Donuts Pulled Back & Reserved Luxury.Villas During EAP After Orders Were Placed

Yesterday we wrote about how didn’t award us the domain name Luxury.Villas which we ordered last week for registration on the 5th day of the   Early Access Program (EAP) wrote about this domain as being priced at $13,500 for year of registration and renewal just three days ago while the EAP program was already going.

Now it seems the domain was reserved by the registry during the EAP period while there were pending orders

Here is the Whois on the domain name:

“This name is reserved by the Registry in accordance with ICANN Policy.”

Here is the email I just got from Godaddy  just minutes ago:


Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 12.38.19 PM

Needless to say I’m not a happy camper.

For one I never filed a “ticket with Godaddy” , they apparently saw my blog post and opened their own ticket on it.

Instead of honoring the order at Godaddy, Donuts decided to pull the domain back after the EAP started, after the domain had an order that was paid for.

No Bueno guys

Not the way to run a business, especially a new one that already has a pretty of doubters.





  1. Scott says

    It’s hard to imagine how thoroughly fu**ed up some of these registries are.

    With millions of dollars at stake, and the reputation of an entire industry that already has its share of naysayers and market challenges, registries need to stop treating customers with reckless disregard for their deisre to do business.

    Registries, this is not rocket science.

    Set your reserve list.
    Set your policies and pricing.
    Clearly communicate that information to your registrars.
    Stand behind your registrars, take ownership of your responsibilities and ensure that it’s NOT the customer who doesn’t get left sucking the pipe when shit happens.


  2. says

    You can have the greatest product in the world but if you can’t execute, you will not get sales.

    Sorry, Donuts you are a bunch of greedy F####S…

    Way to piss off the only people buying this DOT right now.

    I played in the early rounds, sniffed what you were doing, and now feel gtlds are doomed.

    Sorry guys, I got some pretty nice ones in the early rounds, and approached direct end users, and they aren’t remotely interested. One guy said, I will be saying DOT a million times to each client, they do not want to pay more than a few bucks for these extensions, needless to say $500 to $5000 per year.

    You guys just hit the self destruct button, look at this weeks launches, absolutely weak, and domainers are catching on.

  3. says

    Again, they were idiots… just not for the reason it first seems. .luxury is also a new gTLD application. ALL new gTLD’s are reserved names as second level domains for all other new gTLD’s being rolled out, this is per ICANN policy, not donuts, not blodaddy, ICANN. They couldn’t sell that domain even if they wanted to. So, where they screwed up once again… They failed to lock down the same list of names that every single new registry is required to lock down. Incompetent? Would appear so. Dishonest? Not so much.

  4. says


    That is not correct I own many new gTLD’s that have a new gTLD string on the left of the dot (.cool is an extension)

    plus all of these that we got to generate a registrar around

  5. novak says

    If Luxury.Villas is $13,500 for year of registration and renewal then should be times 10, or times 20 or whatever of $13,500

  6. ayemenian says

    “One guy said, I will be saying DOT a million times to each client, they do not want to pay more than a few bucks for these extensions, needless to say $500 to $5000 per year.”

    Could not have said it better myself.

  7. says


    I would say if someone was willing to pay $13,500 a year forever with no end to control that domain then value just skyrocketed

    Estibot says the .com is worth $110K that is where Donuts got their price $100K wholesale over 10 years

    But if someone pays the $13,500 then with a $10 renewal fee becomes worth $500K

  8. says

    Maybe it helps to know how pre-orders for Donuts domains work before passing judgement here:

    When you order a domain at a certain price during EAP, this means that you tell the registrar when to place your order with the registry. The registrar will take your money, as the RAA requires him to ensure payment is secured before placing any order. He then waits until the EAP phase you have chosen comes around, and tries to secure your order for you.

    If someone decides to register a domain name prior to that, the domain name is registered and you get a refund. If the registry decides not to offer the domain name during EAP but designate it a premium name, that is their prerogative. If their terms allow a re-classification prior to the domain being registered (and most new gTLD registries do remove the right to modify their premium lists), they can do so.

    But do not assume that they decided to remove the domain from availability because they saw your pre-order. Because they didn’t, Registrars do not pre-send their pre-orders to the registries. They send them exactly at the moment the phase the registrant chose opens. So unless Godaddy decided to tell them what their pre-orders contained (which I doubt), the registry most likely did not know about your preorder and decided on their own on the merits of the string that they want to reserve the string.

    Speaking with my registrar cap on, I understand how frustrating this is to our customers, but there is nothing much we can do. Sure we can refuse to sign an RRA and not offer the TLD, but that does not solve the problem. We can just try and serve our customers to our best ability, by ordering the domain names our customers chose at the time they have selected.

    All this premium pricing does not make us happy either, but this is the reality we have to deal with. I hope my explanation helped a little.

    • says

      @Volker Greimann
      We know how this works.

      But I think that Michael put the pre-order after EAP had started. He made his order for EAP day 5 and then Donuts changed the domain to premium pricing.
      The order was not done weeks or months in advance.
      I guess we need Mike to give us the exact date of the order.

