers, not directly. The company you registered through is probably a reseller of theres, and I'm guessing that your registration has expired but not yet been deleted.

THere should be a creation date or registration date in that whois record. What is it?
posted by winston at 11:26 AM on May 28, 2007

oops -- their's, not theres
posted by winston at 11:27 AM on May 28, 2007

Just because Whois says your name doesn't mean you own it. Anyone can put any name they want in there. I'm wondering if PublicDomainRegistry is some sort of "service" to make sure you don't lose your domain. I wonder how much it costs to get it back under your control...
posted by niles at 11:34 AM on May 28, 2007

Response by poster: From Whois:
Created On:24-Mar-2006 05:12:48 UTC
Last Updated On:03-May-2007 06:38:49 UTC
Expiration Date:24-Mar-2008 05:12:48 UTC

Winston - So, if understand correctly, you're saying that Bravenet (I looked into it and they're definitely the ones I registered it with) is a reseller of the other company? That would make sense. What's weird though is that according to the Whois record, the expiration date isn't until next March. Since I'm 100% sure that I only bought the year-long package, is it possible that Bravenet fronted the 2nd year "on my behalf" so to speak in case I decided to renew? I don't know if that's possible, but if it is I would think that I'd be getting some sort of solicitation to re-register the name with them and I haven't heard a peep. I can't even find any evidence in my Bravenet account that the domain ever belonged to me. Anyway, I opened up a support ticket with Bravenet just in case they can shed some light on this.

Niles - Yikes. Hope that's not the case. But, you're right. It's possible I'm not the owner, just the contact.
posted by zharptitsa at 12:00 PM on May 28, 2007

Response by poster: By the way, in case it makes a difference, the Whois record says:


Sounds to me like Bravenet might be holding on to it?
posted by zharptitsa at 12:04 PM on May 28, 2007

Are you sure it's not "Public Interest Registry" ( That's the umbrella organization that handles all .org registrations, one level up from the registrars.

"PENDING DELETE RESTORABLE" says to me that it's still in the period where you can get your registrar to renew it, with a penalty fee for being late. Act quickly.
posted by mendel at 12:16 PM on May 28, 2007

Response by poster: Definitely not Public Interest Registry.
Sponsoring Registrar:Directi Internet Solutions d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.Com (R27-LROR)
posted by zharptitsa at 12:46 PM on May 28, 2007

There's a whole routine that goes on when a domain expires. It's not just dropped at the date it expires.

How a domain expires

Contrary to popular belief, domains do not expire when they say they do. If the owner of a domain does not renew by the expiration date of the domain, the domain goes into “expired” status. For 40 days, the domain is in a grace period where all services are shut off, but the domain owner may still renew the domain for a standard renewal fee. If a domain enters this period, it is a good first indicator that it may not be renewed, but since the owner can re-register without penalty, it can also just be a sign of laziness or procrastination.

After 40 days are up, the domain’s status changes to “redemption period”. During this phase, all WhoIs information begins disappearing, and more importantly, it now costs the owner an additional fee to re-activate and re-register the domain. The fee is currently around $100, depending on your registrar. When a domain enters its redemption period, it’s a good bet the owner has decided not to renew.

Finally, after the redemption period, the domain’s status will change to “locked” as it enters the deletion phase. The deletion phase is 5 days long, and on the last day between 11am and 2pm Pacific time, the name will officially drop from the ICANN database and will be available for registration by anybody.

The entire process ends exactly 75 days after the listed expiration date. For an even more detailed explanation, read the article Inside a Drop Catcher’s War Room.

posted by justgary at 3:20 PM on May 28, 2007

Response by poster: Just to clarify... according to Whois, the domain is not expired. It's set to expire on March 24, 2008... even though I let it expire (or so I thought) on March 24, 2007. As far as I can tell, it's as if (which may be the parent company of the registering company I used) paid for an additional year on my behalf so that it wouldn't expire.

If that's truly the case (which I'm now trying to figure out), could they legally charge me a fee or prevent me from using the domain? Since it never expired, it's still mine, right? Unless I'm missing something, it would seem to me that they can't. They took a calculated risk and renewed the domain for me hoping that I'd be a sucker and pay them for something that is still technically mine (even though they paid for the renewal). Or am I way off? Has anyone experienced anything like this before?
posted by zharptitsa at 4:01 PM on May 28, 2007

Best answer: I don't know if this is relevant or helps, or if it's just a red herring, but the PIR's website says:
When you register a domain name, you can register it for one to 10 years. When your registration expires, the .ORG registry will auto-renew the domain name for one year and debit your registrar's account for the renewal fee. If your registrar does not receive your registration payment, your registrar can take one of several actions, including deleting or placing your domain name on "Hold".
The "pending delete restorable" flags mean your name is in the redemption period after a deletion request from your registrar.

So combining those two, it sounds like your domain is autmoatically renewed by PIR, and your registrar can then request the delete, if you haven't expicitly paid for a renewal. (In which case the expiry date is only subject to the domain not being deleted, I would assume.) Since the redemption period lasts 30 days, and you don't know when they initiated it (and the domain did expire over 30 days ago); like mendel said, if you want it, it sounds like you'll have to get in touch with Bravenet ASAP.
posted by insipidia at 5:06 PM on May 28, 2007

Response by poster: Insipidia - I bet your right. Never would have figured that one out on my own (apparently I'm too preoccupied thinking people are out to cheat me...). Thanks!
posted by zharptitsa at 6:18 PM on May 28, 2007

insipidia is spot on. This is a general practice now. The other thing to know is that many registrars are now changing their rules to allow them to snap up a name in a matter of days after a registrant let's it lapse. Please people - keep on top of your domain names. If you think you want it, renew it.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:49 AM on May 31, 2007

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