I am nearing the end of the process of migrating 120+ domain names out of my control/management and into the hands/ownership of their respective owners. This is being done for a number of reasons….
1. old practice: this was a service/convenience I offered to early web clients — it was much easier for me to make Nameserver edits and tackle renewals on behalf of each client in the years after the turn of the millennium (early 2000s). Over the years, though, domain registrars made it more and more tough to actually give domain owners their rightful ownership, because in order for me to manage the domains, I had to be listed as the Registrant (Owner). This could potentially be a sticky situation on a number of levels.
2. no longer an advantage: I charged $20/yr. for renewal; the actual cost was $12-$20 per domain, depending on the type (.ORG domains often are more expensive, for some odd reason… even though they are often owned by nonprofits?). That endeavor was a time drain, as I would need to check in with each domain’s owner to see if it was a domain they wished to renew or not, add or remove it to billing, etc.
3. ownership: although this really is reiteration of #1 above, it cannot be stressed enough that true ownership resides in being listed as the Registrant on the domain record. A couple of clients came my way over the years where they either had a really hard time wrangling the domain away from their previous domain manager, or they had it used as a blackmail item so to speak — “you won’t get your domain back until you pay this extra fee/invoice”. . . in fact, one client ended up walking away from a domain because he didn’t feel he should be paying the one last invoice the manager had drummed up.
The domain registrar I have been using is Hover. Though it is a service via Tucows, which has received mixed reviews and some negative comments for their lack of service/response, Hover has done a very good job working with me. A definite bonus to their setup is that in-registrar transfers take about 10 minutes on average — any transfer out of a registrar to another registrar can (and sometimes does) take up to 7 days, and involves getting a Transfer Authorization Code, along with other hiccups to the process. Those that are getting their ownership back on domains are going the easy route so far. 🙂