Namecheap, one of the leading and largest domain registrars, has stopped allowing the registration of the new domain extension .XYZ for customers.
It's not clear when this decision was made by Namecheap. There has been discussion on several web hosting forums about it. Users have posted they had noticed the change by Namecheap recently. Ending support for .XYZ seems to have taken place over the past couple days or week.
I asked in a Namecheap support chat about why they are not allowing .XYZ registrations anymore. Here is what I was told;
Dmitriy O.: Yes, regretfully, Namecheap does not provide the registration of .XYZ anymore.
Adam: You will accept renewals though?
Adam: When was this decision made?
Dmitriy O.: This was implemented recently, maybe week or two ago. The renewal of existing domains will go through without any issues. Regretfully, this decision was made on the top level and we do not have any info regarding this
So if you currently have .XYZ domains at Namecheap they will continue to support the extension and allow renewals. You will not have to move or transfer your .XYZ domains to another domain registrar. They just won't be allowing new registrations.
In another chat I asked about transferring .XYZ transfers into Namecheap. The domain registrar is not allowing inbound transfers of .XYZ domains anymore either.
Adam: Was wondering if are allowing .XYZ transfers?
Adam: You do not allow .XYZ registrations now.
Anna Kh.: Could you please specify the domain name(s) in question?
Anna Kh.: Oh, so you mean incoming .XYZ domain transfers.
Adam: Just any .XYZ domain, do you allow transfer INTO Namecheap?
Anna Kh.: Unfortunately, we do not support them either.
Adam: You do not support .XYZ transfers?
Anna Kh.: Unfortunately, no.
Adam: Ok so no registration or transfers of .XYZ domains?
Anna Kh.: We do not provide registrations or incoming transfers of .XYZ domains at Namecheap indeed. I am sorry for the inconvenience.
The first thing that ran through my mind when I heard about this was, “Why are people complaining about not being able to buy .XYZ domains? Are people actually using these?” 🙂
My second thought was, “That is very interesting.”
Namecheap has pushed a lot of new domain extensions since the roll-out of hundreds of new domain extensions in the past couple years. Specifically they have been pushing .XYZ quite a lot. Promoting .XYZ domains on the homepage of Namecheap on many occasions. I even had family members ask me about .XYZ because of the fact Namecheap put in on the homepage and were selling first year registrations for 88 cents. (8's are considered lucky numbers by the Chinese.)
The fact that Namecheap would completely stop support of new registrations and transfers for .XYZ domains is quite surprising.
Back in June there was a big sale by Uniregistry, the domain registrar/registry run by legendary domain investor Frank Schilling, which sold .XYZ domains for 1 penny. This in turn made rival Namecheap run a promotion that was much more expensive, 2 cents for .XYZ domains. The registrations for .XYZ exploded over the course of a couple days. .XYZ racked up millions of registrations.
The .XYZ registry backed this promotion setting aside several million dollars to cover the cost. The promotion was to celebrate .XYZ's 2-year anniversary. Namecheap was one of the main registrars to drive the .XYZ growth during the summer sale.
According to NtldStats, a website that tracks new domains, Namecheap has over 1 million .XYZ domains managed by them currently. This means they are the third largest .XYZ domain registrar trailing Uniregistrar and Chinese domain registrar Chengdu West Dimension Digital Technology Co., Ltd. Aka West.cn.
Namecheap has over 1 million .XYZ domains and they decided to pull support. I've never heard of a registrar doing this. At least support of new .XYZ registrations and transfers. Quite an interesting and surprising move. If you look at the picture above you will see that .XYZ still has Namecheap listed as a supported .XYZ registrar on the Gen.XYZ website.
In July Namecheap was pushing the fact they were offering a 20% off renewal for .XYZ domains. The regular renewal price was $9.88 but with $2 off, 20%, you could renew .XYZ domains for $7.88. So the decision to drop support seems to have been swift by Namecheap.
Why has Namecheap management decided to pull the plug on .XYZ? Was there some issue with the .XYZ registry and Daniel Negari, the founder of .XYZ?
We can only speculate but I imagine there is quite a lot of spam being distributed on .XYZ domains due to the low registration cost. It makes it attractive extension for spammers in addition to other lost cost new domain extensions. I've read and hear from IT professionals they have completely blocked many ngTLDs in company email filters. This is due to the fact they get so much spam email from new domains. Network administrators then set rules to block email from the entire extension. The sheer volume of complaints could be too much for Namecheap to handle. Again this is just speculation.
In addition while it's good for Namecheap to pump up registrations numbers with .XYZ, domains are a subscription business. The goal is to get people to renew and build active personal or business site on a domain. What are the chances people will renew domains they paid 1 or 2 cents for? What are the chances people will build sites on .XYZ domains bought for pennies? Unfortunately for the .XYZ registry, very low.
Also while Namecheap is a large and well known registrar, I've heard from many in the domain industry it can be a pain to manage and onboard so many new domains. New domain registries can update terms and wholesale costs at will. Perhaps Namecheap didn't like .XYZ terms anymore? There was this story about .XYZ having aggressive takedown policies. I've read other stories as well about .XYZ domains getting suspended for odd reasons. Perhaps Namecheap was getting complaints from customers about this?
Maybe Namecheap had issues with CentralNic, the technical backend provider for .XYZ? Again, hard to say from the outside looking in. Only Namecheap management can tell us why.
What are your thoughts about Namecheap ending support for .XYZ registrations and transfers? Do you think this is a good move for Namecheap? Bad news for the .XYZ registry and new top level domains?
UPDATE – I asked Namecheap support about this being a permanent or temporary thing for .XYZ domains. The response
At this moment we have stopped support for registration and transfers of .xyz domains.
We still allow renewal of .xyz domain that were already registered with us.
UPDATE 2 – Confirmed with NameCheap the ban is permanent. These means .XYZ domains will not be coming back to NameCheap.
Regarding your blog post, you are right and .xyz domain registrations have been disabled permanently at Namecheap.
Others have confirmed Namecheap support said the decision is permanent.
Do you think Namecheap and other domain registrars will stop supporting other new domain extensions? Could this be the beginning of the end for new domains?