Minds+Machines & Hexonet Mistakenly Priced Premium Domains Cheap – Renewals Will Be As High As $5,400

MindsAndMachinesMinds + Machines and the registrar Hexonet mistakenly priced a lot of premium domains and those domains were sold at cheap standard prices.

The problem affects domains registered in the past 2 months such as live.rodeo and aqua.surf. So next year the registrant of live.rodeo will have to pay $2,800 for the domain name renewal and not the $25 that he paid to register the domain.

A domainer that registered 50 of those domains was quoted renewal prices of up to $5,400 per year. See his list below. I don’t know how Minds+Machines can prove what the correct prices were.

It is not clear if the problem is affecting only Minds + Machines domain names registered at Hexonet but a reader reported that he got the same standard prices at Enom too. Was this a Minds + Machines problem or a Hexonet one? The email send to Hexonet customers says it was a Hexonet problem.

Hexonet’s unofficial remark was that it was their fault and not Mind and Machines. Hexonet will be taking a financial loss on these domains; but not a full loss, since Mind and Machines worked out a deal with them.

Hexonet said that all unmarked Premium Domains sold at regular prices through HEXONET will be honored and remain active for one year. However, next year these Premium Domains will be renewed at their intended premium price.

Minds and Machines is providing affected customers with 2 options:

  • Option A – Refund for Your Unmarked Premium Domain Name
  • Option B – Keeping Your Unmarked Premium Domain Name and RENEW at premium pricing in the following year.

This is the email that Hexonet send to one of its affected customers:

Dear “name”

This important notice is to inform you, that some of your domain name registrations in the past two months from the registry operator Mind and Machines were mistakenly priced as “Standard” domain registrations by us, when in fact they should have been marked as “Premium Domains”, and sold at premium price levels. This means that Premium Domains were sold at regular prices instead of the intended premium price for the respective domain(s).

The good news is that all unmarked Premium Domains sold at regular prices through HEXONET will be honored and remain active for one year. However, please be advised that next year, these Premium Domains will be renewed at their intended premium price, which have been listed below for your convenience. As a registrant of a mistakenly unmarked Premium Domain, Minds and Machines has graciously provided us/you with some customer-friendly options in preparation of next year’s premium price renewal:

Option A – Refund for Your Unmarked Premium Domain Name

We understand that some of you may not have registered a Premium Domain if you had known the Premium Registration/Renewal price before hand. If this is the case, you can DELETE the domain and receive a full refund of the standard domain price you paid. Simply delete the domain in the Control Panel and then email support@hexonet.net before November 27, 2014. Please provide us with the deleted domains and your Account ID. All refunds will be processed on November 28, 2014.

Option B – Keeping Your Unmarked Premium Domain Name

No further action is required. PLEASE NOTE that the Premium Domain(s) listed below will RENEW at premium pricing in the following year. Please also ensure the Renewal Mode for your domain(s) are properly set for next year’s renewal (Auto-Renew or Auto-Expire)

Domain Name
live.rodeo
Premium Renewal Price
$ 2800 USD

Thank you for your understanding and should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Additionally, HEXONET would like extend our gratitude to the registry, Minds and Machines, who immediately expressed their willingness to work with us on finding customer-friendly solutions for those affected.

Sincerely,

Your Team @ HEXONET

The email was first posted by a reader at the “Post Your Best New gTLD Domain Name” thread.

Another reader send me a list of 50 domain names that were mistakenly priced. Keep in mind that he paid about $25 for each of these domains and he will probably ask for a refund. These are the prices he was quoted for renewals (he asked me to not post the domain names):
Domain Name     Premium Renewal Price
aqua.surf       $ 1100 USD
auto.country    $ 2700 USD
better.beer     $ 125 USD
big.surf        $ 2700 USD
bourbon.country $ 295 USD
burger.beer     $ 125 USD
cajun.country   $ 295 USD
cannabis.vodka  $ 65 USD
car.country     $ 5400 USD
country.cooking $ 2700 USD
course.horse    $ 2700 USD
creative.cooking        $ 2700 USD
dragon.vodka    $ 295 USD
dutch.country   $ 2700 USD
easy.fishing    $ 65 USD
european.horse  $ 1100 USD
fine.cooking    $ 2700 USD
flying.horse    $ 65 USD
free.country    $ 550 USD
fun.fishing     $ 5400 USD
fusion.cooking  $ 2700 USD
gift.horse      $ 1100 USD
global.fishing  $ 2700 USD
gone.country    $ 125 USD
green.cooking   $ 1100 USD
green.vodka     $ 5400 USD
hill.country    $ 550 USD
island.surf     $ 2700 USD
jet.surf        $ 550 USD
kids.country    $ 1100 USD
marijuana.vodka $ 65 USD
master.cooking  $ 295 USD
miss.rodeo      $ 125 USD
modern.cooking  $ 125 USD
natural.horse   $ 1100 USD
new.country     $ 550 USD
open.country    $ 2700 USD
rate.beer       $ 2700 USD
rock.fishing    $ 2700 USD
safe.surf       $ 1100 USD
shire.horse     $ 5400 USD
snow.country    $ 550 USD
snow.surf       $ 550 USD
spanish.horse   $ 5400 USD
steam.cooking   $ 1100 USD
sun.country     $ 1100 USD
wake.surf       $ 1100 USD
whiskey.country $ 550 USD
wild.country    $ 2700 USD
world.fishing   $ 2700 USD

