back to article 123-Reg customers outraged at automatic .UK domain registration

Customers of 123-Reg are experiencing a familiar feeling of annoyance, this time over a decision to automatically register them for .UK domains, which they will then have to pay for after two years. In a letter sent to customers, seen by The Register, the company said the domains will be available to manage from November 2017 …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    It strikes me that a lot of people moaning about "having to pay for these domain names in 2 years time" aren't aware of turning the automatic renewal off on these domain names.

    "Rah rah rah I want to be annoyed about something and dammnit I'm gonna be annoyed about THIS!"

    1. Alister Silver badge

      ...aren't aware of turning the automatic renewal off on these domain names.

      I rather think 123-Reg might have thought of that, and maybe have disabled that ability for .uk registrations? I don't know, I'm not a 123-Reg customer, but it wouldn't surprise me if they had.

      To me it seems a very cynical way of increasing .uk registrations, just to make the figures look good.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Little to do with automatic renewal

      You will have to pay for them and keep them if they are used in any way.

      So if, for example, your web-host-cum-DNS registrar (if you made the fatal mistake to have them both in the same place) alias your existing .co.uk entries to uk and stuff them in a few search indexes. It takes only a small percentage of your customer base to start using them for most businesses to grudgingly pay the extortion racket.

      In addition to that there is the obnoxious copyright racket - defend it or lose it. if you do not "defend" your copyright by paying all extortions you may have more difficult time defending it.

      The only way to deal with the domain trading low life is to boycott any of their harebrained schemes.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Little to do with automatic renewal

        "You will have to pay for them and keep them if they are used in any way."

        Can you point out where it says that? Because for as much as I've seen in the control panel there is no such wording to that effect. You will pay for them if they renew, obviously, but you can turn that off. Meaning, you won't pay for it.

        1. Naselus

          Re: Little to do with automatic renewal

          "Can you point out where it says that?"

          No, because it won't say it in the agreement. However, if people are using www.wolfetone.uk to reach your children's toy company's website, and you stop paying for it, and the following day it's picked up by an eye-wateringly hardcore vore porn website, then you might find that your brand takes a bit of a hit in the ensuing PR disaster.

          Basically, no-one wanted .uk to exist in the first place, since .co.uk already did and we'd all bought the domain we needed. Every new TLD is another set of websites I need to spend money on every two years to avoid some random bastard squatting on the domain and setting up a parody site or something.

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: Little to do with automatic renewal

            I'm going to charge you a million pound next year.

            You can just turn it off in the control panel.

            Oh, by the way, you'll find out about it from a IT news website.

            What's the problem?

            Now multiply by EVERY COMPANY YOU DEAL WITH and who has your card details, for EVERY PRODUCT THEY WANT TO PUSH. You going to log into them all? And when you miss one are you going to be to blame?

            Or will you just tell them all to f*** off with that tactic because it's actually illegal?

            No matter what contract, terms or anything else say, you cannot do this. It's against the law. In fact, under the law, such things could also be fraud / passing off if they involve a trademarked domain.

            1. d3vy Silver badge

              Re: Little to do with automatic renewal

              "Oh, by the way, you'll find out about it from a IT news website."

              Or you could read your emails.

              1. moiety

                Re: Little to do with automatic renewal

                A straight .uk is better than the relatively pointless .co addition imo.

                True on the face of it and taken by itself; except that you'll lose everybody who has grown used to typing in .co.uk for the last two decades

                1. TheVogon Silver badge

                  Re: Little to do with automatic renewal

                  "True on the face of it and taken by itself; except that you'll lose everybody who has grown used to typing in .co.uk for the last two decades"

                  If you just switched it over with an existing commercial site that relies on search engines / shortcuts / consumer memory, yes sure that wouldn't be good. But no one sane would do that - you would likely forward the old address to the new address and over time potentially transition to .uk once your traffic figures to the old site drop to tiny. 2 Years is probably enough for most sites to transition - if you actually care about the cost of registering both versions.

                  For corporate / personal - you can just choose to transition at your convenience - and going forward I would have thought for new sites the shorter url version would be commonly preferred. However that's just based on my preference...

              2. Chloe Cresswell

                Re: Little to do with automatic renewal

                I got 2 emails about it.

                Both had links to "find out which domains".

                Both links failed to work, and ended up timing out.

                1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                  Re: Little to do with automatic renewal

                  tsohost has done the same as i got an email too. i could opt out though before an october deadline (which i have done)

                2. d3vy Silver badge

                  Re: Little to do with automatic renewal

                  @Chloe

                  I didn't bother trying the links at the time but this works (After you log in):

                  https://www.123-reg.co.uk/secure/cpanel/domain/preorders/uk

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Little to do with automatic renewal

          > You will pay for them if they renew, obviously, but you can turn that off.

          The thing is, under EU rules¹ vendors are not allowed to offer "samples" and try to charge for them latter unless returned or automatically sign you up to a service. In those cases, the customer is not liable and actually gets to keep the thing as if it were a gift.

