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Premium .dev domain with Google costs $850 (twitter.com/emirkarsiyakali)
470 points by emir 58 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 441 comments



As you know, domain extensions like .dev and .app are owned by Google. Last year, I bought the http://forum.dev domain for one of our projects. When I tried to renew it this year, I was faced with a renewal price of $850 instead of the normal price of $12.

Since I looked at it in Turkish Lira, I thought at first that Google made a mistake when converting the currency, but it turns out that was not the case. Apparently, they are renewing generic domains like the one I own for $850 under the name Premium domain.

I could understand if I were to buy this domain from scratch, but I have been the owner of hundreds of domains for almost 20 years and I have never faced anything like this before. Once again, I realized that it is foolish to trust Google on any matter. Thank you, Google.


Hi. I work on Google Registry. forum.dev is and always has been a premium domain name (and you paid that same premium price at initial registration). We price some domain names higher than others to help prevent cybersquatting, so that desirable domain names remain available for legitimate registrants rather than being sold for extravagant sums on the after-market. We have never increased the price of a single domain name after registration in our entire decade of existence.

For another example of a premium domain name that is still available for registration (in case people here want to verify the user experience), perform a domain name search for money.dev at your registrar of choice. It will be clearly marked with its yearly premium price. You would have seen this same information when you initially registered forum.dev.


> We price some domain names higher than others to help prevent cybersquatting, so that desirable domain names remain available for legitimate registrants rather than being sold for extravagant sums on the after-market.

It's hard to take this seriously when $850/year is still way higher than other registrars charge for new domains. Are "legitimate registrants" supposed to be comforted that their extravagant sum is being paid on the primary market instead of the after market?


> It's hard to take this seriously when $850/year is still way higher than other registrars charge for new domains.

That's actually a great price for a good domain name. If the name is already registered by a squatter looking to profit off it, you're looking at five figures minimum. I think the mistake you're making here is you're thinking it would be $12 vs $850, but it's not; it would be 'already registered by a squatter within milliseconds of TLD launch years ago and listed on a resale site for 5 figures' vs $850.

And to be clear, premium prices are set at the registry (i.e. wholesale) level, not at the registrar (i.e. retail) level. That means that these names are premium at all registrars. Premium pricing is not unique to Google (either the registry or registrar); it's used by nearly all new gTLDs.


> it would be 'already registered by a squatter within milliseconds of TLD launch years ago

That's an absurd false dichotomy. Gmail doesn't charge me $850/year for an email address, but somehow they managed to avoid people squatting thousands of addresses and selling them on the after-market at an exorbitant markup, and Google doesn't charge me $850/year to search things, and yet if I try to use `curl` to send a single search request it blocks it, but the Google domains team somehow doesn't think that it would have been possible to stop people from squatting thousands of domains "within milliseconds of TLD launch"?

Sorry, it's way more believable to me that this decision was made out of greed rather than a lack of imagination. Overcharging is may defensible position from a business perspective or even an ease of engineering perspective, but let's not pretend this decision was somehow made purely for the benefit of customers.


When .app was launched we saw a sustained 1,000 QPS of domain registrations through the first minute. We literally are not allowed by ICANN to prevent any valid registrations, as we must treat all registrars and registrants equally. Also, how would you do such a thing anyway? How do you possibly know what is a squatter and what is a 'valid' registration when you have basically no information to work off of? And do you really want a world where some domain name registrations are arbitrarily rejected like that? Better to have the situation where if it's available, and you can pay for it, it's yours.


Social Credit by Google.

Surely the next not-sure it's April fools not-sure it's real gApp


> Gmail doesn't charge me $850/year for an email address, but somehow they managed to avoid people squatting thousands of addresses and selling them on the after-market at an exorbitant markup,

They don’t charge you for Gmail addresses, yes this is true, but there is definitely a thriving aftermarket for people squatting on desirable “OG” email addresses and user names, just as an example -> https://www.playerup.com/accounts/gmailogusername/

Clearly $850/yr is a price people are willing to pay, since there are plenty of great premium names unavailable at these TLDs. Greed or not, people are complaining here about the fact they own hundreds of other names and don’t see these kind of prices, but to me the economics seem pretty straight forward. They just happened to price these domains better than other registrars in my opinion…


That website is surely for spam purposes?

There's definitely an aftermarket for emails I don't disagree, and in some parts of the world of you have a nice phone number you will be called asking to buy it frequently.

In countries where sanctions prevent access you can buy apple, Google, PSN etc accounts on scratch cards. Might be handy for privacy actually but not sure how effective that is or if sign up via VPN just as easy.


Squatters absolutely do. Why do you think Discord and Blizzard provide numbers at the end of your username? It's to provide uniqueness.

Basically every service that gets any traction on the internet whatsoever has a bunch of people running in and getting the tiny or interesting or unique usernames as fast as possible.


Many services like Gmail and Twitter to name just two prevent names to be shorter than X chars.

Releasing usernames is bad for impersonation, so we are stuck.


Gmail has a state-of-the-art abuse prevention system to precisely avoid account reselling, that leads to hijacking and SPAM.

Domain parking has been and still is a business model for so many people.


Well it depends on how long you own the domain for. A one time 5 figure price, then $12 each year after that will be cheaper than $850/year if you keep the domain for decades.


It sounds like OP didn't spot that this was a premium domain and purchased it at a discount.

He says he has 100s of domains so presumably he's savvy to this and theres a dark pattern at play.

That or he's careless and someone has not realised many domains are cheap in the first 1-3 years then priced ludicrously.


It doesn't help that we have someone purportedly from Google trying to gaslight OP and us into thinking there's no way he paid $12 for the first year.


Okay he posted a receipt for the transaction and it was hundreds of dollars. I think they guy doesn't understand exchange rates.

The amount he paid for 1 year is worth about $120 today and then he's somehow dropped an order of magnitude AND forgot about the punishing inflation the Lira has seen.

I think I'd suggest OP is at fault.


Don't forget the time-value of money though. Not paying $XXXX now is worth a lot more than not paying $XXXX decades in the future.


> And to be clear, premium prices are set at the registry (i.e. wholesale) level, not at the registrar (i.e. retail) level. That means that these names are premium at all registrars. Premium pricing is not unique to Google (either the registry or registrar); it's used by nearly all new gTLDs.

