NIXI has sought comments from the general public on the matter until July 17 and has also proposed in-person consultation on the matter
NIXI has now proposed to amend its terms and conditions to bring the general public under its ambit and ban the sale and purchase of ‘.in’ and ‘.BHARAT’ domains at higher prices
Some registrars are using registrants as proxies and carrying out illegal and unfair trade practices pertaining to the sale and purchase of the domain names, said NIXI
The National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) has floated new draft amendments that seek to ban the sale of ‘.in’ and ‘.BHARAT’ domain names at a premium.
Domain investing involves users picking up domain names, with popular words, at throwaway prices early on and then selling them at a high price later.
The nodal body, NIXI, which operates the registry for domain names that end with ‘.in and ‘.BHARAT’, has sought comments from the general public on the matter until July 17.
Post this, NIXI has also proposed in-person consultation on the matter. However, no disclosure of the submissions will be made in the public domain.
At the centre of the contention is NIXI’s terms and conditions that bar registrars such as GoDaddy, BigRock, HostGator and Namecheap from hoarding or selling popular ‘.in’ domains at a higher price than the published MRP. However, these rules do not apply to the general public, colloquially referred to as registrants by NIXI.
In its draft amendments, the state-mandated non-profit flagged that many registrars were exploiting the loophole by using ‘registrants’ to sell and buy ‘.in’ and ‘.BHARAT’ domain names at a premium.
“… Since there are no restrictions placed on the Registrants, some Registrars are using registrants as proxy and carry out illegal and unfair trade practices pertaining to sale/ purchase of delegated/registered .IN/ .BHARAT domain names which affect the market environment,” said the draft document.
As a result, NIXI has now proposed to amend its terms and conditions as well as the registrar accreditation agreement to replace the word ‘registrar’ with ‘registrar/registrant’ and bring both parties under its ambit.
The move will provide a level-playing field to all users. This will ban the sale and purchase of popular domain names at exorbitant prices and will bring parity among users on a first-come-first-served basis.
On the other hand, the move will likely ban domain investing, which is recognised by many territories as a ‘legitimate interest’ under various precedents related to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).
The ban on the sale and purchase of ‘.in’ and ‘.BHARAT’ domain names at a premium could further tighten the noose around the registrars who already operate on razor-thin margins. It, however, remains to be seen how the industry reacts to the move although the proposed move is just the extension of the ban to the general public, and does not relate to the domain registrars.