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Told us so? Nominet ditches auctions plan, will charge drop-catchers higher fees instead

Kevin Murphy, August 31, 2020, 16:56:29 (UTC), Domain Registries

Nominet has ruled out auctioning off expired .uk domains names, after a member rebellion.

The .uk registry said last Thursday that it “will not pursue an auction model”, despite previously indicating that it was the best option for how to reform the dropping domains market.

This means the most likely model in future is going to be a huge increase in fees for registrars that aggressively engage in drop-catching.

A month ago, Nominet said that it was considering changing how it handles dropping domains, with either a system of registry-managed auctions or a system of increased fees for drop-catchers.

It appeared to many (yours truly included), based on a Nominet scoring system for each available option, that auctions were the preferred choice.

The registry originally denied that auctions were a shoo-in and now, apparently responding to critics, has ruled that option out completely.

Registry MD Eleanor Bradley wrote:

we will not pursue an auction model. While a proportion of responses from a wide range of sectors including the drop–catching market supported this approach, the prevailing view was this is not the role of the Registry.

Introducing a new approach for those that wish to drop–catch names where participants can purchase connections is the option we will pursue further.

Nominet says that some kind of change is “necessary” because currently .uk drop-catchers are sometimes in the habit of creating spurious Nominet memberships in order to increase the number of simultaneous EPP connections they can use, maximizing their chances of securing drops.

The registry calls this “collusion” and against its acceptable use policies.

In future, it seems drop-catchers will instead have to directly buy extra connections from Nominet. An annual price of £600 ($800) for a batch of six connections, up to a maximum of £6,000 for 60, has previously been floated.

Bradley said that the final details of the plan have yet to be determined.

The decision follows a consultation which received 107 comments and a member petition.

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Comments (2)

  1. KF says:

    I once designed a connection policy that gave RRs limits based on an exponential scale of billable transactions per month. So your best providers got rewarded, but couldnt eat up all your resources.
    It also provided incentive to not use diverse accounts bc that would reduce billable transactions.
    I’m surprised more TLDs havent gone with that approach.

  2. A Registrar says:

    So, this will have no impact.

    Nominet have shown they’re unable to enforce the AUP to stop collusion.

    So now drop catchers can either, continue having shadow registrars, which cost £500+vat, then £100+vat/year… or pay an extra £600 every single year for the extra connections.

    The math doesn’t add up here.

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