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Recommendation: Caution
Summary: Offering registrations in a new TLD before its general availability
Outcome: Yet to be seen, speculation
Addressed by ICANN Policy: N
Addressed by Legislation: N
Related to: no related articles at this time

Pre-Registration, within the context of ICANN's new gTLD program, refers to the practice of allowing registrants to register for second-level domain names in a new gTLD that may become available after their sunrise and claims periods.[1] Like the gTLD program, this is a relatively new practice, and different registries are offering pre-registration services with unique terms and conditions.[1] With multiple registrars providing variations of this service,[2][3] there is no assurance that the registrants will get their pre-registered names.[4]

Public Perception

The reactions to pre-registration are mixed. Some believe that pre-registration will increase hype and speculation for new domain names, raising the price and resulting in "price gouging."[5] Additionally, services cannot guarantee that they will get the name, and if the registrar were to act unscrupulously, the aspiring registrant may be charged for an unsuccessful service.[1] Others see pre-registration as a kind of natural extension of the domain industry created by the demand and competition for desirable new domains. It can also be viewed simply as a service that helps customers get the domain names they want.


The outcome of this practice is unknown as many new gTLDs have not yet become generally available and are still within the contracting and launch processes.

Historical Use

This practice, in terms of the new gTLDs, is currently developing. Here are some examples of pre-registration programs:

  • Some registrars, like Afilias, are offering pre-registration in the context of keeping interested parties notified on up-to-date TLD developments related to the domains they want to register.[2] This service is free. The pre-registrants are only required to state which TLDs they are interested in (not the name they are hoping to get) and their email addresses.[2] This kind of service does not guarantee any individual will get the name he or she is after.
  • Other services, such as the Priority Reservation service provided by Minds + Machines, offer registrants "the first place in line" for a given domain name in the new gTLDs they represent.[6] In order to accomplish this, Minds + Machines is using an Online Priority Enhanced Names (OPEN) database.[4] Clients are asked to pay for the domain name during pre-registration, and if the name cannot be obtained then the client will receive a full refund.[4][6]
    • If there are multiple binding and paid-for pre-registrations for one domain name, some registrars, such as GoDaddy, will hold auctions as opposed to working on a first come, first serve basis.[7]

ICANN Policy

There is currently no ICANN precedent for pre-registration.


There is no U.S. legislation addressing pre-registration.

DNS Award

Awardees have clearly defined pre-registration policies that do not seek to confuse or deceive registrants.

Additional Resources

Related Articles

  • Add a related article here!


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 TLDH launches “Priority Registration” service for new TLDs, starting at €29.95 by Andrew Allemann (November 18, 2013), Domain Name Wire
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 New gTLD Pre-Registration FAQ, Afilias
  3. Minds and Machines
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 TLDH reveals new gTLD launch strategy by Kevin Murphy (November 18, 2013),
  5. Are Registrars Price Gouging Pre-Registration of New gTLDs? by Bill Hartzer (January 6, 2014),
  6. 6.0 6.1 FAQ, Minds + Machines
  7. Discover the new .PHOTOGRAPHY domain names: What is .Photography?,