Note: the following is based on my own interpretation of the Service Agreement
and terms listed on the NameDemo.com website and is not represented as undeniable
fact. What you are reading is opinion -- readers are encouraged to visit
the NameDemo.com site and review the relevant sections
Everything's free on the Net these days!
First we had web hosting at places like Geocities and Xoom. Then came free
email from the likes of Hotmail and Yahoo! Need internet access? -- hey, you
can get that for free as well! Want the latest Metalica album? No problem --
Napster will help you get that for free too.
And now, that last bastion of "you've got to pay" -- securing the domain
name of your choice, is also free.
The US domain name registrar
has launched a new site
where it is giving away .com, .net and .org domain name registrations for free!
Yes, if you drop into
you'll find that you can register any name not already taken under one of the
three generic top-level domains at no cost.
Sounds too good to be true?
Well I believe it is, for several reasons.
First up, although you register the name, you are not the assigned registrant.
That is to say that Namedemo.com will become the legal registrant and I can't
see anything on the site that guarantees you any rights to transfer the domain
into your own name or automatically take over as registrant after the free
Here's an excerpt from the policy:
"As part of the NameDemo.com service, NameDemo.com grants you a limited, non-exclusive,
personal, non-transferable, non-assignable, revocable license to use the .com, .net, or .org domain
name selected by you..."
The worry with this is that if you take advantage of this offer and, by design
or by good luck, manage to create a presence on the Net that becomes very
popular, there is no guarantee that NameDemo won't then demand some suitably
high fee to hand over the name at a later date. What's worse, they could
simply take it away from you and give it to someone else without warning,
reason or penalty.
You also run the risk that, because you aren't the legal registrant, and because
the registration is not transferable to another registrar, NameDemo.com could,
at any time, introduce whatever fees it felt were acceptable with its only
responsibility being to provide you with 10 days notice.
Secondly -- in using this service you are saying "spam me please." Check this clause
"You further acknowledge and agree that NameDemo.com may make publicly
available, or directly available to third parties, some, or all, of the information you provide, for
targeted marketing and other purposes as required or permitted by applicable laws"
And if you get into a dispute, or need to communicate with them at any
time, be very careful about what you say or this clause could bite you:
"Communications with NameDemo.com are not private and may be published either in their
entirety or in edited form at any time, at the sole discretion of NameDemo.com".
The final torpedo that makes this "free" service just too expensive to consider
is the fact that although you can have your domain name pointed to
any webserver you like, it appears as if your pages are still going to be framed
by some rather nasty advertising and promotion from NameDemo.com.
It's pretty easy to see how this idea could earn a lot of money for NameDemo.com,
after all, the bulk cost of registrations is very, very low -- just a few dollars
or so. Even a modestly active site will probably return that amount of money
in a year from the mandatory advertising frame. Then let's not
forget just how much an opt-in mailing list of the type that NameDemo.com
will be accumulating can earn each time it's sold.
And of course, if the main plan turns to custard and doesn't make any money,
they can always give you 10 days notice and start charging whatever they want
for the service. And, because the registration is not transferable, you
won't even be able to shift to a cheaper registrar.
It would appear to me that if the money-lust got too great, they could even
publish the traffic figures for the busiest domain names and then auction them
to the highest bidder -- regardless of any complaints from the original users
who suddenly found themselves with no rights at all to that name.
All in all -- it's very slick!
But... is it a good deal for someone looking to register a domain name on
Well, if you really don't care about the advertising frame, the fact that you
don't actually have any rights to the name, and don't mind the prospect of
having your mailbox filled with massive amounts of spam -- then go for it. But
then you're probably also the kind of person who walks on broken glass for
However, I think the vast majority of people, and certainly anyone planning
to create any kind of online business, would be well advised to take a big
detour around this "free" service -- it's way too expensive!
Unfortunately, I suspect that P.T. Barnum was right and we can expect to see
a lot of vanity-domains registered so that people can use their own
name as the last part of their email address (damn it, brucesimpson.com has gone
Really Worth A Look
If you haven't already seen it, take a few minutes to download what is being
heralded as a breakthrough short film making in the form of a movie which
uses nothing more than regular desktop PCs and software to create some
amazingly realistic special effects. And it's got a great storyline too! Note... watch
the film using the link on the front page before you look at the rest of the
site or you'll spoil the story.
The movie and website is at
As always, your feedback is welcomed.