Does that money go to the registrar?


The registrar earns the delta between their retail price that they charge the end user and our wholesale price that we charge registrars.


Only a sucker would pay 850 a year to a company that can invent any tld.


How is this any different than any other digital asset? They are all, in one way or another, "created out of thin air."


.sucks charges $2499 a year for premium domains.


Yes, well that TLD is basically an extortion scheme. "Buy this domains in this tld before someone else does and uses it to post disparaging content about your brand".


.art has the same model. Normal vs. Premium.


> and you paid that same premium price at initial registration

He shared the invoice: https://twitter.com/emirkarsiyakali/status/16014366748564643...

According to that, he paid 4360TRY last year ($300), and now asked to pay 13040TRY ($850). You can’t even make up the difference with the exchange rate changes.


The Turkish lira is currently experiencing ~85% year-on-year inflation. Our domains' prices are denominated in US dollars, not Turkish lira. This problem looks to be caused by currency headwinds. At the time of initial registration, the amount of Turkish lira paid would have been worth a lot more than it is now.

Also, 13040 TRY is worth US$700 at the current exchange rate, not US$850. That's actually a slight discount on the correct exchange rate, as another available domain name in the same pricing tier (e.g. 6b.dev) is showing as costing US$720/yr. So by paying in Turkish lira it looks like they're currently getting a discount of around US$20/yr, presumably because the prices displayed in Turkish are lagging the real exchange rate.


No, the exchange rate on Dec 6, 2021 was 13.67. Not even close.

EDIT: You edited your comment which made mine lose context. You had claimed something like “he had paid equivalent of $850 last year”. That’s provably not the case here.

https://www.google.com/search?q=what%27s+usd+try+rate+in+dec...


I'll have to defer to the registrar team then, as we're getting outside the purview of anything having to do with the registry. I feel that the volatile exchange rate with high sustained inflation might have something to do with it though; maybe he got a too-good exchange rate at time of initial registration and now they're updating exchange rates more frequently? Not for me to know.


The Turkish lira has lost value, but it is not a matter of fluctuation as you mentioned. I already shared the links to the exchange rates of the relevant day above. You can also verify the previous and next days yourself. We are talking about a number that is three times higher than on that day, and twice as high as today.

I also contacted another domain registration service to verify this price. They said that the domain transfer fee is $843 and that they have nothing to do with it, the pricing is determined by registrar(Google in this case).

Attached: https://twitter.com/EmirKarsiyakali/status/16014456975341649...

Even while writing this comment, they also responded from their own Twitter: https://twitter.com/Namecheap/status/1601447984775962625


The exchange rate is not exact-on day. It's not exact-on-month even. I switched just a couple domain names from USD to TRY and calculated the exchange rate and e.g. $180 domains go for TRY 3200 which implies USD/TRY 17.78 -- last seen in July.

If the price of forum.dev is indeed $850 then the attached TRY 13040 invoice implies USD/TRY 15.34 which was last seen in May. The $12 domains go for TRY 75 which implies USD/TRY is 6.25, last seen in 2020.

It looks to me that the prices in TRY are simply set by hand and not refreshed that often. OP got a nice deal via such manually set price in 2021 and that's all that is going on here.

Disclaimer: I work at Google but I have absolutely nothing to do with domains or forex rates.


Yes but that's plausible only if they had set the rate in 2018 and had never refreshed it for more than two years. "Not exact-on day" is a bit stretch to explain an almost a three year difference, isn't it?


That kind of does seem to be what actually happened, though.


> They said that the domain transfer fee is $843 and that they have nothing to do with it, the pricing is determined by registrar(Google in this case).

The wholesale price is determined by the registry (Google), but the retail price will include markup from the registrar (Namecheap, Porkbun, Google). In the case of .dev Google runs the registry and acts as a registrar. As for registrars, that comparable (6b.dev) is $709 at Porkbun, $720 at Google, and $843 at Namecheap.

Namecheap is marking it up more than the other registrars.

I wonder if your registration last year included any kind of first year discount. This is the first time I've seen someone show an actual receipt for this type of complaint. I estimated the pricing at about $315USD vs $700USD. That's enough of an increase that I'm really curious to know what happened.


For the exchange rate fluctuation to explain this, USDTRY had to hit 5.1 or so which hadn’t happened since 2018. There was no way the rate hit 5.1 from 13.67 in a day.

https://www.google.com/search?q=usd+try&client=safari&hl=en-...


I never really thought about it before, but everything on Google Domains is shown in my local currency (CAD) and I'm fairly sure I get billed in local currency. It's nice having everything in my local currency, but they don't do a good job of making it clear the underlying pricing is USD.

I think this person's case is a good example of where that can be problematic. Even if they had paid the correct price originally, they'd be seeing a 35% price increase because of the exchange rate. It's not unreasonable for them to have assumed the original purchase and renewals were always going to be in their local currency without fluctuation due to foreign exchange rates.

I skimmed ICANN's registrar accreditation agreement for info about pricing and it basically says registrars can price domains however they want. The registry agreement has pricing related limitations, so I think the intent is to ensure registries don't engage in abusive pricing with the assumption that competition will keep the registrars honest because registrants can transfer their domain to a new registrar if they're being mistreated.

That leaves this person with no recourse. The registrar (in my opinion) undercharged them and didn't do a good job of communicating the true ongoing cost of the domain. Transferring to a competing registrar doesn't help because the registry pricing for the domain is going to be around $700 USD while the registrant's expectations were set at TRY4360 ($230 USD today).

There aren't any great options to make it right either. The registry can't start discounting domains to fix mistakes made by a registrar, the registrar can't take a loss of $470 / year (at current exchange rates, potentially forever), and the registrant shouldn't have to pay $700 USD / year for a domain they thought was TRY4360 ($230 USD today). To make it worse, the registrant's expectations didn't get reevaluated until the bill for renewal came due and if they've spent a year developing on the domain it feels like extortion (to them).

It's also not fair to expect the registrant to realize they're underpaying. Price differences between registrars are enough for people to assume a low price is the result of finding a registrar with better pricing.

Google Domains isn't the only registrar that gives the impression domains are priced in local currency either. Gandi bills me in CAD and doesn't mention USD when I'm buying domains. Namecheap shows me prices in CAD, but bills in USD and it's not clear USD is the real price rather than simply being the billing currency.

