I’ve been messing about with websites both professionally and for fun for over 17 years. In that time I’ve registered many domain names including lots with the .co.uk extension. Until fairly recently i.e. 1st May 2012, the rules were that .co.uk registrations and renewals had a minimum registration period of two years. From that date however, they can now be registered for one year at a time instead of a minimum two years. That’s fine except that single year renewals apparently incur a registry surcharge, which is only slightly less than adding the second year.
The obvious conclusion is that a single year renewal is not very cost effective (unless you definitely only want to keep the domain for one year).
My domain registrar charges a mere £2.79 per year for a .co.uk registration.
I don’t want to renew for just one year (especially if there’s a surcharge) so imagine my surprise when a couple of domains auto renewed for one year at £4.99 each, which is £2.79 plus a £2.20 surcharge. The annoyance was that every previous auto renewal had been the (now defunct) statutory two years.
I contacted my registrar, Domain Monster, to query their logic. Initial reactions were not good and they claimed that once the domain names were renewed they couldn’t do anything about it. However, after a follow-up email from me expressing my disappointment but praising their previous customer service, they re-considered.
Domain Monster stated that it is their standard policy in all Domainmonster.com accounts to set the default auto renewal term to the least expensive option. In most cases, this is a reasonable approach but DM agreed that in this case it was not the most cost effective way to renew the domains. As a consequence DM agreed to revert the renewals and the domains were renewed for a two year period at the standard rates. Result.
It is to Domain Monster’s credit that they not only understood the sense of the argument but they also acted upon it immediately within the working day. Experience has taught me that this sort of efficient and helpful level of customer service is a rarity.
For any domain registrar that you may use, make sure that your auto renewals are set to two years for all domains ending in .uk including co.uk, me.uk and org.uk, if you want to avoid paying a surcharge. Also make sure that you check for inflated renewal prices when buying cheap domains and the policy for transferring to another provider. On both these counts Domain Monster are excellent.
Domain Monster provides a full range of services for domain registration and management and remains my favourite domain registrar. Their prices are very competitive and their customer service is outstanding. Their website claims to offer “the best support in the industry” and I don’t disagree. I highly recommend them (and I’ve tried quite a few other providers over the years).