If you get what looks like a bill from Domain Registry, don’t pay it.
It says OPEN IMMEDIATELY like it is really important.
As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification of the domain name registration that is due to expire in the next few months. When you switch today to Domain Registry, you can take advantage of our best savings. Your registration for: design42.com will expire on January 6, 2023. Act today!
It looks really urgent, doesn’t it? “Act today!” and “Domain Name Expiration Notice” It looks like if you don’t jump on this right now you are going to lose your domain name.
DO NOT PAY THIS “BILL”
How can they get away with sending you a bill?
Look closely. The first line says “notification.” This looks like a bill, but it is actually not a bill. Although it really does look like a bill, they skirt the law. They are not actually billing you. The last line before the “Period covered” area says “This notice is not a bill, it is rather an easy means of payment should you decide to switch your domain name registration to Domain Registry.”
The next paragraph tells you what is going on.
You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web, and now is the time to transfer and renew your name from your current Registrar to Domain Registry. Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web.
While it is true that you must renew your domain name if you want to keep it, if you pay this, you “renew your name from your current Registrar to Domain Registry.” You will “switch your domain name registration to Domain Registry.”
What is a registrar?
A domain name registrar is a company that manages the reservation of Internet domain names.
Privatization of Domain Registrations and Renewals now allows the consumer the choice of Registrars when initially registering and also when renewing a domain name. Domain name holders are not obligated to renew their domain name with their current Registrar or with Domain Registry. Review our prices and decide for yourself. You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below, unless you accept this offer. This notice is not a bill, it is rather an easy means of payment should you decide to switch your domain name registration to Domain Registry.
This is not some new concept you may never have heard of. Privatization of domain names happened in 1999. Until then, Network Solutions Inc. (NSI) was the only registry for .com, .net, and .org. But that was a long time ago.
And you can choose your registrar pretty much any time, not just when you renew it.
What about the prices?
Is Domain Registry a better deal?
It says you can save up to $75.
Look at your most recent bill. What are you paying for your domain registry and renewal? Not hosting, that is something else. Domain Registry wants you to pay $60 a year for just the domain renewal. The multi-year options are still likely significantly more than you are probably paying no matter where else you have registered your domain name.
They also list additional domain names you might want to buy.
The following names are currently available for you to register and secure, protecting your domain name from being duplicated.
There are so many domain name extensions, you would have to spend a small fortune to lock up all of them.
DO NOT PAY THIS “BILL”
Other “bills” transfer your hosting as well. A few times when I or my clients were unable to make edits to the site, we discovered it was because the owner had paid what they thought was a bill and had the entire site moved. The company copied their website and moved it to their servers and held it hostage until they paid a LOT of money.
If you get this letter or any other letter like it, throw it away. If you are concerned, check with the company that helped you register your domain name in the first place. They will probably let you know when it should be renewed, without you asking. But DON’T pay some random bill that comes in the mail (or fax or email or text).