Take Responsibility for Domain Renewals
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has written 18 articles for DomainInformer.
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I'm sometimes contacted by site owners complaining their web site and
e-mail has suddenly stopped working. Upon investigation, I often have
devastating news for them: the domain name used to access their site has
been deleted. 99 times out of 100 this happens because they failed to
pay the renewal fees for their domain name after the initial registration
period ran out. This unfortunate situation has at least three common causes:
domain registration company (domain registrar) did not send out a renewal
notice. This can occur for a myriad of reasons. The
company may have had technical problems the day the renewal notice was
being sent out, they may have made an administrative error or they may
have even gone bankrupt.
- The domain
renewal notice was sent out but not received. This
normally occurs when the customer's e-mail address on record is no longer
valid or the address is valid but the customer never checks his account.
- The renewal
notice was received, but not acted upon in time. This
sometimes happens if the administrative contact is not the same person
as the registrant. If a web hosting company or an ex-employee registers
a domain they may receive the reminder instead of the customer. The
renewal notice can also be missed by customers if they accidentally
dismisses the renewal e-mail as spam or they forgot to act upon it in
a timely fashion.
the cause, once the name is deleted, it is immediately available for any
other party to re-register. And this is the "doomsday scenario"
- when another party has already re-registered the name by the time the
deletion has been detected.
believe they have the "right" to "their" domain names,
even after they have let them expire and they have been re-registered
by another party. Morally, this may well be the case, but in the real
word, the rights to a domain name only last for the duration of the registration
party registers a freshly deleted name, the only ways to get it back are:
it from the new registrant for the best price you can negotiate,
- Go through
an ICANN-sponsored arbitration service such as WIPO. But be warned,
arbitration is expensive ($1500 up) and time consuming. In addition,
there is no guarantee of a positive result, especially if you don't
have a trademark on the name in question.
Both of these
solutions are time consuming and expensive, so the ideal solution is to
avoid the entire mess in the first place. How do you ensure this? By realizing
your businesses' domains are your responsibility. Here's a checklist of
five things to do:
rely on domain registration companies to inform you exactly when your
names are due for renewal. Margins are so low for domain
registrars that for many, they would rather lose the business than take
the trouble to follow-up carefully with customers who have domains about
to expire - sad, but an economic truth.
keep your domain records up to date.
Most importantly, keep the e-mail address valid, and check it often.
Nearly all registrars will only contact you via e-mail.
a master list of your domain names. Record the registration
date and in particular the expiry date, and also the domain registrar
with which you performed the registration. If you need to look up the
expiry date, use a WHOIS
wait until the last minute to renew your domains. Doing
so puts them at extreme risk. Check the expiry date on your domains
at least once a month, and renew well ahead of the expiry date. Remember,
when you renew, the time is added to the end of the expiry date, not
the date you performed the renewal, so really you have nothing to lose
by renewing early.And if your names are important to you, go ahead and
renew them for two years or more.
the renewal has been processed.
Once you have performed a domain renewal, go back to a WHOIS
tool the next day and ensure the expiry date has been updated. Mistakes
can be made. Renewal scripts can go wrong.
before delegating any of this responsibility to another party, particularly
an outside organization such as your web hosting company. Some are very
professional about such things, others are not. Why take the risk?
be PRO-ACTIVE. These are your domain names, take care of them. Losing
domain names has forced many small companies off-line and some out of
business completely. Don't let it happen to you.
An excellent domain management tool called Watch My Domains Pro
has come to our attention. This program can really help you manage your
domains, and in particular, let you know when your names are up for renewal.
full description and review here.
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