Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

Namecheap boss goes nuclear on Russian customers

Kevin Murphy, March 1, 2022, 09:39:52 (UTC), Domain Registrars

Namecheap has banned all Russians from its services in a comprehensive, surprising, and unprecedented expression of solidarity with Ukraine, the invaded country where most of its support staff are based.

CEO Richard Kirkendall said yesterday that Namecheap, which has over 14 million domains under management, “will no longer be providing services to users registered in Russia”, in an email to Russian customers.

Namecheap says it has over 1,000 employees in Ukraine.

It uses a company there called Zone3000 for its English-language customer support, from three locations across the country, mostly in Kharkiv, one of the cities that has been particularly affected by the Russian invasion over the last five days.

Kirkendall has given Russian customers until March 6, one week from the time of the email, to move to another registrar.

The email was posted online, and I’ve confirmed with Namecheap that it’s accurate. Kirkendall said:

Unfortunately, due to the Russian regime’s war crimes and human rights violations in Ukraine, we will no longer be providing services to users registered in Russia. While we sympathize that this war may not affect your own views or opinion on the matter, the fact is, your authoritarian government is committing human rights abuses and engaging in war crimes so this is a policy decision we have made and will stand by.

If you hold any top-level domains with us, we ask that you transfer them to another provider by March 6, 2022.

I’m told the words “any top-level domains” just means ‘any domains in any TLDs’.

Kirkendall went on to say that anyone using Russian and Belarusian ccTLDs — .ru, .xn--p1ai (.рф), .by, .xn--90ais (.бел), and .su — will no longer be able to use Namecheap’s email or hosting services.

After some negative replies, accusing Namecheap of going too far, Kirkendall wrote:

We haven’t blocked the domains, we are asking people to move. There are plenty of other choices out there when it comes to infrastructure services so this isn’t “deplatforming”. I sympathize with people that are not pro regime but ultimately even those tax dollars they may generate go to the regime. We have people on the ground in Ukraine being bombarded now non stop. I cannot with good conscience continue to support the Russian regime in any way, shape or form. People that are getting angry need to point that at the cause, their own government. If more grace time is necessary for some to move, we will provide it. Free speech is one thing but this decision is more about a government that is committing war crimes against innocent people that we want nothing to do with.

It’s by some way the strongest stance anyone in the domain industry has yet taken on the war in Ukraine.

Namecheap intends to issue a formal statement outlining its position later today.

Tagged: ,

Comments (7)

  1. Ethan says:

    If “those tax dollars they may generate go to the regime” is what concerns the CEO, he can limit his Russian customers’ payment methods to those which does not benefit the regime. It’s not necessary to ask Russian customers to move out because doing that causes troubles to innocent Russian customers.

  2. R. Funden says:

    I wonder if there is any significance to the wording here though:
    “users registered in Russia” could mean that Russian oligarchs shifting their registrations to their maltese companies for example would be a-OK.

  3. David says:

    Never thought Richard Kirkendall is a puppy of U.S gov.

  4. page howe says:

    maybe best not to use a metaphor liked nuclear when we could, and its only a small chance, be so close to a potential reality..

    ie banning customers isnt “nuclear” when nuclear is actually on the table so said by the tyrant…

  5. I don’t agree with punishing Russian customers for what their leader is doing but at the same time, if they aren’t protesting the war waged on Ukraine then they’ll definitely be protesting this.

    It’s rare to see a tech CEO actually stand for something so I find this refreshing.

    • Alexander says:

      Wow. If company really has so solid base of employees (maybe datacenters/offices) in Ukraine than it’s just obvious decision dictated by most agressive antirussian team leaders from this country and tech SEO had no other choice but enter in politics.

  6. Brad Mugford says:

    NameCheap needs to answer the following questions –

    1.) What happens if someone is not able to access their account to transfer their domains? You said you blocked Russian IP. Forcing someone to find a way to access their account is an undue burden.

    2.) What if someone can’t afford or is just not able to physically make payment (because of sanctions)? What happens to a domain with time left on the registration?

    Is NameCheap going to put it into pending delete? Are they going to suspend it?

    I also want to hear NameCheap pledge not to make a profit off these assets. If this is your stance, you should have absolutely no problem pledging to not profit of any of these domains when/if they expire or are deleted.

Add Your Comment