Cut the drama : Hard facts about the Uniregistry gTLDs and their real pricing


There’s plenty of misinformation regarding what is the real upcoming pricing of certain Uniregistry gTLDs.

We’re here to set the record straight, providing the hard facts about these gTLDs.

Disclosure: Uniregistry is a premium sponsor of We share news and information about their products and services, which we also use.

Whether domainers like it or not, prices are going up on September 8th for the following 16 Uniregistry extensions:


There is one catch: The Uniregistry gTLDs in bold are being grandfathered in pricing.

What does this mean?

It means, that any domain registered in these extensions before September 8th, will continue to receive the current pricing.

Uniregistry enables that option to the domain Registrars that resell its gTLDs.

GoDaddy has chosen not to offer this pricing, that grandfathers the gTLDs in bold, choosing instead to increase its prices substantially, effective immediately.

How so?

Right now, at GoDaddy, you can’t get a .Hosting domain for $39.99 dollars, and lock down its pricing forever. Instead, you will pay $899.99 dollars – that’s the GoDaddy price, NOT the Uniregistry wholesale price of $338.88 dollars from September 8th.

Why would GoDaddy effectively deprive its customers of the price grandfathering for new domain registrations?

We are not sure.

Moving onto Tucows/OpenSRS, that announced the selective discontinuing of 9 Uniregistry gTLDs yesterday.

In a dramatic statement, Tucows/OpenSRS asserts that the Uniregistry price increase is being “disruptive to business.”

Very conveniently, Tucows/OpenSRS fails to mention two hard facts:

  • The 9 gTLDs that are being grandfathered at current pricing, therefore posing no threat to existing businesses
  • That the posted new prices of Uniregistry gTLDs from September 8th onward, are their own upselling prices – NOT those of Uniregistry (the Registry.)

For example:

  • Uniregistry wholesale for .LINK is $9.88 and will remain the same after September 8th.
    Tucows/OpenSRS price will be $12.
  • Uniregistry wholesale for .CHRISTMAS is $29.88 and will change to $36.88 after September 8th.
    Tucows/OpenSRS price will jump to $50.

Why doesn’t Tucows/OpenSRS come clean about the new pricing, and in particular, why did they choose not to implement the grandfathering of gTLDs that receive the steepest price increases?

Instead, Tucows/OpenSRS chose to simply drop all the Uniregistry gTLDs that offer price grandfathering at current price levels.

Who is being “disruptive to business,” to use their own words?

It’s pretty obvious, in our opinion.

One has to keep in mind that Uniregistry – the domain Registrar, as opposed to the Registry of gTLDs – is a strong, emerging competitor to the businesses of other Registrars.

While Uniregistry – the Registry – has to comply with ICANN regulations and keep its Registrar “sandboxed” this cannot stop the competition from potentially engaging in questionable practices, as we’ve hopefully demonstrated in this article.

Onto the final document:

Here is the real wholesale retail pricing for all Uniregistry gTLDs that receive a price increase, from September 8th onward:

Addendum: Regarding the grandfathering of prices, and how this applies to domain names that change hands through – for example – a sale, Uniregistry gave us the following response:

“As long at the domain name has not expired, it doesnโ€™t matter how many times it changes hands between different registrants, it will qualify for price protection.”

Hopefully this article clears up any misunderstandings, intentional or not, about what is going on with Uniregistry gTLD pricing, come September 8th.

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16 Responses to “Cut the drama : Hard facts about the Uniregistry gTLDs and their real pricing”
  1. Jim May says:

    It’s because domain registrars usually don’t build in something that says if a domain was purchased before a certain date, the price for a renewal is X, after a certain date it is Y. And we won’t even talk about transfers. It’s easier to just say sorry Frank, your “system” is too complicated.

    Maybe some of the companies decided to read Frank’s own article from Amex and take his own advice. It was just time for them to pivot. The pivot is pretty simple, we don’t want people changing prices on us, so we will use Frank as an example of what will happen if you do.

  2. DomainGang says:

    Jim May – ICANN mandates a 6 month “fair warning” by the Registry to the Registrars, for such price increases.