          Unfortunately not many customers (or companies!) are aware of this so it's just unnecessary aggravation and money wasted for everyone concerned at the end of the day.

          ¹ I do not recall the specific directive now and won't be searching it, and pointing to its transposition in my local civil code will likely not be useful.

      2. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: Little to do with automatic renewal

        "The only way to deal with the domain trading low life is to boycott any of their harebrained schemes."

        Suing them for trademark infringement might be a better way (if your trademark is X, then claim they are infringing it by registering X.uk without your permission).

    3. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Flame

      Why is there a need for the doubling of names by direct .uk registration in the first place? It's only for registrars to make money.

      If there was a valid non-commercial reason then why not just register every .co.uk as its parallel .uk for free for the life of the .co.uk.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        "Why is there a need for the doubling of names by direct .uk registration in the first place? It's only for registrars to make money."

        No need to double - 2 years free gives you the time to switch to .uk without additional cost.

        A straight .uk is better than the relatively pointless .co addition imo.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "A straight .uk is better than the relatively pointless .co addition imo."

          So what happens when a .org.uk and .co.uk both want the same .uk? Or a .ac.uk or .gov.uk etc etc etc?

          It's the bare .uk that is the pointless addition/

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            "So what happens when a .org.uk and .co.uk both want the same .uk? Or a .ac.uk or .gov.uk etc etc etc?"

            For now it's existing .co.uk owners that gets first call on the corresponding .uk - and they are reserved for a while.

            Going forwards I imagine it will be the same as happens now with .com. First to register will get it initially, and if other parties want it then the one with the most money or a valid trademark claim generally ends up with it.

            I expect s.co.uk and f.co.uk etc. are worth rather more now!

        2. d3vy Silver badge

          "A straight .uk is better than the relatively pointless .co addition imo."

          But the .co has a specific purpose, it tells us that the site is intended for commerce (as with .com).

          "No need to double - 2 years free gives you the time to switch to .uk without additional cost."

          Could you send me a list of the .co.uk addresses that you have registered at the moment, I need to put them all on back order so in two years I can demonstrate why you actually need both! :)

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            "But the .co has a specific purpose, it tells us that the site is intended for commerce (as with .com)."

            That was it's intended purpose for sure. But it's often used for other things and it's scarcely necessary.

            I suspect in the long term the convenience from say "Tesco.uk" versus "Tesco.co.uk" will win out for general use - but of course large brands will still register both.

            As to my own .co.uk I use them to access my nas and Exchange server, so .uk is an instant win of 3 fewer characters to type in on the rare occasional I'm not using an app or a shortcut!

    4. tin 2

      Putting every other point aside, I've turned off the automatic renewal on all my 123-reg domains 3 times over the years. I have the screenshots. They automagically get turned back on.

      1. FIA

        Putting every other point aside, I've turned off the automatic renewal on all my 123-reg domains 3 times over the years. I have the screenshots. They automagically get turned back on.

        ....then move them.

        Rewarding bad behaviour with money doesn't make it stop.

        1. tin 2

          I was in the middle of moving them when the parent company borged the place I was moving them to (and have subsequently issued the same "offer" as 123-reg. I will be moving them again, 123-reg ones first.

    5. TheVogon Silver badge

      "It strikes me that a lot of people moaning about "having to pay for these domain names in 2 years time" aren't aware of turning the automatic renewal off on these domain names."

      LCN defaults to it turned off. I just registered my reserved .uk domains with them for free for 2 years. I get the choice though - they don't register them unless I say so!

    6. Oh Homer
      Mushroom

      Nominet is behind this

      Given some of the comments below, it looks like this is some sort of "initiative" driven by Nominet to promote their latest fad TLD, since a large number of supposedly unrelated registrars all seem to be using uncannily similar spiels.

      IMO these registrars are certainly in violation of the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act, the Data Protection Act, and probably more besides, but as the instigator of this criminal activity Nominet should also be held accountable.

      Therein lies a fairly large problem, though, as Nominet seems to be a law unto itself, with basically no oversight whatsoever, much like the EPO.

      Of course, referring to Nominet as though it's somehow a separate entity from the registrars it's supposed to regulate, belies the truth that it is in fact "controlled by a very small number of large internet registrars". So going after Nominet actually requires chasing the registrars that control it. And where does one go to complain about those registrars? You guessed it ... Nominet.

      That's a nice little racket they have there.

      Might be time to have a quick word with the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, and see if they can put this dog back on a leash.

    7. veti Silver badge

      If I provide some service - say product support, for example - through "myfantasticservices.co.uk", and my customers get into the habit of just typing "myfantasticservices.uk", then when the registration on the latter expires, I'm going to have a lot of pissed off customers. I might extend it just to avoid that.

      That's why this is an underhanded move. It's an attempt to lock people in.