Unfortunately both Minds + Machines and Hexonet have had their fair share of trouble in the past few months. Minds + Machines with the .London priority mess and the never ending .London auctions (are these still going on after almost 3 months?) and Hexonet that suspended my domain names and then deleted a couple of domains that were not yet expired.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

41 comments

  1. I got a notice on a .beer domain @ hexonet last night. Needless to say, I will be requesting the refund.

  2. This sounds very bad two months out, I would think they would have to give the registrant 6 months to renew for upto 10 years at the current registration price before being able to basically steal the domains away.

    I never like Freddy Kruger

  3. That is very strange they are asking the registrant to DELETE the domain, take it to ICANN, this really irks me.

  4. I got a total of $84,415 for the above 50 names for renewal, I am surprised Mike Berkens didn’t write about such a thing, unless they treated him differently as he was active in registering with hexonet, and these extensions.

    $85K to register those crappy names, FAIL

    • $85k!!! lol
      I wish you could see the domains…
      Maybe the reader will allow me to post them after he gets his refund.

      • I’m the registrant.

        I don’t mind if you post the list of domains, but please keep in mind that they had value to me at $25 each not the “correct” updated price.

        Almost immediately after I received the email, I emailed Konstantinos asking if he had heard from any one else receiving the same email (because he is very active in domaining and has many contacts in the industry).

        In my view, everyone makes mistakes, and I have not had any negative issues with Hexonet since I became a customer. In fact, they have very good pricing on new gTLDs and have beat many other registrars in catching domains at the start of new release phases.

        I participated in a phone conference and understood their explanation and think they treated me fairly. But, I will be requesting a delete on about 99% of the domains since the new prices are way above my comfort level.

      • I updated the post to reflect both the domains and the premium prices.

  5. Aw, that’s mean. Minds + Machines should permanently remove the premium price from those domains. Understandable that they aren’t going to, though, as it was not their fault.

    • At this point I am not too sure whose fault it was. Enom had the same prices.

      • That is the weird part. I also have emails from enom.com showing $26 general-availability pricing for some of those domains when I also placed pre-registration order with them. I use multiple registrars for domains that I really want and only 1 registrar for domains that I sort of want (since it ties up more money). It just happens that Hexonet was quicker than enom.com and caught the domains. Hexonet has been very good for me in catching domains.

      • Yes they are good at catching domains.
        Bad at pretty much anything else.

  6. horrible, greedy greedy company. And they will bring down all the properties under them.
    Considering how many they already had as premium, to have balls to do it retroactively in such scale means they didnt make mistake. They just said, oh never mind, we changed our mind. Take backsies … very poor form.

  7. Collusion is an agreement between two or more parties, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair market advantage.

  8. The New G registrars and registries are inviting the FTC with crap like this…

  9. How do you spell l-a-w-s-u-i-t?

  10. The question i’m curious about is;

    Consumer law if it applies; If you buy something and 2 months later the seller comes back saying it was a mistake and wants more money. How would that hold up in court in general ?

    For me it would be unacceptable and would end up in court if no fair agreement can be reached.

    • I’m the registrant that contact Konstantinos for information to see if he hard heard of this happening to anyone else.

      I only “purchased” 1 year of registration; nothing says prices can’t be higher next year. If I wanted to lock in the previous price, I think I would have had to register at that price for multiple years at the time of registration.

      I’m not going to go to court over this.

      • ealfert your lack of knowledge and self respect for your rights is troubling.

        If you don’t care then why share. Why are you buying any domain, if next year they can raise the price by thousands of percent on you?

        Why are you in this business, if you relinquish all your rights?

