Namecheap Says It’s No Longer Doing Business With Users Registered In Russia

from the don't-let-the-door-hit-you dept

Domain registrar Namecheap announced this week that the company would no longer be doing business with customers registered in Russia. In an email notification sent to customers, that I’ve confirmed as genuine with the company, it recommends that any Russia-based customers of its domain hosting, email, and other services find a new registrar by March 6:

“Due to the Russian regime’s war crimes and human rights violations in Ukraine, we will no longer be providing services to users registered in Russia,” an email sent to Namecheap users said. “While we sympathize that this war may not affect your views or opinion on the matter, the fact is, your authoritarian government is committing human rights abuses and engaging in war crimes so this is a policy decision we have made and will stand by.”

The company told me it will be making exception to the restrictions for journalists, health care workers, and those associated with aid organizations. Over at Hacker News, customers had decidedly mixed reactions; with some suggesting the move unfairly harmed Russian citizens, many of whom oppose the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In online statements, that I’ve also confirmed as genuine with the company, Namecheap CEO recommended that Russian users angry at Namecheap redirect those calories toward the Putin administration:

“We have people on the ground in Ukraine being bombarded now non stop. I cannot with good conscience continue to support the Russian regime in any way, shape or form. People that are getting angry need to point that at the cause: their own government.”

It’s obviously a thorny situation, given that many of the actions taken toward pressuring the Putin government will not be felt by one of the wealthiest men on the planet, but by the citizens of Russia. As one commenter noted, many users are already struggling with the ongoing collapse of the Russian financial system due to unified sanctions.

At the same time, it’s every company’s prerogative to defend their moral beliefs, including the belief that the larger the collective global opposition to Putin’s invasion of a democratic neighbor, the greater chance Russian citizens with a head full of propaganda may begin thinking outside of the veil.

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Companies: namecheap

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Comments on “Namecheap Says It’s No Longer Doing Business With Users Registered In Russia”

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Anonymous Coward says:


That’s backpedaling after they said they were going to “stand by” their decision, and people pointed out that anti-Putin sites would be taken offline or have to waste time transferring domains.

I certainly won’t do business with a company that feels it can arbitrarily cancel service, especially with a mere week of notice. Who knows what’s next? Maybe they’ll end service to all Texans on account of their infamous anti-abortion law, cut off people living in tax havens (maybe Nevada…), take some stance on marijuana or vaccine or municipal-internet policy, etc. Customers should find an alternate registrar now so they don’t have to scramble later.

There’s no reason to think this will even be an effective action. Like Russia’s going to call off the invasion on account of some domain registrar? Given that the sanctions and exchange rate are likely to make renewal payments difficult anyway, it’s little more than an attempt at pro-Ukraine publicity. But even Ukrainians should be wary of this registrar: who knows what actions their military or vigilantes will take that might turn Namecheap against them too.

Ceyarrecks (profile) says:

Show of Hands,...

who among us expect that China is panting with anticipation when they too can “invade a democratic neighbor”? (depending on what flack Russia receives)

Funny also, how over countless generations, so many have been “trained” since childhood to NEVER address the problem at its source (lest they get even more henpecked[read: nationalistically gas lit])

Good that in the Testing & Proving of ALL things, the actual SOURCE be identified, and removed.

Is here any surprise why is your prized Juliet Rose is dying due to be strangled by Kudzu?

Anonymous Hero says:

This whole thing is a bit of a mess. I highly recommend reading the comments in the Hacker News post linked-to in the article.

Many of the affected customers point out that they will have to switch to the state registrar, which sends more money to the Russian gov’t. Many of the people using NameCheap are anti-Putin, i.e., they don’t want their money going to the Russian state registrar which is why they used NameCheap in the first place.

I agree that “it’s every company’s prerogative to defend their moral beliefs”, as long as it doesn’t breach policy. In this case, it did not because NameCheap reserves the right to terminate service at any time for any reason.

Still, I would not do business with a company that terminates service on a whim due to moral beliefs or some other form of mysticism. TechDirt readers will know that moral-panic does not lead to good policy.

Glory to Ukraine.

Anonymous Coward says:


Sure, people can overthrow a tyrant, but what of it? Is Namecheap going to push them over the edge? Is the situation in Russia particularly similar? Ceaușescu was in power for 15 years—his party for 42 years—before that happened. That regime was much more harsher on the average citizen than Russia’s, and the economic situation more dire.

The Berlin Wall lasted 30 years, the Soviet Union 70. Revolutions don’t always work either. The Hungarian Revolution basically failed, and the freedom fighters couldn’t return for 35 years without fearing arrest.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Sure, people can overthrow a tyrant, but what of it?”

People should probably try in this case as well.

“Is Namecheap going to push them over the edge?”

Alone? Probably not. But, they’re not unique, there’s a lot of companies who are planning or enacting similar boycotts, and the full weight of them in response to what the Russian public were told was essentially a rescue mission with the support of the Ukrainian public should inspire even more protests than they’re had already despite the promised threat to personal safety for doing so.

“The Berlin Wall lasted 30 years”

…and it eventually fell when it did because public opposition to it grew to such a degree that people swarmed it and tore it to pieces the moment they got word that it would be coming down (the trigger being a misworded announcement that implied it would happen immediately rather than the intended communication of some time in the future).

“Revolutions don’t always work either.”

But, they do work sometimes. If your comment here is meant to be “they don’t always work…. so don’t even bother trying to inspire one”, that’s going to fall on deaf ears.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

there’s a lot of companies who are planning or enacting similar boycotts, and the full weight of them

…is pretty much how the Soviet Union existed for decades. An insular nation of people who were not permitted to leave and had very little dependence on or contact with the outside world. China’s somewhat better, but not much, and have been oppressing various peoples (Hong Kongers, Taiwainese, Uyghurs, Tibetans) with little response from the outside world. (Nobody cared much about Crimea either.) We may be overestimating the amount of pressure we can peacefully exert, or are willing to.

If your comment here is meant to be “they don’t always work…. so don’t even bother trying to inspire one”

No, that’s not the point. The point is that it’s a hell of a lot to ask regular people to do, not remotely on the scale of denying service to Russians. It’s more like when Youtube blocks non-Americans from viewing videos, which they’re all used to. Speeding up what sanctions woud’ve done within the year seems like little more than a slap in the face and publicity stunt.

Modern technology could speed up revolt or enable easier totalitarianism; we don’t really know. I’d say it’s optimistic to expect Russians to revolt before 2030, anyway, and I don’t get the impression the people pushing for these minor actions realize how long it historically takes.

PaulT (profile) says:


Any company can do this. If you think whoever you pay can’t do this, then you haven’t read the T&Cs of the contract you signed when signing up.

Now, it’s likely that the vast majority won’t do this except under extreme circumstances, and you can take them to court to try and recoup anything you believe should be refunded. But, obviously, a country invading a sovereign nation in what could be a prelude to a world war is an extreme circumstance.

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