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        "If I provide some service - say product support, for example - through "myfantasticservices.co.uk", and my customers get into the habit of just typing "myfantasticservices.uk", then when the registration on the latter expires, I'm going to have a lot of pissed off customers. I might extend it just to avoid that.

        That's why this is an underhanded move. It's an attempt to lock people in."

        While I agree, its also quite a cynical view to take, they have emailed with plenty of notice so that you can tell them NOT to do it.

        To be fair the other registrar that I use actually phoned me and asked if I wanted them and I said yes (Ill note that they are actually £3 a year cheaper than 123 for uk domains too!)

        Given the scenario you mention if they hadnt given the option you'd be a bit pissed off if you didn't buy it and someone set up a site advertising handy-Js on myfantasticservices.uk

  2. silks

    Cynical revenue raising attempt, luckily I saw the email and disabled the .UK registrations in Control Panel. These kind of tricks hardly make punters think better of 123-reg.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Someone thinking better of 123? They need to share whatever they are smoking.

    2. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Thanks for the reminder. I've just done the same.

    3. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
      Joke

      ... but surely they will not make anyone think worse of them ? I mean, surely that's impossible ?

    4. inmypjs Silver badge

      "think better"

      I got the email - there website was crawling and throwing certificate errors something about connection resets. Eventually I try and fail to log in which after a while I find in some emails I ignored is caused by my completely random 24 character mixed case alphanumeric password being considered insecure by the asshats and been invalidated. The asshats send me a link by email where I can enter a new password with no other verification required. Adding a $ to the end of my existing password I can now log in and continue to wait at least 30 seconds for every page load.

      Sadly it doesn't get any better. I only use this domain for email and have an email account with 1&1. The domain registration is up for renewal in a couple of months so I thought it a good time to move it to 1&1. I investigate moving it to 1&1 and can't and can't find a price either. After 15 minutes on the phone to 1&1 support I am told I can't transfer the domain because it is registered with then as an external domain for the email account and I would have to remove the domain which will delete the accounts and all emails associated with it then transfer the domain and set it all up again (and do without email for however long that takes). Their support still couldn't tell me what the domain charges would be either.

      So if I really want to move it from 123 where is cheap and competent?

      1. tin 2

        "So if I really want to move it from 123 where is cheap and competent"

        This is a tough one, because after much research on who to move to, I hadn't even finished a lengthy and painful migration from 123-reg to TSOhost, and they go and borg TSOhost too. Chances of that happening again are high.

        Also 123-reg are competent (brilliant IMHO) at a tech support level, it's just their policies that suck arse.

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          "Also 123-reg are competent (brilliant IMHO) at a tech support level, it's just their policies that suck arse."

          They deleted TWO of my virtual servers along with THOUSANDS of others last year by mistake... So Im going to disagree with you there!

          On the other hand Ive been with them for about ten years and thats the only real issue Ive had so I stuck with them - I spent a lot of time shopping round and couldn't find anyone to beat them on price for what I get/need from them.

      2. alexdonald

        "So if I really want to move it from 123 where is cheap and competent?"

        Gandi get my vote - bit of a learning curve on the way their systems work, but good value, decent visibility of options with sane defaults, tech support has been a bit dismissive of my misunderstandings, but prompt and effective nonetheless.

        1. tin 2

          Interesting point here. 123-reg support have been genuinely utterly fabulous throughout my many years with them (latterly with far fewer domains). Including patiently explaining when I -or a customer I'm assisting - has royally ballsed up.

          It's a real shame the company is run by idiots.

    5. pleb

      Maybe they did you a favour?

      Cynical, possibly. But if you do actually trade on a .co.uk site, customers etc, are you happy to let the .uk doppleganger go to someone else? Like who? Just maybe, despite themselves, 123 have done you a favour of sorts. The real charlatans are those who created .uk - for what purpose?

      1. moiety

        Re: Maybe they did you a favour?

        I investigate moving it to 1&1 and can't and can't find a price either.

        I always keep domain registry and the working bit (website/email etc) separate because it's easier to move hosts then. Having to move hosts AND extract the domain makes it all complicated and time-consuming. Separate domains, you just change the nameservers to your new hosts and you're back in the game immediately.

  3. No Quarter

    How much

    I have been a customer of theirs for 18 years but am seriously looking for somewhere else after their repeated price hikes. .co.uk now £23.98 for two years.

    Have never bought a .uk name by accident though. Even for free.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: How much

      ".co.uk now £23.98 for two years."

      A quick look shows £8.95 for 2 years at LCN.

    2. Chloe Cresswell

      Re: How much

      I've been offered all the .uk's for the domains I have.

      Including the .co.uk's that have expired 3 months ago and are no longer in use/paid for.

      Interesting "You let this domain expire! But we want to register the .uk version of it for you for free"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a crowded market, vote with your feet.

  5. Anonymous Blowhard

    On the plus side, at least you won't be claim-jumped of you do want your .uk domain.