    I’m certain, that Uniregistry offers their full support to the Registrars in that respect, as there are APIs involved. Perhaps it’s the Registrars that are too lazy or incompetent to act up. Just guessing here, but the writing is on the proverbial wall.

    Nothing wrong with “pivoting” as long as the Registrars disclose what they are or aren’t doing, instead of claiming to be shielding their customers. But it’s easier to point the finger instead, I suppose.

  3. Jim May says:

    It was Frank who was losing money in this case on these gtlds. It wasn’t the registrars fault that Frank was losing money.

    Frank’s problem that he still does not see is that the registrars aren’t here to make Frank money. They are in business to make money for themselves. If I was a registrar, I would do the same thing that Godaddy is doing, Frank will sell even less of his gtlds. And then he will try to unload the gtld on somebody else.

    What is a gtld like .audio that only has 9k total registrations worth? I’m betting after 2 years it will be down to about 2,000 total registrations. And then somebody like Godaddy for example could buy .audio from Frank for about $150k. Frank may have too much pride to let one of his babies go for such a low number to a company that would make the information public. But this will happen with a lot of the new gtlds sooner than you think. Godaddy, Verisign, Afilias, and Neulevel are just all sitting their waiting like sharks.

  4. DomainGang says:

    Jim May – Apples and oranges. The Registrars were not losing money, and they won’t be losing money in an upselling mode of operations. Nobody expects them to sell at wholesale prices, but they are doing selective things here, far and beyond what one expects from a reseller of goods that changed pricing.

    Again, Uniregistry made a business decision, took the punches and made adjustments to its original release, all in compliance with the 6 month time frame.

    What are the Registrars doing?

    First, GoDaddy threw a tantrum and pulled out, then they reinstated the relationship with the immediate price adjustments that I shared in this article and previously.

    Now, OpenSRS/Tucows takes the easy way out, by dropping the gTLDs that are being grandfathered, instead of adding a few dozen lines of code to manage the changes.

    It’s irrelevant about what the registration numbers are really. It’s a matter of using false pretenses (e.g. concern about customers, disruption of business) when the facts and numbers point elsewhere.

  5. The image you have posted in not the Uniregistry wholesale pricing. I think…
    This is what I know:

    GoDaddy probably doesn’t want angry customers after September 8th so they just increase the prices now and have less worrying later.
    It will more difficult to explain that the domain you bought yesterday is now renewed for 3x more.
    In my opinion it was wrong for GoDaddy to accept back Uniregistry extensions but money talks.
    BTW Uniregistry’s new retail prices are crazy too. .Hosting will be selling at about $500.

    For Tucows now.
    Uniregistry will be selling .link for $13,88. Tucows at $12. Wholesale will be $7.
    Uniregistry will be selling .link for $84,88. Tucows at $50. Wholesale will be $30.

  6. Jim May says:

    It wasn’t the registrars fault that Frank was losing money, it was Frank’s fault. At the end of the day, the registrars don’t need Frank’s gtlds, especially if they are not selling. But Frank needs the registrars. You don’t bite the hand that is feeding you and this is a perfect example of why you don’t.

  7. DomainGang says:

    Kosta – The image is rendered from the official Uniregistry price spreadsheet, as it was adjusted after the initial news in March. You are correct, prices were different (higher) originally. But that changed after the initial public response and the backlash. Registrars get lower wholesale pricing now, as depicted.

    GoDaddy would not anger customers for new domain registrations in gTLDs that have been grandfathered! They could continue offering e.g. $39 dollar .Flowers domains, until wholesale prices go up in September, but they chose to jack it to $299 NOW. That’s the difference. So you can’t get grandfathered in at GoDaddy, for any new registrations of gTLDs that get this type of protection by Uniregistry, and that’s the most expensive ones.

    Same for OpenSRS/Tucows: Instead of allowing registrants to get domains NOW and get grandfathered in, they chose to drop these gTLDs.

  8. DomainGang says:

    Jim May – The Registrars have nothing to lose. They upsell gTLDs which are intangible assets that take up zero space as inventory of sorts.