      • * I do care.
        * New gTLDs have limited value now but I believe they will have substantial value in a few years.
        * In speculating/investing in domains because I “believe” it will provide positive ROI and ROI above current alternative investments.
        * I’m not a lawyer.
        * Lawyers are expensive.
        * Lawsuits are even more expensive.
        * Lawsuits do not provide guaranteed outcomes.
        * Even .com prices increase over time even if just by 10% or less.
        * Nothing prevents greater than 10% increase other than the registry’s business analysis of increased margins vs. decreased registrations.

      • * I do care.

        * New gTLDs have limited value now but I believe they will have substantial value in a few years.
        * I am speculating/investing in new gTLDs because I believe they will provided a positive ROI.
        * I believe the ROI will be greater than other alternative investments.

        * Even .com raises prices from time to time. Even if it is just 10%.
        * Nothing prevents .com prices from going higher except for business analysis between increased margins versus decreased registrations.

        * I am not a lawyer.
        * Lawyers are expensive.
        * Lawsuits are even more expensive.
        * Lawsuits are time consuming.
        * Lawsuits do not have guaranteed outcomes.
        * All of the above has to be considered as well as the potential upside of winning a lawsuit.
        * My analysis is that the upside is not worth the hassle at this time.

      • Verisign can’t raise .com prices for 6 years.

      • Do you think that if you had paid for 10 years they would have made you the same offer?
        No way.
        This is not just “higher”. It is x100 the registration price.

      • Probably not, but if that was the scenario, I would definitely be consulting legal counsel.

      • So the only problem is the length of registration?
        That wouldn’t make any difference in a court.

  11. A real class act. Make sure you pat them on the back when you see them at NamesCon. Maybe they will throw a party and all will be well again. After 15 years this bloody business makes me a cynic for good reason!

  12. On the lighter side, the buyers might have saved money on domains no body cares about.

    • I probably did

      🙂

      I liked the domains at $25 per year. I responded to Konstantinos that I didn’t mind being embarrassed by the domain choices I made. I think he will update the post to show the domains next to the prices.

      • The domains are not bad but are not worth $85,000 per year. Not now, not ever.

      • In a speculative setting you had not done anything wrong by placing $25 bets on such names. At $85,000 there is no meat on the bone left for you, just fat for the company at hand.

        Saying you don’t care is the wrong attitude. If you don’t stand up, you are saying it is ok to do this to me, and others. Your money has rights, when you paid them $25 for nothing more than a virtual link you received rights within that purchase as a consumer.

        Man up, and put up a fight, and make a stink about it, let everyone know this is not ok.

      • The 2 domains that probably require explanation are “cannabis.vodka” and “marijuana.vodka” since they don’t seem to go together. Look up “Green Dragon” in Google and you will understand.

      • I hear you Ealfert. I had to come back and re-read this thread. You really got fisted here. You should call someone at Business Insider or CNN money and tell them about your experience with Gtlds. You might save lots of people money and headaches.

  13. That’s your choice ofcourse. But if a domain would go from 25 usd to 5400 usd the next year it is a reason to go all the way as that wasn’t known to you. You can see the pricing of probably all GTLDs as in registeration + renewal + transfer + restore at Hexonet anyway.

    But that aside, i also have good experiences with Hexonet. I trust them with my domains and their customer service has short communication lines to get things done.

  14. These prices are ridiculous. My bet is that when M+M realized they wouldn’t break even on many of these tlds (rodeo, horse, fishing, surf, …, the registration numbers are abysmal), they decided they would turn many of the registered names into premiums. And that’s 2 months later, they really aren’t afraid of anything. I sure won’t register any of their tlds ever. No matter what they release in the future this is evidence they can’t be trusted.

  15. our business is to find good domains. and yes, to find doamins that the registry maybe fogot as well. we are doing this because we hope to sell it after some time. buying domains is a risc for us all the time.

    coming arround after some time and make domains premium is crap business.
    I think the registry got a lot of time to prepare everything right before.

    • for me it looks like that the registry just checked what they sold and made some premiums after it. easy work, isnt it

      I know there was premiums by golive, for example cheap.beer (I wrote somewhere in here about it)

  16. Imagine a company that builds their brand on one of these M&M domains and then gets handed a crazy bill next year at renewal time. This is the kind of thing that could kill gtld’s while they are still in the cradle.

    • Wow that is something to think about. I am quitting buying anymore gTLD’S. I like risk I can calculate and with no regulatory oversights, I can’t see how this ends well for an end user or buyer afterwards. I am staying with .com. worked well yesterday, yesteryear and I promise you, will work well tomorrow.

  17. Hi there,
    What tool do you use to check the renewal prices?
    Thanks in advance.

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