    I have a [surname].org.uk domain, and fancied having the [surname].uk domain (according to the rules .org.uk has second dibs on .uk domains after .co.uk) but it seems to have been registered by a non-UK company operating a "domains for resale" business (http://www.amazingdomains.co.uk/) in contravention of the rules for .uk domains.

    1. ACZ

      Or did the .co.uk domain owner register the .uk and then transfer it?

      1. Anonymous Blowhard

        @ACZ

        I thought of this, and I'm going to contact them to find out; even if this is the case, registering a .uk domain purely in the hope of reselling it is in contravention of Nominet's rules, so it can be challenged through their Dispute Resolution Service.

    2. moiety

      [surname].org.uk domain

      Not at all related, but I have just had a spendid idea. I shall buy moietys.org and just put a picture of my penis on here. That'll save me loads of time when texting/applying for jobs/etc.

  6. Oscar Pops

    Down with this sort of thing

    "Here, we've reserved you some products you didn't ask for and will charge your card details you gave us for a totally different purchase automatically unless you tell us not to!" - is this even legal? I dunno, but I've asked Trading Standards to have a peek, FWIW.

    1. Oscar Pops

      Re: Down with this sort of thing

      I tried forwarding the mail from them to Trading Standards, interestingly it stayed in my outbox all day, refusing to transmit, while other mail was fine. Just sent it with no problem from a different email account - one that isn't hosted by 123-Reg.

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Down with this sort of thing

      "Here, we've reserved you some products you didn't ask for and will charge your card details you gave us for a totally different purchase automatically unless you tell us not to!" - is this even legal? I dunno, but I've asked Trading Standards to have a peek, FWIW"

      Not quite..

      "We are going to reserve you some products related to others that you already own, let us know within x weeks if you dont want us to do this, if you change your mind you have TWO YEARS to opt out"

      Ill bet trading standards will be all over it...

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Down with this sort of thing

      ""Here, we've reserved you some products you didn't ask for and will charge your card details you gave us for a totally different purchase automatically unless you tell us not to!" - is this even legal?"

      It's not legal / enforceable as I understand it - unless there are very specific terms in your contract allowing for this - which seems unlikely. I'm sure they will be aware that it's potentially naughty, so I would hope that if you complained about any resulting charges - even a long time afterwards they would refund them without issue. They likely have taken a calculated risk to make a lot more via inertia of those that keep them, or don't notice!

      I don't really have an issue with them registering the domains automatically, but then automatically renewing them at a cost is definitely not OK without specific permission.

      As it's a technology company someone there must have read this article - if they were not asked for comment - and I would expect an innocent mistake to be immediately reacted to with an apology / comment, and corrective action taken. Therefore as it currently stands it appears intended. If I were a customer it would likely make me consider if I wanted to remain one,

  7. Dabooka Silver badge

    Furtehr reason to leave

    I believe Mythical Beasts was the suggestion on here last month

  8. Dan McIntyre

    Well I'm pretty happy with it - I got an email this morning to tell me they're registering danielmcintyre.uk automatically for me because I hold danielmcintyre.co.uk and this is a freebie for the first 2 years. After that it's like what? About a tenner a year if that? Man some people are only happy when they have something to whinge about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      is that danielmcintyre.uk or danielmcintyre.co.uk the notorious spam, phishing and malware hosting site.

      I hear you do constantly updated lists of torrents for free downloads to music and unreleased films.

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      .

      See what I did there....

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        is that danielmcintire.co.uk or danielmcintyre.co.uk the notorious spam, phishing and malware hosting site.

        See what I did there? Same difference.... Not a new problem.

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

          "same difference" ????

          seeing on these very pages the abitrary expansion of the techie "same / diff" saying into the gormless (and meaningless) "same difference" hurts my eyes. I think I need hops-and-barley-based recovery medicine at lunchtime.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      No problem.

      I'm going to* sign up you for every free trial I can find on the Internet that turns into an auto-renew pay for package after a period of time, is that okay?

      "Hey, it's only a tenner." is the refuge of those people who took a tenner without permission.

      I don't even let people send me an email unsolicited, what makes you think I allow an existing supplier to sign me up with a product I didn't ask for, that's publicly visible, carries my name and/or trademark, will be registered to me as the responsible user, and which will ask for payment at some point (if it doesn't just auto-renew with the base contract, like such things sometimes do) without my explicit consent?

      Hey, man, did you like your U2 album?

      *P.S. not a threat, you understand, I don't prank people. It's to show my point.

    3. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      According to the whois database, they did not register danielmcintyre.uk for you, though.

  9. alain williams Silver badge

    Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

    This makes unsolicited goods something that the supplier cannot demand payment for. This is 123reg trying to indulge in inertia selling ... so if they renew the domain without the customer saying they want it: then they are acting illegally.

    Not that acting illegally seems to bother many businesses these days.