    • confer says


      Do the registries have any explicit “lock-down” dates they must adhere to? Specifically, are they contractually obliged to have ‘finalized’ (locked-down) decisions by specific date(s) relating to:
      – domain pricing?
      – identifying premium vs. standard domains?
      – identifying ‘registry reserved’ domains?
      – other?

      For example, is Donuts required to “lock-down” pricing at the start (and for the duration) of the EAP period? Or, can they make any adjustments to any of the features (e.g. pricing, premium vs. standard, registry reserved, etc) at any time?

      Also, you mention that since “registrars do not pre-send their pre-orders to the registries”, therefore any changes made by the registries (e.g. pricing changes, or reclassifying domains as registry reserve) are “decided on their own; [and] on the merits of the string [at hand]”. Does this also hold true for any ‘domain availability checks’ or ‘WHOIS lookups’ done at registrars or other domain tool websites? Is the data from availability checks and/or WHOIS lookups shielded (hidden) from the registries; or is this data they can freely mine?


      • says

        Registries don’t have to finalize anything before the string enters EAP.
        They are not supposed to make any changes but who knows what they do (except very few people that notice) and who can stop them?

        Any domain availability checks or whois lookups hit the registry server. You can’t get a live whois without Donuts knowing.

      • says

        There is no EAP in ICANN rules. As far as rules go, EAP is GA (General Availability). There are provisions that limit price hikes, requiring a good number of months of warning before they happen, but there is no provision limiting the moment when a name goes into reserved name list, provided that when it comes back from it, it’s followed by a 90-day Claims period where registrants must ACK trademarks for that label.

        Note that in Donuts EAP prices only go down, not up, so they are not required to communicate months before that prices would go down.

        What could be argued is whether there was front-running in this case, like using availability checks to make decisions to register or reserve a name. I seriously doubt that, as such a policy would make episodes like this one much more common with a registry of Donuts size… and doesn’t make sense from a business strategy perspective.

        But looking from the outside we can’t really know it happened or assure it hasn’t; media awareness might be key to identify front-running cases, and although the comments about this issue are pretty negative, I haven’t seen any “me too” around…

        • says

          Hello over Mr. Kuhl,

          It was nice colloquy between us over at DomainIncite.

          I’d think Berkens knows when something wrong is going on with Registries. He is no lightweight in the industry.

          New Registries now, like insects, have two common types of metamorphosis before them. The one of butterflies, for example, have complete metamorphosis. There are four stages in the metamorphosis of butterflies – egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

          However, cockroaches have incomplete metamorphosis. The young, also called a nymph, look like small adults but without the wings.

          We know that Verisign and other mature Registries went through the butterfly approach. Now, it’s up to the new gTLD Registries to choose: butterflies, or cockroaches? Are they now, larvae or nymphs?

  9. says

    That is why i don’t spend more then regular fee on any gTLD.

    If they work i still got some good ones if the don’t i only loose little.
    Today if was very fortunate to get some nice ones at reg price.
    Here are some names that i picked up.

  10. says

    The domain name order was placed on May 25th at Godaddy

    I spoke to a representative of Donuts yesterday at length who says the domain was long ago reserved by the registry and should have not been made available at any registrar at any price.

    The representative of Donuts went on to tell me that the fact the domain was available at multiple registrars at premium prices was an error but would not confirm whom the party who made the error was.

    As far as I know there are only three types of companies involved in a new gTLD who could have made a mistake like this, the registry, the registries back end provider or the registrars or a combination thereof.

    Donuts is of course free to make a comment on the matter, on this post

  11. says

    Ok it was the registry’s fault.
    Somehow they made it available at reg fee. Then you tried to get and the made the highest premium so noone would buy it and then they reserved it.
    They can pretty much do whatever they want.

  12. Joseph Peterson says

    My “annecdotal” impression is that some registries are indeed referencing the availability checks we perform in order to reserve domains late in the game.

    I’ll explain. Some weeks back, I researched 52,000 Chinese IDNs in the 2 nTLDs then getting press. That was during the general availability period. As you may imagine, I performed tens of thousands of availability checks and recorded the results.

    Lately there has been a Sedo auction for registry-reserved IDNs in these same 2 nTLDs. Out of the 68 Chinese IDNs at auction, 29 were listed in the spreadsheet I compiled. 13 of those 29 specific domains had shown up as available when I performed my research.

    Now, 3 possibilities exist: (1) Transcription error on my part; (2) Registrar false positives during the availability lookup; or (3) Registry reservations after my lookups were performed. Possibility #3 breaks down into 2 further cases: (A) The registry reserved the domains without looking at query data; or (B) The registry made use of query data by me and others in order to reserve the domains at higher prices. I think I can rule out transcription error. Beyond that, I can’t be sure. Case 2 or Case 3B seem most likely.

    In a sense, it doesn’t matter. Whether or not the new registries operate fairly, I’d still need to act as if they do not for safety’s sake.

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