by Richmond Lauman
I have sent similar messages to clients by email in past years, and this year I am posting the warning on my site blog as well. Hopefully the message will be spread to a wider audience and people who did not register their domain name through the Domain Registry of Canada will have a little more opportunity of being informed before they receive the official looking brown envelope in the mail.
If you are a Canadian resident and have any domain names registered under your name, chances are high that you have received or will receive mail from the Domain Registry of Canada, or DROC. As mentioned above, the mail comes in an official looking brown envelope. Inside the envelope is an empty envelope addressed to the DORC (postage not included) that is intended to be used to return the completed form that is also included in the brown envelope.
A casual glance at the form, can lead a person to believe that they are in danger of losing control of their domain name unless they renew it through the DROC by completing the form with your credit card information. A careful reading will show that you do not need to renew through the DROC to retain control of your registered domain(s), and in fact, the DROC is trying to get you to switch from your original registrar company to the DROC.
It is perfectly legal for them to do this, though I myself think it is more than a little misleading. Even though they do make it clear on the form that they are not the company you originally registered your domain name with and that they are merely soliciting you to switch registrar's, in my personal opinion, the form seems intentionally designed to create the sense that you will lose control of your domain if it is not renewed through the DROC. In my opinion, the warnings and disclosure are there to protect the DROC legally, but they are counting on a number of people receiving their mail not reading it carefully enough and completing the order form because they are afraid of losing their domain name(s).
If you do re-new through the DROC, the DROC will attempt to transfer the domain from existing registrar. This requires that the domain be unlocked and that a special code be generated by the existing registrar and given to the DROC. This information is not included in the mailed form, so the process of transfer will often be stopped immediately because the domain will be locked and the existing registrar will not even be aware that there was a transfer request. The results will be a lot of confusion for the person who registered the domain and a great deal of trouble in trying to have the domain unlocked and transferred, or to contact the DROC and have them reimburse for a transfer that is not happening. I suspect most people do not bother to do either and allow the DROC to process the payment for a service never received, and I suspect they count on people not bothering.
If the domain is unlocked and the transfer allowed to happen, the domain name will be transferred, and can be renewed in subsequent years through the DROC, so if you understand that in re-newing through the DROC, you are changing registrars and actually want to do so it is a viable and legal option.
Before you choose that option though, consider the renewal costs listed on the form. Will the new costs be to your benefit?
On the sample form shown here the cost to renew for 1 year is $40 CAD, $70 for two years and $160.00 for three years (for the renewal of a .com domain name).
I cannot speak for other companies but if I were to choose to renew that domain through the DROC it would be costing me money. Even at the lower three year rate I would be paying $35.00 more over 5 years.
Remember... The DROC is just a registrar company trying to get you to transfer your business to them. If you registered through another company, you do not need to re-new through the DROC in order to retain control over your domain. Very few domain name registrars will send you renewal notices by mail. Your official renewal notice will come by email and will be from the company you originally registered with. As long as you respond to those legitimate emails and renew before your expiry date, you will retain control of your domain(s).
About the Author
Richmond Lauman is a Web Designer/Developer who owns JAMAXX Web Design, a Web Design company in Nanaimo, BC, Canada.
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