    If they grab the money from your bank account: just get the bank to reverse the charge and let 123reg whistle for their money.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

      One time I actually received a parcel from a supplier that I hadn't ordered.

      Inside was a ton of random stuff that I had not ordered or had any need for.

      I phoned the company. Told them. Phoned them again. Told them. Etc. Recorded details of every call. "Someone will come and pick them up".

      They came to collect many months later, and I told them: "Sorry. They're mine now. I sold them."

      They argued. At which point I passed over to my barrister-in-training wife who ended the conversation rather quickly after she pointed out the relevant laws.

      Basically after (60/90?) days, if you have notified the company of their error, they become your property. So we flogged them on eBay.

      But to be honest, I don't WANT the .uk to become my property. I'll don't see how you can force someone to take possession of something, nor how you can do that without their consent just by having an opt-out. "I have a ton of old fridges. They're yours now. Remove them by the end of the week, they're stinking up the place." That's not how it works.

      Were I a 123-Reg customer (haven't been since they screwed me over several times when paying customers demanded I use them), I'd fold this into my "pet legal / complaint project" folder. I don't mind sending emails/letters back and forth arguing about the legality of it. And, no, I won't be "opting out". I'd wait until they made it my property and deliberate never click Accept on anything they pushed my way, and then complain my backside off when they claimed it was mine.

      Pretty much, it's a nice stress-relieving, intellectual pursuit backed by the satisfaction of pretty much winning every time and costing these companies more money than just leaving me alone or doing what I reasonably asked would have cost them.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

        I'll don't see how you can force someone to take possession of something, nor how you can do that without their consent just by having an opt-out.

        There commonly isn't an opt-out. Like when Virgin raise their charges yet again, and throw in something you never asked for and will never want.

        Dammit, even the notorious Microsoft Tax has long been an annoyance for many.

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

        "Basically after (60/90?) days, if you have notified the company of their error, they become your property. So we flogged them on eBay."

        Surely if actually sent to you then they are "unsolicited goods" and are your property for free anyway?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

          "Surely if actually sent to you then they are "unsolicited goods" and are your property for free anyway?"

          Only if you can prove they were meant for you as a speculative sale. The law allows for errors and mistakes, hence the "cooling off" period where they can arrange collection. If you don't notify them and just keep them for yourself, you could be accused of theft although the sender would have to demonstrate a reasonable mistake was made and a reasonable attempt was made to contact you. It's like finding a tenner in the street. Legally you should hand it in to the police and if it's not claimed they should offer it to you after whatever time period the law allows for.

          A while back I found a sports bag full of tools (looked like plumbers stuff) in the front garden the morning after a number of cars/vans had been broken into overnight. Handed it over to the police in case they could use it as evidence or if the owner reported it missing. A few months later they phoned up and asked me if I wanted it since it was now "abandoned" and could be legally mine if I so wished. I declined in this case.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

            "Only if you can prove they were meant for you as a speculative sale. The law allows for errors and mistakes"

            So if you receive a parcel addressed to you with goods, but no indication of who it's from you just have to keep them for 60 days?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is wrong and the terms and conditions should they allow it are unacceptable.

  11. themoose

    TSOHOST just did the same thing

    TSOHOST just did the same thing. Does this actually come from Nominet?

    ---------------------------

    We are giving you a .uk domain free for 2 years!

    We are in the process of securing nottheactualname.uk and any other .uk domain names you have rights of registration to. These will be available for you to manage from November 2017 and will remain yours free of charge for 2 years.

    Why am I being given FREE domain name(s)?

    As a .co.uk domain name owner you are entitled to its .uk counterpart until June 2019. After this time, anyone can register these domains and compete with your business.

    We do not want you to risk losing your .uk domain(s) to a competitor – so we have taken action to ensure your domains are secure for the next 2 years.

    ----------------------------

    And so on...

    This might mean that I, and my customers, just got about 70 new domain names between us. Also means I need to click "disable auto-renew" followed by "yes I mean it" on about 70 new domain names.

    1. wiggers

      Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

      Vidahost also :-(

      1. Camilla Smythe

        Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

        Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

        Vidahost also :-(

        Yes they did. If you want to 'opt-out' of it you have to click a...

        my.vidahost account link in the email which links to...

        http://my.volume.email/t/r-l-blah-blah-t/

        I always click on every link I receive via email. Especially those that look like someone is going to sell me cheaper Viagra.

        Oh. If you access your VidaHost account you do not get the opportunity to tell them to get lost. Best offer is you buy the .uk domain for £5.99

    2. barstewardsquad

      Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

      EvoHosting too.

      The only concern will be a need for another certificate if I want to SSL the site separately. Other than that I'm not worried as there is currently no auto-renewal.

      1. tin 2

        Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

        All owned by Paragon which is owned by Hosteurope which is owned by GoDaddy. So that's why they're all doing it IMHO.

