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I just tried to buy one. Got an email saying I'd be invoiced on allocation of that domain to the registrar. WTF does that mean? How can they take my money if they don't even know they'll have the domain to sell?

I believe that, as a general policy, registrars refund your money if they don't actually manage to acquire the domain name on your behalf.

"on allocation" means if/when they acquire it themselves to assign to you. If that doesn't happen, you don't get invoiced.

webnames.ca says "If the domain cannot be registered on your behalf for any reason, there will be no cost to you."

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