I received a note from Epik CEO Rob Monster, who announced that Epik is now allowing its customers to effectively register some of their domain names at Epik forever. Rob’s email included a link to a press release published by Epik during the ICANN meeting in Barcelona. According to the press release, “Epik is the first ICANN-accredited registrar to offer the perpetual registration.”
Here’s a short excerpt from the press release:
“Forever domain registrations provide individuals and businesses with peace of mind. Once a Forever registration is secured, the future risk of domain loss due to administrative oversight or lack of funds is eliminated. While domain owners are still subject to legal use, domains can now become an enduring part of a will or estate, with continued managed registration compliance, even after the death of the original registrant. A Forever domain registration, which can be optionally combined with a Forever hosting plan, offers not only peace of mind, but also allows registrants to preserve their digital legacy, and on their terms.”
The cost of a .com “forever registration” at Epik runs $420. If a person were paying $10/year all-in to renew their .com domain name, that upfront cost would be 42 years worth of renewals (assuming the price stays the same over that time period).
The concept is certainly interesting. It would effectively reduce the concerns a domain owner may have over what happens to their domain names if they die. In theory, the names should essentially not expire, and the executor / courts could then determine what happens to the domain names in perpetuity. There shouldn’t be a scramble for friends and family to ensure domain names are renewed if something happens to someone suddenly.
I asked Rob about what happens if a domain name is registered under this program at Epik and the owner sells the domain name or otherwise wishes to transfer it to a different domain registrar. Rob told me the feature is only available at Epik (at least for the time being), and they “are working with industry stakeholders to introduce peering and portability.”
If I were an Epik customer considering this offer, one concern I would have is if Epik goes out of business or Rob sells the company to an entity that doesn’t want to honor these registrations. To my knowledge, I do not believe there is a way to renew domain names “forever” at the registry level. People will have to trust that Epik will continue to renew these domain names on their behalf forever. Obviously, people place a lot of trust with their domain registrar, so this may not even be an issue for some people. The other concern is that I don’t plan to hold most of my investments for close to “forever,” so it would make more sense for me to renew for 5 or 10 years out and reevaluate annually.
Back in 2004, Network Solutions made news when the company apparently offered 100 year domain registrations. I don’t believe the company is still offering this. I am not sure what came of this program either.
It’s a neat idea, and it would be great if there is traction at the registry level and interest from other domain registrars.