The "one time fee" idea COULD work as a step between 100% free hosting and full blown paid hosting, but I think it comes down to a matter of the buyers doing their homework and weeding out all of the dirtbags, kiddie hosts, and the people who don't know what they're doing. People need to KNOW who they're dealing with. Know the history behind the name and the people you're about to do business with. Know where the servers are, who's in charge of them, what datacenter is used to house them, etc. In addition to that, nobody should be offering any kind of hosting at all unless they have a business model developed to support it. Period. Regardless of whether is it 100% free, one time fee, paid hosting, or whatever.
Maybe you should buy 1timefee.com then, as its still available.