Forget you know the registry sets prices in USD and go pretend to register 6b.dev on Google Domains. Select a foreign currency and see if you can figure out the price will fluctuate based on the exchange rate for USD. I'm not sure where the OP got the idea renewal would only be $12 rather than the TRY4360 they paid originally. There's nothing that left me with that impression.


As usual the best, most informative comments come in long after the sound and fury of the initial discussion.

This is a tricky issue to solve. It's not like we can region-lock domains to a specific country, like how Steam is able to use price discrimination to sell the same game for different prices in different currencies. The real price is indeed denominated in USD and billed to registrars in USD, and these prices have always remained constant for all registered domains on all of our TLDs (so indeed the real price is steadily going down over time thanks to inflation, particularly over the past year). Any other price displayed in a different currency by a registrar is performing currency conversion and is presumably subject to change in the future along with the exchange rates.

I agree with you, it doesn't seem like registrars are communicating this well. Prices of other goods (e.g. luxury watches) do also change multiple times per year to reflect changes in underlying exchange rates, but crucially, what you're getting there is a one-time purchase, and you know up front the only price you'll ever be paying for it. Domains, by contrast, are essentially multi-year subscriptions, and the price of subsequent years is liable to change both as the registrar themselves adjust pricing and as underlying currency exchange rates shift as well. I think the registrars broadly have looked at this issue and decided it would be too complicated to display the underlying USD price to registrants, so better to hide it and just display the price in the local currency?


> I think the registrars broadly have looked at this issue and decided it would be too complicated to display the underlying USD price to registrants, so better to hide it and just display the price in the local currency?

That would make sense to me. I wouldn't even be surprised if some registrants are unable to pay in USD or if they get charged exorbitant fees for foreign exchange.

Even if the registrars added a warning during checkout with a link to an explanation of how it works, I bet very few people would read it. They'd probably have the same number of upset customers and the complaint would shift to registrars hiding a complex pricing scheme in the fine print.

My hunch is the OP is an extreme outlier and the issue happens so infrequently that the complexity of explaining it up front isn't worth it. In the past ~5 years this is the first time I've seen someone with a receipt and a legitimate complaint.

I think some of the responsibility can fall on the OP too. They say they've registered hundreds of domains, so it's not unreasonable to think they should be spending some time learning what rights they have as a registrant, how disputes are resolved, how long term pricing works, etc., especially if they're registering premium domains.


> That would make sense to me. I wouldn't even be surprised if some registrants are unable to pay in USD or if they get charged exorbitant fees for foreign exchange.

To clarify, I wasn't suggesting that the registrants in foreign countries pay in USD and potentially pay forex fees, merely that the underlying USD price be exposed to them so they are aware of what the future renewal price will look like as the exchange rate shifts. They'd still always be paying in local currency.


The amount of Turkish lira paid more than it is now but it's not $850. Here is the link you can get info about rates 6th of December: https://www.exchangerates.org.uk/USD-TRY-06_12_2021-exchange....


4360 TRY is equal to $313 USD using the conversion rate from 1 year ago.


you don't get to hide behind currency fluctation. as a customer he has all the right to be outraged. it's not like production costs had raised or whatever, google has chosen to put that price on that invoice when it could have chosen any other price or even to keep the old price


You're trying way too fucking hard. Give the guy a break.


This is the same crap allocation policy you had during the presale.

Money is maybe a sufficient discriminator, but it is not a good one. Money is very unequally distributed around the world and this basically presumes that the only legitimate use of such a domain could be in an enterprise in a first world country. Or someone rich enough to not be price sensitive at all.

Fun fact, I reserved tty0.dev as a "vanity domain" during the presale, but someone decided to pay $300 more for the joke than me. And that domain still doesn't do anything "useful".


There's no such concept of "reserving" domain names in a pre-sale. Either you own it, someone else owns it, or it doesn't yet exist and anyone could own it. I think you got confused by a registrar's "preorder" language, by that was never a guarantee; it was just their attempt to secure it for you when it became available. There was no guarantee.


I'm aware it's on a registrar level.

I just thought that it was a misguided allocation policy. Someone ended up buying tty0.dev at the $300 price point and uses it for... a fake `ls` output. This registrant wasn't more or less legitimate than any other. They just had more disposable income to spend on vanity.


As a third world resident, I don’t see any solutions to this problem. You can’t give discounts, as that will enable arbitrage.


Hello. I am happy that I caught the attention of someone from the Google team. Let's do it this way. I shared the invoice in the link. You are asking me to pay three times that amount today. Is this normal? To be honest, I am not familiar with the annual payment you mentioned. I expected to pay the price I paid the first year, and then continue with the normal -$12- renewal price. Is there a way to solve this confusion? Could you talk to the team on my behalf? This pricing is different from what I am used to with other tlds, but at least I am willing to pay the price I paid the first year.

Last year's invoice and Google Domain dashboard screenshots: https://twitter.com/EmirKarsiyakali/status/16014366748564643...


Renewal prices are also much higher on premium domains. It's actually the contrary, they're often sold for cheaper through some discounts and the price for the second year is the actual price.

I got a premium domain for $20 and paying $260 every year to renew it (but I knew it'd happen).


No, I didn't have a discount. Google employee proved me right about that first-year fee. I paid the normal price for this domain. But, now, they want me to pay 2X for renewing.


Why do you claim that renewal price is $12? How did you come up with that number?


Can you comment on a reply below that claims there was promotional pricing in 2019 at launch?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33929132


I think they're referring to the Early Access Program, which was a one-time pre-launch Dutch auction in advance of general availability. Note that that is orthogonal to a domain being premium or not. During the last day of EAP, you might have seen the price of a non-premium domain be something like $130+12/yr. Whereas for a ~$70/yr premium domain, it'd have been something like $130+70/yr.

Regardless, forum.dev was registered in 2021 (you can confirm via WHOIS), which was long after the Early Access Program for .dev ended in 2019.


You stated here that they paid $850 to initially register the domain name.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33929354

Do you have proof of the initial price paid for registration or is this in some part speculation?


According to https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33929472 they checked in their system that the domain was billed as premium upon initial registration.


Around here Premium usually means "cheaply brewed with adjunct grains."