        1. Weeble

          Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

          "All owned by Paragon which is owned by Hosteurope which is owned by GoDaddy. So that's why they're all doing it IMHO."

          Does anybody publish lists of who-owns-who?

          It might save a bit of pain on any re-hosting exercise.

      2. David McCarthy

        Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

        ECO host have same parent comapny as TSO

    3. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

      FreeParking sent me an email saying I could have one free .uk domain to match every .co.uk domain I owned. I had to have registered the address by a certain date and some other T&C's. However they weren't doing it automatically you had to claim your free .uk domain. As I don't have any .co.uk domains, i junked it.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

      > "TSOHOST just did the same thing. Does this actually come from Nominet?"

      From the article: "Nominet are running a promotion where .co.uk owners can register the corresponding .uk variant for two years for free."

      So yes, it's a Nominet "promotion".

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

      "After this time, anyone can register these domains and compete with your business."

      That sounds rather like "nice business you got there mate, it'd be a shame if something happened to it"

  12. GlenP Silver badge

    The registrar we use, GetDotted, have offered the free registration. Its entirely optional and opt-in.

    That's how it should be.

  13. Sykowasp

    Names Co sent the same type of email as well.

  14. Lee D Silver badge

    I'm sorry.

    Where did they get the data to register the WHOIS for the new .uk domain?

    Did they obtain customer consent to use that data for that purpose? Did the customer agree to the terms and conditions of Nominet for use of that domain? Did, in fact, 123-Reg register for these domains without the trademark holder's consent, or provide false representation in doing so?

    Oops.

    Whether or not it had cost me a penny, there would be a letter winging its way to the ICO if I were a customer.

    There's a difference between "we can do that for you" and "we have done that for you" as Apple found out with a certain album.

    Just because you give something for free doesn't mean you can just sign me up without my consent.

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      They are getting round this by warning users in advance that they can opt out...

      So they have not done it automatically but they WILL unless you opt out now.

      I got the same email, Im going to let them do it and then disable the autorenew, that way it costs them something and me nothing - nothing more than my time anyway...

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        not really. that stull doesnt clear how they trawled the data for a separate product that you have been signed up for.

      2. Lee D Silver badge

        "You can opt-out" is not the same, legally speaking, as "You have opted-in".

        I didn't opt-in. Therefore you don't have permission.

        And once GPDR comes in, it's even more explicit about this to reflect current case-law in this area.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A 123 Reg customer poll showed that 90% of you do not want to risk losing your .uk domains to a competitor and expect 123 Reg to do something about this - so we listened to you and have taken action to ensure your domains are secure for the next 2 years."

    Survey size? I was never asked.

    1. Oscar Pops

      Ah, it's interesting, that one. The poll was run for "24 hours" on their "support site" and "attracted 557 responses" (presumably predominately from customers who need support for whatever reason) - it doesn't say all responses were from customers, or .co.uk holders, or .co.uk holders who weren't already aware of the situation (i.e. customers who might appreciate the "protection"). It says "90% of respondents with .co.uk domains" - but not how many of the 557 hold .co.uk domains.

      So, benefit of the doubt - let's say every single respondent was a unique customer with a .co.uk who was not aware of the situation. That would suggest 90% = 501 customers. Elsewhere on their website they claim "one million websites use our services" and "over 3 million domains registered". So let's say they have 1 million customers using 3 million domains. Those 501 therefore represent 0.05% of their total customer base. This is described by them as "extensive customer research".

      1. The Mole

        And of course it really does depend what the question is. "Are you concerned about the fact that if you didn't register your .uk domain name then a competitor will steal it and post such terrible stuff on it that the PR backlash will drive you bankrupt in HOURS!?"

        - Yes I'm really scared

        - No I'm a terrorist sympathiser and that is perfectly fine

  16. GingerOne

    Oops, seems like I misread that email then! I saw it the other day and read it as I need to log in and say yes I want it before the two years are up otherwise I could potentially lose the domain to someone else.

    Thanks el Reg, potters off to 123-reg...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had the same from Netcetera a few weeks ago. Although there wasn't any notification, just an Invoice for £0.00. I had to contact their support to find out what the F was going on.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      i would beacuse that invoice wont be for 0.00 in two years.

  18. the-sbray

    This actually is against UK law and comes under the "Unsolicited goods and services act". As far as the Act is concerned, unsolicited goods and/or services can be treated as unconditional gifts therefore 123-Reg may have quite a few court cases to fight in 2 years time when they ask their customers for payment.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      "therefore 123-Reg may have quite a few court cases to fight in 2 years time when they ask their customers for payment."

      If they really are automatically signing you up AND autorenewing with a charge then I can't see they have a leg to stand on to enforce it.

      However they might well be simply planning to refund on demand and likely will still make bundles from those who don't notice or decide to keep them....

      Signing you up free automatically I don't have a major issue with (although opting in would be better), but the auto renewing for something you didn't specifically agree to seems terribly shoddy.

