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What If a Domain Registry Shuts Down?

I saw a thread on a .Mobi domain discussion forum that posed the question, “When will dotMobi shut down?” I know discussions about certain domain extensions are always hot button topics, so I want to refrain from the discussion about specific extensions. However, I want to ask if you have ever considered what would happen to your domain names if a registry were to shut down? I’m not talking about a registrar like RegisterFly.com, but a registry that manages an entire domain extension.

Think this is far fetched? Apparently there were issues related to the company that operated the .Travel registry, and with the potential for a significant amount of gTLDs possibly forthcoming, I believe this will be an eventual issue that domain investors need to consider when purchasing domain names. John Levine discussed this in a blog post back in 2007:

“Given how small .travel is, the resolution is less important for what happens to this particular domain than for the precedent it sets. If ICANN ever comes through with all the new domain names they’ve been promising for the past decade, sooner or later some domain will do a bubble, get wildly successful while firmly cash negative, then run out of money and pop with a million registrants in limbo. That’ll be fun.”

I am in complete agreement with what Levine said above. I’ve received a number of press releases, Facebook fan page requests, and other emails indicating that there will a ton of new extensions. Some potential extensions right now include .horse, .eco, .sport, and even .zulu, mentioned by ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom.   In my opinion, it is likely that there will be gTLD extensions that fail due to financial circumstances.

I don’t see a reason why anyone would want to operate a money losing registry, and this could happen if an unpopular gTLD extension is approved and it isn’t embraced by the public. This could be especially prevalent if consumer adoption of gTLD domain names isn’t as quick as many people hope.

When you buy domain names, have you ever considered what will happen if a domain registry shuts down due to a financial problem? This is another good reason for you to become knowledgeable about ICANN. Andrew discussed it before, I and I want readers to be aware of the potential issue.

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