What's so premium about a domain? You're just pretending it has artificial scarcity and desirability. It's one step removed from NFTs in terms of fake value.


There's real scarcity. There are only so many five letter words with a strong relevance to the internet, and only so many tlds. Only one entity can control example.org at a time, so there you go.

Would I pay for a premium domain name? Probably not. They might make sense for some uses though. I'd rather them be available at a public price than through someone who bought as many five letter words as they could and then sells them privately.


Hi, offtopic question: I tried to register a .app domain on namecheap which suddenly became unavailable once I tried to add it to cart and is still unavailable. It was a strange coincidence that someone would buy that domain name at the exact same time as me, but Google Registry also says it's no longer unavailable, so I wanted to know who bought it. The weird thing is the Google Registry WHOIS page says "Domain not found" for the 3rd day in a row, which I find bizarre - the domain name is not available but also not registered. Any thoughts on what might be happening?

(I am omitting the actual name because HN is a public forum)


If you send me the domain name in question privately (use my HN username here @gmail.com), I can dig into it further. I suspect it's either an issue with the domain name registrar, in which case you should try out some others, or it's a case where the name is reserved and is not available for registration by anyone. If it is reserved I can find that out very easily. Note that it would not have been reserved as a result of a domain name search; it would have been reserved years ago, and perhaps the registrar you attempted to use didn't handle it well.

EDIT: The user reached out to me privately and the domain name in question is indeed reserved (because it is a Google trademark), and has never been available for registration. Looks like the registrar did not correctly display it as unavailable for registration.


Thank you! I emailed you from my @proton.me email (in case it went to spam).


Pre-reserving domains that have been searched is a common business practice. Some domain brokers implement this at scale IIRC.

Unethical & Predatory? Sure, but it's not illegal.


GoDaddy did this. Good domains registrars don't.


They didn’t claim it was illegal? It makes it less economical for someone to hold a domain they aren’t planning to use for 20 years. The squatting just gets more expensive.

Yes it’s a common business practice. Doesn’t mean google has to encourage that industry.


I was highlighting that pre-reserving domains is predatory and unethical.

IIRC the domains that are reserved by registrars are usually moved into a temporary hold status with the TLD, so the registrar isn't paying to register the domain, they are just getting the exclusive option to buy said domain for a number of weeks or months. Much cheaper way to squat on domains than actually buying them!


This is not correct. Only registries can reserve domains. If a registrar "reserved" a domain, they'd have to have bought it from the registry.


At least in the past there were cases where some registrars automatically registered the domain if someone searched for it, it may have been in cases where their algorithm deemed the name somewhat premium. They would then essentially hold it hostage for some time, but would then cancel it during the refund period. AGP Limits policy (https://icannwiki.org/Add_Grace_Period) was created to combat that (and some other issues with refunds).


This is called "front-running" by the domain name registrar and it is a big no-no. Fortunately it's not what happened here though.


That's what I assumed simfree was talking about.


I just love the concept of a “premium” database entry. Domain registries are such a goddamn rent seeking middleman scam.


It's to stop squatters from buying 10000 common word domain names and trying to sell them for crazy amounts.


... by letting the registry sell them for crazy amounts instead, and letting them continue to overcharge the owner on an ongoing basis.


Yes? Generally owners of those huge popular simple word domain names will be making far more than $850/year from them, if they actually put a modicum of effort into making the site useful. That's better than someone snatching up thousands of domain names and then holding them hostage with contentless park pages until someone coughs up $X00,000 or more.


> Generally owners of those huge popular simple word domain names will be making far more than $850/year from them

This might have been true in the past, but it isn't true anymore, especially not under new gTLDs. Nobody goes around typing in <word>.<tld> domains out of curiosity anymore, and advertisers don't pay anywhere near as much as they used to for impressions on domain parking pages. The vast majority of premium domain pricing is driven by pure greed.


Try something like Newsy

https://newsy.co

Which is a modern take on domain parking.


So, following the logic, the NYC should charge crazy extra tax on properties to 10x the prices to make the market, hm, more affordable?


I live in NYC and the city does indeed charge higher property tax on more valuable properties, so I'm not exactly sure what point you think you're making here? Charging property tax proportional to the value of the property is common across basically the entire world (as far as I'm aware).


I know. I'm just wondering if they increase the tax by 80x for those properties (like $12 -> $850), do you think it will make the overall market better somehow?


If people were buying properties, and leaving them desolate and unused for long periods of time in the hopes of cashing out one day later, then yes absolutely.


That's why I mentioned NYC. Because people say it's a problem there, i.e, a lot of properties are just bought and not occupied.


What happens in NYC is actually the opposite of laws that discourage squatting - the tax laws, depreciation schedules, and other financial products like property value estimation actually encourage building owners to pursue unoccupied-ness in many cases.


Clearly it’s become much more than just that.


i HaVE nO cHoIcE bUt To ReNt SeEk MySeLf.


An extremely low quality, low effort meme comment more appropriate for reddit, but I'll respond earnestly in any case.

It's not rent seeking, which should be clear because the premium domains have a fixed price schedule that is far lower than what domain scalpers would charge, instead of a variable charge based on what they think they could get away with. Even at $850/yr, you can probably renew premium domains for multiple human lifespans before you end up paying as much as the scalpers might ask for certain domains. Instead of rent seeking, it is priced such that scalpers can't afford to squat on thousands of common word/phrase domains.


The comment deserved half the effort I put into it, and this one deserves a quarter of the effort I’m putting into it.

No one forces anyone to pay a domain squatter. This is literally a “problem” that only exists in people’s heads.


And no one forces anyone to buy a .dev domain. So what's the issue?


Now you get it.


The same premium domains are still squatted and sold for thousands. Absolutely nothing changed for the end users, but now Google takes a piece of the cake. Admit it.


Yep it’s nonsense and a complete racket. It should just be first come first serve, for the initial registration and for lapsed renewals. Like it used to be (forever ago, but still).


Worked at a registrar before. This is the standard for how a lot of registries work.

The only thing that doesn’t seem great is that in the invoice shared by OP, the domain isn’t designated clearly as a premium.


This is straight up rent seeking behavior, and despicable.


Aaaaand the truth comes out.


