Owners of domain names at several extensions, including .gb.com, will no longer be able to use their registered sites as of this week, with reseller CentralNic having told customers those domains have been "sunset".
The company informed customers that eight domain extensions had been "sunsetted", meaning that new registrations and renewals will not be permitted. These include users of: ar.com, .gb.com, .hu.com, .kr.com, .gc.com, .no.com, .se.com, and .uy.com.
In a letter, it told customers: "There are no plans to sunset any other domains managed by CentralNic. Although there are only a very small number of domains (and an even smaller number of active websites) using these extensions, we realise the inconvenience this causes you and your clients, and so we will do everything in our power to make this a smooth process."
As compensation it will provide affected customers with a free two-year registration – including a .xyz and .co.com registration of any available domain – on a substitute extension.
However, Keith Pilbeam, the owner of Korean hotel booking site hotel.kr.com, said he was "shocked" at the decision, which he claimed would lead to future revenue loss.
He said: "It is of not of interest to my company to have a hotelkr.xyz domain which does not have the .com extension or any proper marketing recognition for the Korean Market."
CentralNIc is the registry management company for 60 domains including over 20 second level domain registries and is not the owner of all these domains. Instead it operates the registry back-end software on behalf of the owners.
"CentralNic cannot comment on the reasons that the owners of eight second level domain registries decided to sunset them," it said in a statement.
"However, it is relevant to point out that these registries had sold small numbers of domains (whereas the more popular domains on the CentralNic platform enjoy sales in the ten of thousands to the millions), and no secondary market exists for domains using these extensions."
It noted that resellers were notified over 12 months prior to the official sunset date and were offered compensation which they could pass on to their registrants.
"Most domain names in the extensions in question are used for defensive purposes (to stop others registering them) or as redirects to another website. So almost no websites actually ever used the domain names," it said. ®