Launched in 1998, FatCow is a marketplace for brand new, soon- to- be- released Top Level Domain Names. Their “bread and butter” is web-hosting services for small to medium-sized businesses and individuals looking for an affordable Web hosting option, but they also offer a choice of domain names to choose from. The company’s mission is to provide customers with a simpler, more customer friendly approach to web hosting.
- Number of TLDs available
- Security features
- Mobile app
- Simple domain transfer policies
- Customer support
If you purchase one of their web-hosting plans, FatCow will give you a domain free for the first year. If you want to purchase a .com domain, it costs $8.99/year. This price is very competitive with the going rate among major domain registrars average between $13.00-$15.00.
Number of TLDs Available
FatCow offers a total of 321 new domains available. For soon-to-be-released domains, FatCow offers Pre-Registration for General Availability. Pre-registering a domain gives you a better chance of securing the name you want but doesn't automatically guarantee that you will get it. If you don't get the name, your registration fee will be refunded. If multiple people pre-register the same name, an auction will determine who ultimately wins the domain. Having so many pre-released domains makes FatCow standout among other domain registrar companies-both for having hundreds of domains and for having so many unique domains that haven't become public yet.
FatCow offers a Privacy feature for domain name customers at $9.99/year. Domain Privacy prevents your personal contact information from being published on the WHOIS database. The yearly fee of $9.99 is less expensive than the average going rate for Privacy Protection at around $11.00-$12.00/year.
FatCow is one of the few companies that have created a professional office-oriented mobile app that allows you to manage your domains from your smart device. They have Google apps $5.00/month. You can use any of the native Google Apps on both your IOS and Android. Features of the work app includes Simple setup with your chosen domain, the ability, easily manage your hosting and Google Apps billing from a single account and 24/7 customer service support. App ratings for Google and Apple are not available.
Simple Domain-Transfer Policies
FatCow doesn't hold an online reputation for having difficult-to- transfer domain names in cases where customers want to move their domain to a different registrar. FatCow doesn't hold names hostage or charge exorbitant fees or create delays to avoid losing business. There are no hidden charges after finishing the domain transfer. Transferring your site to other hosts all boils down to subscribing to their plans. You will have to register to your chosen webhosting company and subscribe a plan for you to continue the process of domain transfer.
FatCow's customer support offers several options for customers: a toll-free phone number, email and Live Chat. All options are available to customers 24/7, which surpasses domain registrars who only have phone service for limited hours (i.e. Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm). Some companies don't offer phone support until you sign up for one of their higher tiered plans. With FatCow, even prospective customers can call and ask any question they have. One disadvantage with their LiveChat is that it functions more like a submission form. It is not live. Also, you have to already have a domain name purchased before using the Live Chat, so it is for domain name customers only.
- Other TLD prices
- ICANN fees
- Bulk price
- Cross selling
- ICANN accreditation
Other TLD Prices
Other Top Level Domains (TLDs) (.net, .co, .org, .info, etc) can range from $6.98/year to $34.95/year.
FatCow differs from other domain registrars in that they specialize in offering soon- to- be released Top Level Domains. Also different is that FatCow's TLDs vary in price. Some companies offer the same price for alternate TLDs as the .com TLD. So if a .com is $14.99/year, the other domains are also $14.99/year. This is a disadvantage when purchasing a domain with FatCow.
FatCow's pricing varies for each newly released TLD, and pricing will be available as each new domain is launched. They offer a 7- day Early Access Program (or EAP) for domains operated by the Donuts registry (registry for new, non-traditional domain names). Instead of a typical Priority Registration, EAP gives you the opportunity to immediately purchase and access your domain.
The downside to this is that there are exorbitant setup fees-unless you're getting a domain with general availability. (General Availability means new domains extensions are released to the general public and are available on a first come, first served basis). These setup fees vary on each of the 7 days, changing prices at 4pm each day. Day 1 is $12,200, Day 2 is $2900, Day3 is $1125, Day 4 is $600, and Day 5-Day 7 is $120.
As a domain name registrar, FatCow has to pay an annual fee of 18 cents to ICANN for each domain name registered through them. Most domain name providers include this fee in their advertised cost, which changes the advertised price and puts off some customers. FatCow does not indicate whether an ICANN fee is added to the customer's checkout price. They also do not tell you this through a small print notice at the bottom of their home pages the way some companies do. The fee appears to be automatically included in the price without you knowing.
For anyone interested in purchasing several domains at once, FatCow does not advertise bulk discount pricing. Some domain registrar companies offer a bulk discount for purchasing a large number of domain names at once. For example, if you purchase 100 domains, you get 10% off. FatCow does not appear to offer this and falls short in this area.
When checking out with FatCow, you will encounter 9 total upsells before getting to the final confirmation page. These are a lot compared to other registrars with only 2 upsells. The first FatCow upsell is a small box placed underneath the domain name in the shopping cart page asking you to check if you want the additional domain privacy feature. The remaining 8 upsells occur after signing up for an account (mandatory to make a purchase). These upsells include: Wordpress Essential, SSL Certificate, Site Protection and Performance Accelerator, Google Apps for Work, Protect Your Site (automated daily backup) and Make Your Website Look Great on Mobile Phones feature. These features are for web hosting customers, but are presented to you even if you're only purchasing a domain name.
Compared to other companies, FatCow does not come across in an aggressive (and even annoying) manner. Some registrars have pop-ups and landing pages that customers have to go through in order to buy a domain name. FatCow only presents their upsells on the page with a box to check if you want to add this feature to your shopping cart.
The Bottom Line
FatCow is ideal for people who are looking for a new-to-release Top Level Domain names before they hit the market and get popular. You can pre-order domains with FatCow, but it does not 100% guarantee the name is yours. If you don't get the name, your money will be refunded. Seven day Pre-registration is exorbitantly high regarding price, starting out at $12,200 and ending at $120.00. Pricing for .com domains is more affordable than most registrars at $8.99/year, but alternate domains (.com, .org, .net, etc) run on an upward scale, which-depending on what extension you choose-may cost you considerably more. Customer service is available 24/7 and there are apps available to manage your domains for 5.00/month. FatCow is not found on the ICANN registry list.