The sad tale of the expired domain name

2009-02-23 0 By midboh admin

Protect your domain name

Friend of a friend woke up one morning to find his website was unavailable. Obviously his first thought was that the server was down. He wasn’t monitoring the website so had no idea how long the site / server had been down. He left it for half an hour or so while doing other things and then checked again. It was still down. Now a little agitated, he got in touch with the hosting company to be told there was no problem with the server.

What had happened was that his domain registration had expired and as it had not been renewed, the registrar had “switched it off”.

So why didn’t our guy just renew the domain when he got the renewal notice from the domain reseller?

Well, he hadn’t maintained the contact information for the domain and the contact email address was no longer valid and so all renewal notices were undeliverable. To make this bad situation worse, the domain reseller had a falling out with the registrar and was no longer speaking civilly to each other.

In the end, the friend of a friend spoke with the registrar directly and they renewed the domain for him, albeit at a higher than usual renewal price. Within half an hour, the domain was visible to the internet and everything was back to normal. Be aware, sometimes this sort of update to a domain can take much longer that 30 minutes. This friend of a friend was very lucky.

Now it’s time to analyse the impact of the domain, and hence the business’s internet presence, being unavailable.

  • For just over 2 days Google Adwords was delivering potential customers to a site that didn’t exist. So there was the lost potential revenue and of course the cost (trivial in comparison) of the ads themselves.
  • There is the potential for Google to devalue the site. They will have noticed searchers click the ad and the return to the search and clicked on another ad within a short time. The only inference that can be made is the site was not relevant for whatever reason to the searcher. The more this happens, the more likely the downgrade. “So what?” I hear you ask. In the Google world the lower the value of the site the higher the click price for visitors.
  • Now what happens if one or more of the search engine robots arrives on its regular analysis of the site during this outage? Well, as the site wasn’t available, they will probably flag the site for a return visit. However, probably there will be a black mark recorded. On the return visit if the site is still unavailable, the site’s rankings are almost certain to plummet. This will lower the site in the organic results and will increase the cost of the next click in Adwords.

So the moral of this little tale

Keep your domain contact information current at all times. Trivial though it may be, the alternative could be several days or more with your site off the air and a lot of anguish and wasted time and effort proving you are the owner of the domain. There is also the possibility, however remote, that someone could claim the domain as theirs. That would trigger a nice little legal stoush. [NB: “Nice little legal stoush” = expensive and time consuming lawsuit]

This discussion may have raised a few questions for you. Please feel free to contact MidBoh if you would like to discuss your requirements and how we might be able to help your business grow.