      As I understand it, it is also illegal to sign you up in this way under the Consumer Contract Regulations that came into force in 2014...

  19. Bob Hoskins
    Thumb Down

    123-reg are pure evil

    Used them on and off over the years - you're always getting these surprise sort of bills.

  20. Crimperman1996

    They're not the only ones (but they are the most irritating)

    I've had emails from other registrars doing the same thing.

    The interesting difference with 123-reg is that they've signed me for two free years of .uk domains for every .co.uk I have ever registered through them - including ones I had previously let expire because (you know) I didn't want them any more.

    So whereas I may have once owned say widgets.co.uk and two years ago expired it (you can't actually say "let it go entirely" with 123-reg), now they're going to register widgets.uk for me. How kind!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: They're not the only ones (but they are the most irritating)

      "So whereas I may have once owned say widgets.co.uk and two years ago expired it (you can't actually say "let it go entirely" with 123-reg), now they're going to register widgets.uk for me. How kind!"

      That could get even more interesting if it later turns out someone else has since registered widgets.co.uk and now you have widgets.uk and they didn't properly check on the status of your ex-domains.

  21. Nicky69

    Personally whenever I need to pay 123reg (or anyone similar) for a domain I use a virtual credit card, loaded with only enough credit for the transaction. Then, any attempt to reuse it always fails.

    Works well for car insurance renewals as well - since they are likely to try to charge your card for another year (at a rip off renewal price, of course) even though you've told them you're going elsewhere.

  22. batfastad

    Customer retention -> vendor lock-in

    By automatically registering the .uk for customers, they increase the number of domains that customers would have to transfer to another registrar should they be inclined to leave 123-reg.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Customer retention -> vendor lock-in

      "By automatically registering the .uk for customers, they increase the number of domains that customers would have to transfer to another registrar should they be inclined to leave 123-reg."

      Domain transfer is selective. You only update the IPS tags for the one you want to move...

  23. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Happy

    Just to go against the flow...

    I would actually be happy if my registrar auto-registered .uk domains for me as it would save me the effort of doing that myself.

    I do appreciate why others are not happy and I don't think the .uk was at all necessary. It's just another bastard trick to extort money out of us given that if one doesn't pay someone else will get them. Like many others I don't really have much choice but to claim them.

    I'm now going to have to trawl through the spam to see if there's 'something I do want' I missed amongst all the crap that I know I don't.

  24. Dave Bell

    Lies, damned lies, and a bit of statistics.

    Let's start with the statistics. If it was a properly done survey, it's enough people to get a reasonably accurate percentage. If that's why they chose the defaults they did, the sample size isn't a problem. But it doesn't sound like a random sample, and that's the killer. All the maths depends on the sample being random. There are other aspects, such as the precise wording of the question, that can warp the results, and there are ways of testing for that, but it all depends on random samples.

    Oh, and there are ways of deciding if a set of numbers is random, or behaving that way. A good pseudo-random number generator is good because it looks random. But if you used the same seed value, you'd get the same results. Sometimes that can be useful, other times not.

    Now the lies. My domain is a ,org,uk and I got the email giving me the offer. It's not a .co.uk and it's not something all that special. If somebody wants the plain ,uk I'm not all that bothered. I set things up in the last century because I suspected something could suffer a mammary orientation challenge, and I felt it was worth having a consistent email address.

    So the big lie? You'll never change your ISP

  25. d3vy Silver badge

    The list of outages omits the time that they deleted all of the active virtual servers during a clean up instead of the inactive ones.... and the backups that belong to them...

  26. aidanstevens
    Thumb Down

    The most galling bit for me was the subject title:

    Important - We have taken action to protect your business' .uk domain name

    Needless to say, I told them where to shove their "free" domain name.

  27. Jed T

    Just move

    I got fed up of 123's BS a couple of years ago and just moved all my domains away.

    As someone else said, just vote with your feet/money.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We're talking £12 unless you click a button. Hardly worth getting your tits in a twist.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      "We're talking £12 unless you click a button. Hardly worth getting your tits in a twist."

      Per domain. So could be quite expensive for some...

  29. Saul Dobney
    Joke

    Could be worse...

    British internet company Bitchief is particularly put out.

  30. Roopee

    LCN is independent, Kualo too

    I can recommend LCN for domains (and they're offering you your .uk for free but not forcing it on you) and their customer service is excellent. I don't use them for hosting however because their e-mail doesn't support default/catchall addresses (deliberately, apparently; I asked!). If you're looking to move your hosting too, I moved mine to Kualo; they are slightly more expensive but also have excellent service and full cPanel facilities.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: LCN is independent, Kualo too

      "I can recommend LCN for domains"

      I can second that. Cheap, stable, decent management tools on the website and fast service on the one occasion I needed a question answered.

  31. Mothballs

    123-Robbed

    I haven't used 123-Reg since they sold one of my fully paid-up, parked domains to someone else. They said sorry and blamed a system error, but that was enough to show me exactly the kind of outfit I was dealing with.