The story is actually more nuanced than your knee-jerk: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33928717


That post links to a query for a non-premium domain name. Of course forum.dev is more valuable than asdfggg.dev. If you query a premium domain name that is available for registration (e.g. money.dev), you'll see that the listed price is higher than $12/yr.


The "more" is surely whether they're premium or not, which is what Op was responding to.


I was bitten by this too. Why doesn't your team include the renewal price for domains in the 30-day autorenew notices? This whole class of problem would disappear if you did.


To be clear, I work on Google Registry, not Google Domains. I don't particularly know anything about Google Domains other than basic generic information that applies to all domain name registrars. I can't even say that I know what most parts of the Google Domains UI even look like, let alone the 'why' behind them.


The renewal fee is on the domain management panel.


Not the question. Why is the information behind several clicks in a settings panel and not in the renewal notice?


Because they are embarrassed about the renewal price, of course. ;-)


No you price some domains higher because you can and you want to make more money.


This is why I always purchase my domains for ten years up front, and top it up to ten again each year after.

This way if the renewal fee increases beyond what I’m willing to pay after I’ve already got infrastructure running on the domain, I have a whole decade to migrate to a better (cheaper) name.

$120 is a larger investment than $12 which means I buy fewer domains overall, but the stability benefits are worth it for me.


I do the same for anything I consider important, but max out at 9 years. If you want to transfer to another registrar you need to be able to add 1 year. That means transferring a domain that has over 9 years remaining can fail because of the 10 year max. If you get in a dispute with your current registrar you'll want to be able to transfer to another one without waiting to get under the 9 year mark.


That’s a great tip!


This is a really good idea. Never thought of it via the cost high now so think well before buying angle. I own more 100+ domains and every year, I had to let go because they no longer sound cool.

I didn't realize registrars let you buy for 10 years. The best I have seen are discounted pricing for 2-years.


A lot of registrars will let you "renew" at any time, even months/years before the expiration date (and "renewing" a domain basically just means adding a year).


> I didn't realize registrars let you buy for 10 years. The best I have seen are discounted pricing for 2-years.

I only have experience with Namecheap. They typically only offer discounted pricing for the first year, but you can pre-purchase renewals at the full price for several years (maybe up to 10, haven’t looked recently)


Even for bargain prices I’m glad I don’t own 100 domains! That’s probably more than I spend on delivery fees for tangible goods in a year.


LOL! Early on I had some unexpected luck selling some of my domains for low-ish thousand of dollars. That encouraged me to kinda just buy domains when I have an idea or stumble on a thing that I believe I might do some day or let someone do some day.

For example, I sold hackathon.co for good money (I even gave them the GSuite at that time). I also sold html5.in to Microsoft sub $10,000 (via a broker, unfortunately, which I realized way later) still for a pretty good sum. I have also sold quite a few more for low $100s.

And I donated thus.org to a Texas university for zero dollar and gave them the GSuite too. I'm happy that an educational institute is using it and the domain is alive.

I own nsfw.in, which was "a link shortener to warn you that it might not be Safe before opening". I got lazy and is on sale and I keep getting regular emails/contacts to buy it.


Very cool, you sound like a resourceful person!


>"This is why I always purchase my domains for ten years up front, and top it up to ten again each year after."

I do exactly the same. I also always stick to com. I leave "coolness" factor to other parts of the domain.


I find only ".com" names cool.

All other are cheap, junk or designed to extort.


I really like my .net names, but since the recent drama... I think I just hate dns in general.


What recent drama, if you don’t mind?


ICANN control moving to a different body, but I was thinking of the .org stuff a few years ago... but after looking it up it seems ICANN actually did the right thing on that one so... I'm not sure what I was referencing.


I think the coolest TLDs are .edu, .org, .gov, and .com, in that order, because that’s ordered by likelihood the content (not design) will be good, knowing nothing else about the website.


The coolest TLD is .ninja 'cause ninjas are cool.

Or maybe .ice, 'cause that's cool as ice.


The coolest is absolutely .cool


Saying that you're cool isn't cool.


and .net


Nah, .net and .org are the coolest.


name.info/.dev and the like are pretty cool for personal pages though. People always design them really well because it's about them personally.


This same reason is why they are perfect for extortion. It’s personal so you will be emotionally motivated to fork over $850 on renewal. Plus if you’re a developer, you make good money, so they know you’re good for it.


> Plus if you’re a developer, you make good money

...which is absolutely a stereotype born of the Silicon Valley bubble, and not actually true in practice.

The vast majority of developers do not work in Silicon Valley, nor for FAANGs (or whatever the abbreviation is nowadays), and do not make several hundred thousand a year or have highly valuable tech stock options.


So you’re a developer making bad money?


I'm a developer making a decent but not extravagant living in a low-cost-of-living area, who's sick of the assumption that every developer is somehow rolling in disposable income.


I know recruiters that can get you a remote job making more than what you make now, guaranteed. And then I will get a $5k finders fee bonus.


I...might actually be interested in that. Less for the money (though that's always an enticement) than for the full remote, which I've been planning to push for in the very near future.


Supposedly they do it to discourage domain squatters, which makes some sense, because every .com or .net that's even remotely usable is held by some squatter and they would rather hold the domain for decades than sell it for anything less than thousands.


that's cute, not like they cant hit you with extra "unforeseen" charge and hold domain for ransom until you pay up, or just drop you as a customer based on some arbitrary reason, refunding full 10 years and putting domain for an auction

you have just as much real control over domain as you have over entire DNS — zilch and a half — it all holds on trust and good faith, until greed comes into play


Is this for real and you are not kidding? Can you please share examples/incidents?


namecheap dropped entire population of russia and belorussia as customers

https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/1/22956581/russia-ukraine-na...

sure, an extraordinary example, but what stops anyone from wording their ToS ever so slightly vague, that any domain is held by a shoestring


They weren't holding the domains hostage, though, right? You can find any other registrar willing to have you and transfer your domain from Namecheap to them (and I think Namecheap would get in trouble with ICANN if this weren't the case). So customers are mostly just inconvenienced a little.


So long as you provide ample time to transition and sound reasoning, firing customers you can't effectively service is the best thing to do.


Check out section 2.10(c) of the registry agreement for .dev [1]. If you registered the domain when it was a non-premium domain, and you haven't agreed to a price increase, you might have a valid complaint with ICANN.

