[sf-lug] More on the whois data from March (and domain lifecycle)

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Tue Jul 7 19:06:18 PDT 2015

> From: "Rick Moen" <rick at linuxmafia.com>
> Subject: [sf-lug] More on the whois data from March
> Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2015 16:42:38 -0700

> I'm just looking over
> https://whoisology.com/archive_10/sf-lug.com and
> https://whoisology.com/archive_10/sf-lug.org , the snapshots of the two

>   Registrant Email:  no.valid.email at worldnic.com
> Um, is that true?  Is that what was on the whois record before NetSol
> screwed around with it around July 2nd when the two domains expired?

Yes, that's quite what I recall seeing for at least the most critical
email addresses in the whois data (registrant and/or admin).  The data
did also have Jim's name on it, may or may not have had his email in some
of the other email address fields, but not for registrant and/or admin.

I did also notice at the time that it had apparently been renewed, with
expiration of 2016-07-02 - but it at least did have Jim's name on it, and
I think it also had "renewal period" or something like that on status -
which would usually be the case for something around 30 to 60 days (I forget
exactly how long) after a domain is renewed.  It was on 2015-07-02 (PDT)
when I'd most recently checked and saw that, before the OS "32-bit" (i386)
to "64-bit" (amd64) upgrade.  I did later peek to see if I still had that
data, but no, had since rolled out of buffer where I might've otherwise
still found it (as I'd not explicitly saved it).

Also, FYI - lots of good information on the domain expiration process ... :-)
Thanks for all that.  But I think the process is actually a wee bit more
complicated in slightly interesting ways - I may be a bit fuzzy on some of
the details, but earlier this year I had occasion to quite familiarize
myself with it (a domain I was interested in, was owned by someone else
but looked to be quite unused, and probable to head into and through the
expiration/release process ... it in fact did, and I snapped it up once
it was up for grabs - thus no extra costs involved in gaining it (the
domain wasn't so interesting/valuable to me I'd want to pay extra to get
it or enter into some bidding war - so I just quietly and patiently waited
and jumped at the opportune moment (well, within hours or less of it becoming
available to any and all at no premium costs)).

Anyway, wee bit more detail and hopefully at least partial correction (and
sorry if I don't have all the terminology precisely correct - doing this
from single source wetware extraction) ... essentially once domain hits
initial expiration - practice can vary by registrars, and also different
TLDs may have slightly different policies/procedures/regulations, etc.,
but what happens in most cases with most registrars and most TLDs,
if customer/registrant doesn't renew it, registrar does ... but it's a funky
kind'a conditional renewal.  Registrar has to pay to renew it ... kind of.
But ... I forget if they don't have to pay right away, or they can reverse it
later after the fact and then not have to pay, or get refunded.  In either
case, the registrar does this (presuming customer/registrant didn't renew).
Then, essentially, the registrar gets to leverage their cash cow.  They get
an essentially "free ride" for a while - they've got it exclusively, and can
sell it off to the highest bidder, or stuff like that, or charge the
customer / earlier registrant ransom, er, uhm, "restoral" fees to get it
back ... there's some regulations around this, but basically the
registrar is handed a nice big fat advantage over the domain, which they all
(or most all) take advantage of.  Eventually, things move further along,
and if nobody "buys" it and registrar doesn't have someone to sell it to,
it marches through a process where it's harder and harder and more expensive
to get it back by the earlier customer/registrant ... until it's finally
released, then it's up for grabs, first come, first serve.  And there are also
(of course for $$) companies that make a business selling the service to try
to be the first to grab some particular domain(s) once they become available -
of course for a premium price.  Anyway, a bit funky how all that works,
but I found really good information on it earlier doing some searches ...
I think some searches like "domain lifecycle" were particularly good  
at finding
excellent materials and references on the whole process.  So, ... some of the
goop that registrars pull, well, isn't *quite* as shady as it may seem, but
they certainly do get a very nice advantage handed to them when a domain
expires and customer/registrant doesn't renew ... but that advantage doesn't
carry on forever ... if nobody jumps at the domain, it gets released after
some time (60 days? 90 days?  95 days?  I forget exactly, and also varies by
TLD and registrar).

Anyway, that explains a fair bit of why things look so funky in whois right
after domain has expired - it looks like it's extended a year, but taken
over by the registrar, because, well, that's sort of kind of how it
approximately is.  Essentially registrar has done a renewal on their own
behalf, and it's now "theirs" ... more-or-less.  But there's a catch,
if the (earlier) customer isn't paying and the registrar doesn't pay (or did
and wants that credited back), they've got a limited amount of time to
nonrevocably pay for it ... either that, or essentially back it out as if
it didn't happen, and give it up.  So, ... that's why it looks rather
funky for a while ... sort'a kind'a phantom quasi-renewed but not quite
really.  Rather like the registrar renews it on credit, the bill comes due,
if customer or no one else has paid registrar for it, then registrar goes,
"oops, nevermind, don't want it anyway, you can have it back", and gives
it up, and doesn't pay.

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