  32. David McCarthy

    Move domains to smaller company - we did years ago after probs with FastHosts, 123reg, LCN

    A basic rule I continue to pratice to great effect (after 25+ years in corporate IT) - wherever possible, stick to companies close in size to you - your business matters more to them.

    For that reason we've used Beaming in Hastigs as our ISP since 2004 (best service possible from Steve, Marcus and the gang), and FastVision/SimpleReg in Cheltenham for our domains (Andy is a great guy).

    Just moved hosting from TSO (very poor response times and too many call-centre agents who know very little) - they bought out a great little company in Edinburgh we'd been using for 8 years.

    Now with Certa (Oswestry) and AboveCloud (Newquay) - great teams at both.

    Avoid the big boys - go with the smaller independants.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. Richard Cranium

    Too many price hikes from 123

    With a few hundred domains there I tolerated the earlier price hikes and 123's occasional cockups but now renewals have reached twice what some others charge the price differential is too much. Its a major PITA moving away, partly because the external transfer link at 123 is well buried and their interface is slow but I'm going for it.

    Yes the bare .uk is a problem, completely unwanted by domain name owners, just a way to double the cost. It's regarded with skepticism by many web users, they know .co.uk and think .uk must be something dodgy. If you were to get your hands on, say tesco.uk you'd have their lawyers on your doorstep so it's just a tax on smaller or less aware businesses who might find someone else grabbed it but can't afford lawyers. Nominet may have created a potential massive security risk with all kinds of crooks grabbing the bare UK versions of legitimate .co.uk businesses and using them for all kinds of scam. Fact is Nominet screwed up (no surprise there...) and the right way for them to fix it is to provide the bare uk variant to existing .co.uk owners for a nominal fee.

    Every domain name owner will have had the scam registrar emails along the lines of "Please get in touch urgently if you have any objection to us selling the .cn and .asia variants of your name to an interested third party". The aim of the scam being to encourage you to buy the names from them. The very least Nominet should do with bare uk is to adopt a similar approach, if not they're at risk of becoming the "scammers friend".

    Despite the poor performance, occasional cockup and poor UI the 123reg interface did at least allow me to do everything I needed, some alternative offerings are less flexible but there are ways around that. Moving a .co.uk from 123 involves a few minutes work and saves several pounds a year per domain. That's a cost-effective use of my time. About 2 dozen shifted so far.

    Anyway, I must thank forums.theregister for some useful contributions to the discussion and helping me make my decision.

  34. JasonAtNetcetera

    Netcetera Domain Registrations

    Hi All,

    Jason from Netcetera here!

    I noticed that we'd been mentioned within this thread and just wanted to shed some light on .uk Registrations.

    Netcetera recently took the decision to make .uk Registrations available FREE of charge to rights holders and will be doing so on an opt-in basis. All of our valued domain holders who are entitled will receive an e-mail giving them a link to click on and choose which, if any, domains they wish to register FREE of charge for two years.

    I completely understand how frustrating situations can be where you are pushed in to a registration, especially when it is going to cost you after 2 Years.

    To any of our domain holders on this thread - if you do have any queries - please don't hesitate to get in touch.

  35. silks

    Leaving

    We have some legacy domains with 123-Reg at work, I'll be migrating these to another registrar shortly :)

    1. gonetomars

      Re: Leaving

      They'll probably charge you £10 per name to do this, so don't let them create those .uk's just yet!

  36. gonetomars

    Once these "free" .uk domains have been auto-registered so kindly for you, if you decide to move your names to another registrar in the meantime, because you're sick of 123-Reg, then the transfer away fee of £10 will no doubt be applied to every name - Ouch!

  37. MrKrotos

    Anyone else had them reg'd even though you set to not register?

    123 seem to have gone ahead and started the reg process for these .uk domains even though we set all of them to NOT interested.

    Now we have a huge list of .uk domains that we didnt even want!

    Anyone seeing this?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    123reg again...

    I know this thread is ancient but someone might find it...

    Having already moved all my .co.uk names away, next I tried to transfer my "free" .uk names away from 123reg. Most worked OK but for several they won't release the tag, no explanation just an error message. Not tackled the issue with support yet.

    Can't register the names with my other registrar although they now hold the corresponding .co.uk

  39. Richard Cranium

    More 123reg...

    Some time ago I registered a bare .uk name at 123reg (free). Some time later, when I looked at the registrant info I found someone else's contact details but in my account.

    I hadn't checked at the time but it turns out the corresponding .co.uk version is registered at 123reg and was registered before 29 October 2013 so the .co.uk owner has a right to buy the bare .uk variant. Luckily I'd not started using the name and I guess I'll leave it to expire - but I seem to have found a hole in their security, and I guess 123reg are in breach of GDPR because I can see their other client's details

  40. janella-barmer

    I don't think it's a right way.

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