> The parties acknowledge that the purpose of this Section 2.10(c) is to prohibit abusive and/or discriminatory Renewal Pricing practices imposed by Registry Operator without the written consent of the applicable registrant at the time of the initial registration of the domain and this Section 2.10(c) will be interpreted broadly to prohibit such practices.

I've been watching for it to happen to someone for years because I own a domain that would be at risk of getting reclassified as premium if it were allowed. I've been monitoring the same word as my domain on 300+ TLDs for about 2 years. I've never seen one get reclassified as premium without being dropped first.

Are you positive yours wasn't classified as premium with a huge discount for the first year?

I think the new TLDs would do much better if they'd quit with the pricing games and strengthen registrant rights instead. As a registrant, I want predictability and minimal risk when I register a domain. The only way to get that right now is to stick with .com AFAIK. It's too bad because I'm a huge fan of using 'somecompany.tech' plus 'somecompanytech.com', but, in my opinion, most of the new TLDs are too risky to depend on.

I'm really interested in any updates you would have because I always considered .app and .dev to be "safe" domains in the sense that I thought Google would always have transparent, uniform, predictable pricing without any exorbitant increases.

1. https://itp.cdn.icann.org/en/files/registry-agreements/dev/d...


> Once again, I realized that it is foolish to trust Google on any matter. Thank you, Google.

Yep, that is a great takeaway. Another important example is GCP pricing, and their habit of killing off products and services as fast as they build them.

What Google is doing or charging today is not a reliable indicator of what they will be doing or charging tomorrow. AWS may have its own problems, but at least they don't do much bait-and-switch pricing, and they tend to support services for a while after they launch them.


Except that OP is full of it.


Yes, marking domains as "Premium" is very common, it's not just Google that does it.

I registered a .sbs domain for a couple dollars the first year, and they want $200-300/yr from me now.


Can you transfer it to a less greedy registrar? Or is it always a TLD-wide issue?

This is highway robbery.. maybe even worse than being robbed.

Imagine if your mobile phone plan rate could vary on a floating basis year by year depending on how "premium" the carrier decides your number is. Gross.


Chinese mobile carriers used to (and may still) do exactly this. Numbers with multiple 8’s were more valuable because 8 is lucky, whereas a single 4 (a homophone for “death”) meant a reasonable discount.


It's also a thing with US-based numbers, e.g. repeating digits. However, the pricing not variable year over year, and may even be only a one-time fee if at all. Once you are assigned the number, it's yours and the annual reservation price doesn't change significantly.

This instance is straight up Google acting in bad faith with the bait and switch. Are they really that desperate to make a few extra bucks? What PM decided this was a good idea?

Day by day, Big-G is burning every ounce of public goodwill they ever had, speedily on their way to sinking down to FB Meta territory.


I'm pretty sure it's TLD-wide basically all/most of the time.


It's usually a choose your own frontend registrar for the TLD. Whether that is Gandi, Namecheap, Google Domains, Cloudflare, etc.

But the TLDs fix the price underneath, registrars are just resellers.


One can argue scalpers expecting 3000 for a domain means the domain is premium-enough to be worth that renewal.


ICANN could have just prohibited registrars from doing this, but it seems like the neo-TLD thing is just a cash grab for them so they probably don't mind.


I don’t exactly like it, but isn’t it an effective measure to reduce scalping? So many .com domains are owned by entities who bought piles of dictionary words just to slap them on a SEO ads page, only willing to part with them for exorbitant prices. What better means are there to fight these people who insert themselves into the internet namespace to siphon money while providing zero value?


Unless the money goes to help the Internet somehow, it is still going to scalpers, but only a few billionaires instead of anyone who is willing to speculate.


Here’s another perspective. We own voltive.com. It cost us $28k. “Us” is me and my partner, small business owners with families and bills, working to build something of value in the world. We bought the domain from someone who had never used it for anything. Is it just that some guy fleeced us for $28k by squatting on that domain for 20 years at $12/year when we were actually trying to do something productive with the name? I certainly don’t think so.


Out of curiosity, why pay so much for the domain name? Could you not have chosen a name that had an open .com domain?

Aldo, if this was your trademark before buying the domain, are you sure you couldn't have used the ICANN trademark squatting process to seize it? That would have only cost about $1500. Some people look for trademark registrations to preemptively buy the .com domain (and then sell it back to you for $10,000+), but the ICANN specifically has a process in place to prevent this kind of extortion.


We were deciding on a business name at the time, so we didn’t already own the trademark. Based on other similar names that we were considering, voltive.com should probably have been under $10k, but the seller absolutely refused to budge (why not, carrying cost is only $12/year after all).

But getting a decent name is hard. We wanted something that was two syllables, not trademarked (trademarks are important when selling on Amazon, as we do), easy to spell if you hear it said, had a toll free phone number available (we have 888-VOLTIVE). That narrows things considerably.


Maybe HN can pool together to form a non-scalping, dev-friendly TLD.


Why does it even have to be a TLD? You have have a subdomain of an existing TLD. Kind of like the dynamic DNS services that give you your-custom-name.foo.example.com.


I would rather pay a once off high price to acquire a domain than randomly have a domain I have owned for some time get marked as premium and now the price is high every year and I can’t move it around anymore either.


Predatory, abusive price increases are forbidden by section 2.10(c) of the baseline registry agreement. It applies to pretty much all of the new gTLDs. It's no different for .sbs [1].

> The parties acknowledge that the purpose of this Section 2.10(c) is to prohibit abusive and/or discriminatory Renewal Pricing practices imposed by Registry Operator without the written consent of the applicable registrant at the time of the initial registration of the domain and this Section 2.10(c) will be interpreted broadly to prohibit such practices.

From what I've seen, people typically tend to be confused about what they bought when you see threads like this. In the past several years I've never seen anyone produce documentation or screenshots that show they registered a non-premium domain that was reclassified as premium while they had it registered.

1. https://itp.cdn.icann.org/en/files/registry-agreements/sbs/s...


My lastname.sbs was a dollar or two for 1st year. $200 2nd year. Understandable, but still its bad. Good thing I didn't use it for something big, being lazy paid.


I hate the practice, it’s scummy behaviour.

