Here’s the story (and it has a happy ending– actually two happy endings):
Back in January of 2015, we made a mistake. Being a registry operator is more complex and complicated than some might think. We have to manage a massive database of existing and yet to be created domains names, and track them through a network of global registrars, making sure each name is only sold once and for the right price. Most of our names are sold for our standard registration fee, typically $10-$15 per year, but we also have a number of premium names that have a higher first-year premium fee.
Back in 2015, we were moving 100 or so registry reserved premium names over to be registered and made available through our Startup Club program, and during that process, a mistake was made leaving these names unreserved and unregistered for a little more than a day. One of those names was the great name, Credit.club, and respected domain investor and web developer Bruce Marler happened to search for the name during that brief window. Needless to say, he was delighted to see such a great name available at the standard hand registration fee. So he registered the name, and being an expert at rapid WordPress development, he quickly set up a great, informative website offering valuable financial tips and information.
By the time we noticed our error and that the name had been registered, Credit.club was up and running and was already being promoted by Bruce and his team. While, as the registry, we technically had the right to recall the name due to the mistake, we chose to respect the fact that Bruce registered and was using the name in good faith, and we had, after all, made a mistake. At the time this was widely reported on and became a global story of the valuable name that got away…from the registry. We were glad the name was being put to use and wished its new owner all the best. Happy Ending number one.
Today, as reported on DomainGang, it appears Bruce has successfully sold Credit.club to a Russian financial institution, and it appears they will be putting the name to good use. Congrats to Bruce on the great end-user sale! Happy Ending number two!
By the way, it is no surprise to us that Bruce found an end-user buyer in Russia. .CLUB has been very popular there and we have sold many great premium names through our Russian registrar partners. In addition, we’ve seen a lot of mainstream businesses in Russia using a .CLUB domain, such as the supermarket chain Smartory.club.