Category Archives: Domain Names

Domain Expiration Don’t Let It Happen to You!

When you get a notice that your domain is about to expire, make sure you react, and react quickly.  There is nothing worse than having to let a client know that in their ignorance and lack of action that they have lost their domain name or will have to pay several hundred dollars to get it back if they can even get it back.

ICANN has rules on what happens when a domain name expires. However the charges to get it back are in part determined by your registrar. In several situations the client has ignorantly not responded to numerous notes from the registrar to renew their domain name. In some cases they felt that they were on auto renew, but did not realize that their credit card had expired that was on file with the registrar.

If you let your domain name expire, this is typically what will happen. First your registrar will give you a grace period, then they will repoint the domain to a parking page in some cases taking down your email and website. Sometimes they don’t do this, GoDaddy will hoping to get your attention. If you still don’t respond, then the registrar will take back and own your domain. You will have to pay sometimes several hundred dollars to get your domain back at this stage, but you really have no choice. If you still don’t respond, then anyone who had reserved your domain gets an opportunity to buy it. Finally the domain goes back on the open market.

I have seen some registrars automatically keep control of the domain for several months trying to get more money from you to return the domain to the original owner.

The bottom-line is that if you want the domain you should not let it expire. If you have, then sometimes the best action is to move to a new domain name. It simply may be too costly to get your domain back.

Routinely when I renew a domain I start 30 days out. Sometimes the client does not know the registrar and research needs to be done. Sometime the client does not even own the domain and work needs to be done to secure it first. DO NOT wait until the last minute to renew your domain, it is simply too crucial for your business! 

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Keep Control of Your Domain Name

When you are a website owner, it is important that YOU keep control of your domain name. I cannot begin to tell you the problems that I have come across where a new client has let the previous webmaster or the original web designer procure their domain name for them. In the most serious cases, that person had done so under their own name tied to their own private registration account, where the client and real domain name owner had no access.

Don't get in trouble, keep your domain name safe.My top tip for domain security is that every website owner should manage and own their own domain name! It sounds easy to let someone else control this aspect of your website, but if you choose not to work with a web designer or webmaster in the future, you have lost all control of one of the most crucial elements of your web presence – your domain name.

Here are my recommendations for domain security:

1. Before you work with any designer or webmaster, purchase your own domain name and tie it to your credit card, your billing address, and your name using either GoDaddy or Network Solutions. I personally like GoDaddy as the domains are very inexpensive, the control panel easy to use, and they have an auto renew function. Your domain name registrar is not the same as your web host! In fact, your hosting can be at one provider and your domain at another.

2. Don’t let a new web host push you to move your domain registration to them. There is no benefit for you to do this. The hosting agent who encourages you, or misleads you, into believing that this is top priority, is simply looking for a domain registration commission every time you renew your domain.

3. Don’t let your webmaster control your domain name. You can let them manage the changes or additions needed, but don’t ever let them set up domains under their own personal account, with their name as domain administrator. They can be technical director, but not administrator.

4. Protect your domain name as you would your reputation! You never know what the future holds for whom you will use for your webmaster services. I can tell you “real life” stories of clients who have had to abandon their “bread and butter” domain name as the old webmaster either held the domain name hostage or refused to assist with access or transfer. If your name is not listed as the administrator on the domain registration, sometimes the only way to get back access to what you thought you owned, is expensive legal action and months of red tape. It is best to just be safe at the start and own your own domain name.

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Multiple Domains and Domain Masking

It used to be a very smart search engine tactic to buy a whole bunch of domains and point them, using domain forwarding to your main hosted website. Another big tactic was to take multiple domains and domain mask them so that it appeared that your main website had many different domain names with the new domain even showing in the URL.

In today’s world, we simply do not recommend this tactic anymore due to Google’s duplicate content penalty. It is best to select one domain name as your main domain and to host your website there. We do not recommend domain masking as this can confuse search engines and end up penalizing your site instead of helping it by fooling search engines into thinking that another site has duplicated your content.

If you have multiple domains, you can point them,  however, now GoDaddy, as an example, doesn’t even allow you to forward domains. You will have to select a 301 or 302 error code (that is temporarily moved or permanent moved) if you really must consider domain forwarding. The days however of buying up every domain with your keywords in it is long gone.

How about spin off websites? Do those work? Here we are talking about a domain that you own, that matches a key service. Should you build a keyword dense site on that topic only, and if you do will you get increased traffic? I am testing this procedure right now and it is not looking good. But this is a new blog post as the topic is interesting.  Come back next Thursday for that information and whether this is a workable strategy for your business.

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Domain Tasting

I had a client send me some information about Domain Tasting and wanted to share what I have found out about it.

Domain Tasting is where a firm usually involved in spamming or AdSense Arbitrage buys many domain names from a domain name registrar. They then set up Google AdWords programs pointing to these domain names and use them for five days. Before five days is up, the user then returns the domain names that have not generated income to the registrar for a full domain name refund.

I had never heard of this most likely because my firm is only involved in legitimate business dealings. I asked the staff at www.GoDaddy.com about this specifically. GoDaddy.com told me that yes the five day grace period does exist and is honored by ICANN. A domain can be refunded during that period. But GoDaddy.com told me that domain name refunds are done on an individual case by case basis. If a number of domains were returned for refund or refunds requested on a regular basis, the account would be red flagged. GoDaddy at that point may choose not to allow the refund for the domains purchased or may choose to close the account or not have future dealings with the person involved in Domain Tasting.

Yes it appears that Domain Tasting does exist, but this is a shady area and one that some people are clearly using to their advantage and by people of possible questionable business intent. It is clear that anyone who is involved in Domain Tasting is not using a main stream registrar and is using one who has questionable business policies.

One good thing for the legitimate business person is that if you spell your domain name wrong when you sign up or realize that you got the wrong ending like .bz instead of .biz, you can quickly get with your registrar and correct the problem.

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