One of my domains got hit by it and now I can’t even move it because it’s market as premium.


I've never heard of .sbs. What does it mean? In junior high after P.E. class we would joke that we had SBS - sweaty ball syndrome - that acronym has always stuck with my friends.


"Special Broadcasting Service", belongs to the "Special Broadcasting Service Corporation"


Hah. Wow. At this point I feel like we should just do away with new TLDs altogether and let anyone register any domain with any ending they want, if it's available. The idea that you can buy a TLD and then dole out domains if you have enough capital just seems antithetical to the ideal of an open internet. Unless you're a country, I guess.


As someone who is all in on .app and .dev, wtf. I build a brand using these domain names and Google is going to sell them to the highest bidder??


You bought a short-term lease on the domain names.


Why should any TLDs at all, like .dev and .app, be owned by Google?


They shouldn’t be owned by any or even exist at all. The entire new TLD ecosystem was a disgusting cash grab.


Not sure about Should but, with enough money you can make your own TLD. G "just" paid some big bucks to "own" them.


This is pretty low behavior. I've registered a few .dev names over the years, I'll let them lapse. I'll stick to .com.


What did you pay for the first year? $12 or $850?


They paid $850 for the first year.


To clarify, they paid a premium price for the first year. Had they been paying in USD it would be the same initial price as the renewal price, but apparently they're paying in Turkish lira so exchange rate changes come into play. What I know for sure is that, from the registry side, the wholesale USD-denominated premium price has remained consistent over the length of the registration.


Please don't call TLDs domain extensions.


Actually « extension » is more specific than TLD. .co.uk is a sold extension but it’s not a TLD, even though it works as what we usually call a TLD.


Maybe if you said "more general", but TLD is definitely "more specific" (which is why co.uk is not considered a TLD).

Referring to TLDs as extensions is a telltale sign of someone who is semi-technically literate enough to have heard of file extensions but not enough to know why it's incorrect when talking about domains, nor that it outs them by making them sound silly.


> domain extensions like .dev and .app are owned by Google

Why are domain extensions like .dev and .app owned by Google?


Because ICANN will give a gTLD to anyone who pays them enough.


Any gTLD whatsoever owned by some for profit corporation is not acceptable.



That is not acceptable.


.com has been run by Verisign since before the gTLD nonsense


.com is however not owned by Verisign. They can't just set arbitrary prices without ICANN approval.


ICANN allows anyone to create a domain. You need to pay a bunch of fees to register it and service it but it is not that much. In this case I believe Google created these domains for internal tools and they have owned them ever since.


You also need a time machine as they're not currently accepting applications.


according to tld-list you can renew .dev domains on porkbun for $10.87.


There are price tiers for different domains. If a domain has been classified in a premium tier, then its create and/or renew price is significantly higher.

Price tiers are generally controlled by the registry (Google Registry, in this case.)

This is going to happen to .tv too: sometime in January 2023 GoDaddy Registry, which just took over the .tv tld from Verisign, is adding premium price tiers when no such tiering had already existed.


Isn't .tv a country code TLD?


Yes, a registry just manages TLDs. The registry Verisign, for example, manages .com, but it's not the owner.

In this case, Tuvalu owns .tv and they contracted with GoDaddy Registry to manage it [0].

It can be confusing because the lines are blurring. For example, Google has considerable vertical integration: they operate a registry, a registrar, and they own a few TLDs too.

[0] https://registry.godaddy/blog/dottv-contract-signing-release


Oh, I see, it was a deal with the Tuvalu government. For some reason I misread it like they bypassed the country's authority somehow.


Bet you can’t move premium domains there.


You can move premium domains there, you'll just pay the appropriate price for them.


Google currently says .dev domains are $12 per year with no fine print about renewals.

https://domains.google.com/registrar/search?searchTerm=asdfg...

I think there's more to the story here.


They classify some domains as "premium" and raise the price to make squatting (and ownership) more painful.


the "more" is that it depends on the actual term.

For example, setting.dev is $180/yr https://domains.google.com/registrar/search?searchTerm=setti...

It is likely that there was no premium pricing in the beginning. It was established after the initial lease


> It is likely that there was no premium pricing in the beginning. It was established after the initial lease

The premium pricing was there in the beginning. We have never increased the price of a single domain name after it was initially registered.


I remember my desired domain being premium at launch. What happened might’ve been the premium list was expanded, but it’s bad to apply that list change to renewals that previously weren’t considered premium.


I can't believe asdfggg.dev is still available - I'm taking that!


Ah, crap, taking sdfghhh.dev then.


How you know my password bro?!


Congratulations on your bargain $12 domain... although you'll be faced with the difficult decision of paying google $850 next year after you've invested in the name building up a site and a reputation on that domain.


No they won’t.


Totally worth it!


Google charged me a couple hundred to renew a .dev domain. I was under the impression that I was paying a premium to register the domain a few days early and that the renewal price would be lower. I was mistaken, but, the renewal price was behind a few clicks in a settings menu. My fault, but I still wanted a refund.

After weeks of going back and forth with Google support I ended up initiating a chargeback.. They locked me out of my account and I lost access to all of the domains tied to it.

It took weeks to unravel the whole thing.

If Google would make the renewal prices available in the 30-day renewal emails this class of problem would go away. Omitting the price is a choice.


I mean, with the reputation that Google has in regards to customer support, you were definitely whacking the beehive by doing a chargeback to them. Wish it wasn’t this way, though.


I hadn't had any experience with Google support before this. I was spoiled by Apple and Amazon.


I mean. I won so..


This is pretty disgusting on Google's part if true. It sounds like they're only letting people rent domains then acting like a landlord who increases rent to match "market rates" when you renew the lease. Hopefully this is some sort of error, but somehow I doubt it.


Isn't it how every market works?


The DNS namespace is global and shared. There's only one, really; I don't know if it is the best place for a [free] "market", as it isn't really free. Within reason, I can't start a competing DNS. The best I can do is choose another name … and still pray the price jacking doesn't happen.

The incentives here are perverse: the registry knows that changing domain names has a high switching cost; we should not have the "market" dynamics encouraging them to start, effectively, extorting domain owners. "That web presence you built up? It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it…"

I actually thought there were ICANN rules against this sort of thing.


