A cautionary tale in domains
You wake up in the middle of the night with a fabulous new business idea. You now need a website! First things first, you look for a domain name. The domain name is an essential piece of your brand and may involve your keywords, your company’s name or is possibly is just memorable by the name itself.
As the months pass and your website is live, your business is running and you are now working 18-hour days running your business. The small little thing, like a domain name, is farthest from your mind now thinking of what’s it’s doing or how it’s working for you. Until it happens…the renewal!
Have you ever thought of what happens if you don’t renew you domain name?
If you own a domain (unless you have purchased it for 5 or 10 year increments) you will receive an annual renewal notice, they are typically sent out at 90 days, 60 days, and 30 days, depending on your registrar. The desire is that this will prompt you to renew with adequate notice. But should you miss the renew date it does expire and enters a grace period.
For 0 – 40 days, depending on the kind of domain name you have (.com, .ca, .uk etc.), past that expiry date your domain name sits waiting for you to change your mind. All in the hopes that it was possibly a mistake and you will pay the fee and return it to its former glory, housing your website!
During this grace period all services associated with your domain name stop working. That means, all of your email addresses associated with that domain name will no longer receive email, and your website on that domain name will be inaccessible.
After the grace period has come and gone the domain name finally does one of two things. It either enters a redemption period where you can still get your domain name back one more time (for an additional fee on top of the renewal), or it fully expires. Finally, it’s then publicly listed with other “to be released” domains and sold to the highest bidder. There are a lot of people out there reading those lists of domains in search of domains to purchase, but that’s a whole other subject for another time.
Can you imagine if your domain name was sold off to the highest bidder?
For an example, let’s take the current mayor of Toronto who owned robford.ca. This domain housed the website which was home of everything Rob Ford when he was city councillor before becoming mayor. He would update it with council votes, council expenses and the site held information for you to contact him. But since becoming mayor, someone along the way either forgot to renew it (possibly wherever he was hosting the domain, or they never let him know?). Or possibly just deemed robford.ca not necessary anymore and let it completely, totally expire.
It sat for the 0 – 40 day grace period and was then released back into the pool and sold off to the highest bidder. Now Mr Mayor Rob Ford’s domain name is in the hands of someone else, who’s having it re-direct to the Toronto Star, or posting “Rob Ford (January 31, 1862 – June 8, 1892) was an American outlaw best known for killing his own gang leader Jesse James in 1882” and now taking suggestions on what to do next. Who knows the eventual fate now of robford.ca, but whatever happens now isn’t controlled by Rob Ford.
The Mayor Rob Ford now uses http://www.robfordformayor.ca andhttp://www.toronto.ca/mayor_ford, but to let a domain he was using for years lapse is a costly move for him, and would be a costly move for any business.
If your business is online, then you have a domain name! It’s connected to your website and possibly your email. It’s how you tell prospective clients and current clients where you are, how they get in contact with you and is part of your brand. Your business is important and your domain is the most important piece to that online identity.
Ensure your domain name is renewed yearly or better yet purchase it for 10-years, show stability to the search engines and put your mind at ease.
One of the best practices at Treefrog is that we renew every domain in our account for our clients and each domain is checked over by trained staff who know the value of keeping that domain. Even if you do finally choose to let your domain go, we follow up with you personally to ensure this is what you want. So make sure your domains are with a reputable company and are renewed so, unlike Rob Ford, you will control your domain for many years to come.