    Don’t tell me GoDaddy doesn’t “need” Frank’s gTLDs when they retracted their initial, arguably rushed decision to pull out. They make money, good money and not just pennies to the dollar, from EVERY gTLD they sell. They have a well-oiled platform and they have been upselling their own hosting and other service add-ons for years.

    I agree that pricing in certain gTLDs should have been higher initially. I agree that there needs to be a price protection process by ICANN for gTLDs (there isn’t such.) But I find it hypocritical of Registrars to claim they are doing all these charades to protect their own customers.

  9. Dan says:

    +1 on the hypocrisy. Gouge your customers and blame the registry won’t ultimately work.

  10. DomainGang says:

    Kosta – I stand corrected, these are the Uniregistry retail prices.

    The wholesale prices are even lower, and hence, present a bigger profit margin for Registrars selling Uniregistry gTLDs.

  11. I agree on the technical challenge this poses for registrars described by Jim May. First implementing new gTLDs, many with their own pricing models and own methods of transmitting the pricing, especially for premium domains (the systems still differ from registry to registry today). Many registrar systems were never built for this and many of the systems were originally built 10+ years ago. Now we introduce another complication, where a registrar needs to check the age of a domain to determine its price. Teach that to old billing systems…. sounds like fun that can tie up a development team & QA for a couple of months. This is not as simple as a few lines, as it affect the underlying systems.

    Let’s take billing systems used by hosting companies for example. Many of those have only one price per TLD. If you’re lucky, they also have a different price based on registration, renewal and transfer. But the systems expect this to be the same for all the domains in the TLD. Unfortunately that’s no longer the case and this it where it gets complicated to implement.

  12. DomainGang says:

    Frank – So dropping the ball due to technical challenges of any magnitude, appears to be the real issue here?

    Any Registrar – or Registry – that wants to be in this market, must ensure they are cooperating at the technical level as well.

    No doubt, some old school Registrars operate on spaghetti code and outdated programming principles. But put the blame of that decision on the Registry instead, and tag it as a means of protecting your customers’ best interests? I find that to be an easy excuse at minimum and rather dishonest to the market it addresses.

    But let’s see the opposite approach: Today’s fast development cycles, platforms and processes produce clean, sustainable code at many times the efficiency of aged systems.

    Perhaps, it’d be a great opportunity for those Registrars that dropped the ball in the face of challenge, to upgrade their systems overall – it’d benefit them in the long run.

  13. Andrew says:

    I’ve heard from registrars that it’s a pain to implement grandfathering pricing. Uniregistry’s letter to registrars about grandfathering basically said they could make the technical changes to grandfather the domains.

    That said, registrars have accepted Donuts’ grandfathering.

    I wonder if it has to do with Donuts’ scale vs. Uniregistry and the domains that are getting big price hikes. They are domains with very few registrations, anyway. So if you’re a registrar, why spend thousands of dollars of time/resources adjusting to grandfathering on domains that aren’t selling well, anyway?

  14. Dn Ebook says:

    I can’t handle the truth

  15. Tucows did kinda of the right thing. They stopped support of extensions with a high renewal increase. $100+. This had nothing to do with grandfathering which in my opinion a very serious matter and shows if you respect your customers or not.

    I have no idea what GoDaddy is doing. I doubt anyone over there does.

    Also it doesn’t make financial sense to make all these software changes to accommodate some crazy registries that have 10 different rules on how a domain name is priced and 10 other on how it is renewed. That together with the risk of everything going south in case of a bug.

  16. DomainGang says:

    Kosta – It’s not a secret OpenSRS has many reseller accounts. I would not be surprised if they dropped the ball because of inability or unwillingness to implement the necessary code changes and accommodate grandfathering. They had 6 months to do this, if not more.

    I’m sure they’d have the full support of Uniregistry with that. It’s convenient to point the figure instead, claim you’re doing it for the benefit of the customers, and drop these extensions. Very lame.

    No wonder OpenSRS removed their claim about Uniregistry “disrupting business” – it was a far-fetched argument to begin with.

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