With so many TLDs, and the acceptance of domain hacks, e.g. usefennel.co (available lol!) if your name is fennel, I think there is plenty of competition.

The real estate analogy is good. Find a cheap town!


Coming up with a variant — like "usefennel" for "fennel", is covered in the comment you're replying to. You're still at the whim of the registry/registrar, if they start pulling this crap.


Imagine you’d have to pay $850 next year to keep your phone number.


You probably would if it is a short one like 131313 in Australia (sure there are US equivalents)


Not everything is rented.


For now.


"You will own nothing, and be happy." -WEF


And ever. At some point customers would simply revolt and flock to someone with mode meaningful business model


Someone tell that to Adobe and Autodesk.


I told Adobe to sod off long time ago and replaced all their products I was using with the ones that offer perpetual license.


Yes, which is why markets need a land value tax paid out to the public.


What's being produced and who are the market actors here?


How does Google "own" this "market"?


Almost every registry does it (Google is one of them).


What other registry does this? I've never heard of this behavior before.

Typically the registry won't arbitrarily increase the renewal price of specific domains during a period of time where the domain is owned by the same individual. That seems like an incredibly scummy practice.

Domain names aren't something you can just "move out" of like housing if your landlord decides to increase the price one year by over 6000%. They represent identity, discoverability and trust. By arbitrarily increasing the renewal price like this, the registry is constructively repossessing your online identity. It's the same as if they suddenly took your domain from you and put it up for auction for their own benefit.

Registrars (not registries) can get away with increasing their prices, but that's different because you can always switch registrars to one that charges a lower markup over the registry. You can't switch registries without switching your domain name entirely.


> like housing

… uh, it's not even possible to move out of that that easily, either. (Although a 6000% increase would certainly do it.) I think landlords are (also?) very much aware of switching costs in their yearly price uppings.


Nsmecheap does with these new domains like .party etc. Not sure who is responsible for it, namecheap or whoever runs these new TLDs


Generally it's done by the company running the TLD (called the registry). Registrars like Namecheap generally can't pull these shenanigans and have to keep their markup reasonable because otherwise people will just transfer the domain to a different registrar which doesn't pull the shenanigans.


You're saying that .party domain owners on Namecheap have seen the renewal price for their own domain shoot up compared to prior renewal prices?


Namecheap does it, happened to one of my domains with them and now I can’t move it.

Amazon and Cloudflare does not as far as I know.


Namecheap and Cloudflare are registrars, not registries. Amazon does have a registry, but it only seems to offer a few gTLDs and I don't think they're especially popular (I think the biggest is .bot and it has some slightly weird eligibility requirements).


Do you mind sharing more details? And did you go to transfer the domain before or after the redemption period?


Had the domain for a year and when it came time for renewal (1 month before expiry) it had been marked as premium and had a higher renewal price, so I tried to move it to several other providers only to be met with a “can’t move domain because it’s premium” error message everywhere I tried. So I paid the inflated price, moved everything to a different domain and setup redirects (obviously will not be renewing it again).


What TLD was it, if you don't mind me asking?


The domain is brrr.biz I was going to use it for small fast services. Only thing on it at the moment is a “what’s my IP” lookup for use in scripts (https://fossil.chillfox.com/echo_ip/home) which I will just be hosting under my primary .com instead going forward.

I think I am done getting cutesy domains for projects and will just use subdomains going forward to avoid this kind of headache.

edit: One of the things I wanted to put on that domain was an ngrok like service targeting regions where ngrog is high latency, because I could really use that myself.


Can you explain more? I have a bunch of domains on namecheap and I thought I was paying a premium for trust....


So did I, but after that experience I have been moving them to AWS instead.

So I had the domain for a year, I specifically went out of my way to find a domain that was not premium, but when it came time to renew it was marked as premium, and when I tried to move it I got error messages like “can’t move domain because it’s premium”.


This game is as old as domains, or at least I knew it since 2005s.

.sbs registry has done it with my domain in 2021.

.xyz has done it another one of my domain few years ago.

None of my regular old tld domains, and cctld domains experienced it.

-footnote- I used to buy domains for my own use only, my family names & stuff, never for resale or business or anything.


Do you mind sharing more details?

Did the registrar email you at some point to tell you that they are no longer able to renew your domain at the standard rate, because the registry determined it to be a premium domain?


Yeah sure.

I usually stay on top of my domains, I found the way higher price for .sbs & .xyz when trying to renew them, at different times.


Sounds lucrative. I wonder what it takes to become a registrar


265 thousand non refundable fee + few months review process, as I was following the then-new gtld launches in 2011. May have increased now.


It takes a few hundred thousand plus equipment and personnel.


GoDaddy never did this to me, I used to own a single keyword domain name which would definitely be considered "premium" and never paid more than ~$10 in renewal fees per year. GoDaddy has plenty of problems, but they never shook me down on domain renewals. I wouldn't expect it from Google, but I guess I'm just naive.


Google has a monopoly on the .dev domain. GoDaddy doesn't have a monopoly on .com, .biz, .net, etc.


This is an apples to oranges comparison.

Every TLD is operated by a registry that has a monopoly over that TLD. .dev's registry is Google. .com and .net's registry is Verisign.

GoDaddy is a registrar which resells domains from the registries. You can register .dev domains on GoDaddy just like you can register .com and .net domains.

The bulk of the registration fee goes to the registry. What keeps .com and .net prices reasonable is not that there's no monopoly - Verisign totally has a monopoly - but that Verisign's registry agreement with ICANN forbids this kind of pricing shenanigans whereas Google's registry agreement for .dev doesn't. But I'm sure that when Verisign's registry agreement is up for renewal they will try to renegotiate this.


Yes, someone has to run the official registry, so there's a choke point, unless there are rules in place to prevent abuse. For Verisign's management of .com there's a contract that limits their power. For the new vanity domains there often isn't, so I'm afraid that we will see a lot of this: a cheap price to register a domain, and then a whopping price increase to keep it.


> GoDaddy doesn't have a monopoly on .com, .biz...

GoDaddy is the registry for .biz[0].

That is, GoDaddy was started as a registrar, but the company integrated vertically with a registry division, so it plays both roles now. This was approved by ICANN.

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/.biz


GoDaddy is a registrar (facilitator of domain purchases), not a registry (owner of a TLD).


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