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Do You Know Where Your Domain Names Are?

31 October 2017

From CommLawBlog:

Failure to renew a domain name can cause your website to go down. The need to renew your domain names seems obvious and simple enough, but numerous companies and individuals have gotten famous for forgetting and letting domain names lapse, including Microsoft, Jeb Bush, the Dallas Cowboys, and,  recently, Sorenson Communications.

Last year, Sorenson Communications let a domain name lapse. It was SORENSON.COM which it used for providing access to its Video Relay Service (which Sorenson operated under the brand name “SVRS”). The domain name expired, the website was inaccessible, and Sorenson’s customers could not receive or place video relay service, 911, and other calls during the outage. Sorenson’s SVRS customers lost their telecommunications relay services, which left individuals with hearing and speech disabilities without the ability to communicate using a phone to call. Although Sorenson notified the FCC the morning the outage began, the domain name was not renewed – nor the website available — for another two days. Although the SVRS services were restored, the FCC was not amused by what it called at “preventable, internal operational failure.”

In the FCC’s September Order, Sorenson agreed to “reimburse the TRS Fund the sum of $2,700,000, and pay a settlement to the United States Treasury in the amount of $252,000.”

. . . .

Accordingly, set your domain names to Auto Renewal. Whether you have registered your domain names for one year or ten years, you will probably forget when they expire (and inevitably the email reminder will be sent to your spam file). Auto-renewal service is found under various names for different domain name registrars, but it operates in the same manner and allows you to post a credit card on file and automatically renew your company’s domain name(s) in case someone on staff forgets, avoiding unintended expiration. Even if you don’t actually want to renew the domain name, the cost of renewing the name – even to “park” it for the short term – pales in comparison to the expense of getting it back.

Link to the rest at CommLawBlog

PG will add that if the credit card on file with whatever company is responsible for auto-renewing your domain name expires or if the old credit card is retired for any reason (it’s reported as lost or stolen, for example) and you receive a credit card from the same issuer with a different number, you’ll need to update the credit card information that is used to auto-renew your domain name.

As a specific example, Costco has long offered a Costco co-branded credit card to its customers. Among other things, the credit card could also serve as a Costco membership card which must be displayed when a member enters a Costco store. At checkout, the membership card must again be presented and scanned, so, although it is not required, it is convenient for the customer to use the same card for the purpose of both providing a customer number for checking out and paying for their purchase.

A year or so ago, Costco terminated its relationship with its co-branded card issuer, American Express, and, with customer consent, transferred all their customers to a new Costco branded Visa card. The Amex accounts were cancelled with no option (that PG could find) for continuing to use a newly-issued Amex card with the same number.

If a Costco customer had used the Amex credit card for auto-renewal of domain names and neglected to replace that card number with a new one, auto-renewal would have failed.

PG will note that some domain registrars are not noted for high levels of customer service so you can’t count on receiving a message when your domain registration is about to expire.

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Copyright/Intellectual Property, Legal Stuff

19 Comments to “Do You Know Where Your Domain Names Are?”

  1. I would highly suggest a level of redundancy in online transactions anyway. Especially for domain names, the companies all accept PayPal.

  2. Put an entry in your calendar a month, a week, a day before the expiry date. Even if it’s set to autorenew. That way if you don’t get the reminder email on schedule, you can log into your account and see what’s going on.

    And make sure the contact information on your domain registration is kept up to date. Changed email addresses? Take two minutes and update your domain registration so the registrar can send you the reminder — even if it’s a reminder that your domain is set to autorenew on a certain date.

    • I do this. Calendars have many great uses. I look at mine every day just for the reminders I put in it. That’s just about all I use it for since writing on schedule is the only way to be sure I won’t write anything. 😉

  3. Another layer of redundancy: if you have a file or sheet of paper (old school) with passwords, put the expiration date of your website(s) with the hosting company’s password. You’re likely to log on at least once in the months preceding expiration.

  4. B&N neglected to renew the Fictionwise.com domain, and now it belongs to someone else.

  5. Thanks for the reminder. I had received my notice of my renewal a few weeks ago, with the date in November, but it had slipped my mind.I have now renewed it for another year. 🙂

  6. does anyone know…. is there alternative or cheaper than go daddy, for both registration of domain names, and also is there an alternative for whatever it is called for sheilding the admin of the domain, something like domainproxy, or something? They all seem to charge a lot. Plus there’s this little fee from I dont know, whois? or?

    I would like to have choices for registering but only know godaddy.

    Go daay does have an auto renewal thing, that takes from your paypal account 1x a year that might be easier for some folks.

    But maybe others do too?

    • I use namecheap.com to register my domains, for $10 or less. Sometimes they have coupons or sales. When I joined they were offering a sale for switching from GoDaddy. They let you autorenew as well, and they always send an email to let you know when it’s time.

      With any domain you buy you can get WhoisGuard protection so that you don’t have to have your name revealed in a simple Whois search (I think that’s what you’re asking). Based on my last receipt, it’s an extra $2.88, and it lasts a year. One year it was 47 cents to renew, but that might have been a special they were having then.

      I hope that helps.

      • that helps a ton Jamie, the godaddy prices are much higher for all you spoke about. I will look into them, and thank you. I assume namecheap is all registered properly and all… I wonder why godaddy charges so much for everything. Maybe because they have name brand, and people like me dont know any other brands. Thanks for helping Jamie. Appreciate it

        • You’re welcome!

          And here’s a link to a guy who explored the two options, in case you want to see a quick comparison.

          GoDaddy vs. Namecheap

          The funny part to me is that I remember why we switched to GoDaddy for registrations at work. We had been using the registrar our remote tech team told us to use, but my department head was curious about why I was finding cheaper domain registration prices at GoDaddy than the tech team quoted.

          She actually had an impromptu conference call where she asked the team to explain the price difference between the $55 registrations vs. GoDaddy’s $15. There … wasn’t one. From that point on we used GoDaddy whenever we had to register a new name. It always pays to shop around 🙂

    • I use both Namecheap and Namesilo.com

      Namesilo is cheaper that Namecheap [$8.99 USD vs $10.87 USD] and includes lifetime FREE WhoisGuard protection for your domain in the $8.99 price.

      • I hadn’t heard of Namesilo. I will take my own advice about shopping around when I have a new project. Thanks for letting us know.

      • Thanks Chris I will also look at namesile, that free lifetime who is guard, is very attractive. Thanks again, very helpful.

        And Jamie, thanks for the link for the comparison, I will read that later tonight. Appreciate the help.

  7. I have one word: Auto-renew. My hosting provider allows you to tick a box to automatically renew everything. Look for the same on your dashboard with your provider.

    • The problem comes up when the credit card you entered has expired. The solution is to use PayPal or a similar service instead of using your credit card directly. That way, if a card is denied, it tries to use the next card, etc. And, if you only have to update your card information in one place, instead of on a hundred sites.

      • All my domains are registered via my hosting provider. I transferred the ones I registered ages ago. One card, many domains. It’s really not that expensive. I get an email from them if my card expired, in plenty of time to update it.

        I thought it was a basic service of all major hosting providers. Perhaps I’m spoiled.

  8. while we are on the topic of domains, beware GoDaddy:

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