By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
If you own an Internet domain name, chances are you’ve received a letter like the one that came in my mail today. It was a domain name expiration notice sent by some company I’ve never done business with before. The letter appears official with pictures of the American flag, barcodes, and credit card logos.
I’m told I’m receiving this letter as a courtesy to notify me that domain name registration on a chiropractic domain is due to expire in the next few months. I am also told that when I switch to this domain registry service I’ll be able to take advantage of their best savings. There’s some urgency in the letter as I should act today, being that my domain is expected to expire in January of 2008.
A few months? Looks more like five months to me. The reason I’m bringing this up is because I’ve helped friends and family register Internet domains in the past. I have always put the domains in their name, and have used their name and address information, for billing contacts. I’ve had friends or family call me when they have received similar letters, wanting to know what’s the status on their domain. Most have had the suspicion that this is some sort of scam so they’ve called me first.
I can’t say it’s quite a scam, let’s just say it’s not a very ethical way to market domain registration. I have registered nearly every domain I own through a company called GoDaddy. I started using GoDaddy because they were affordable, but I’ve continued using them because I like the attitude of their founder, Bob Parsons.
Back to this letter I got, their great savings rate is $30 for a one-year renewal and $95 for a five-year renewal. You may think that that’s not a big deal and it’s not a lot of cash, but I renew my domain names at my current registrar for about eight dollars. I often get coupons so it may end up being less than that.
For someone that’s not educated towards a letter like this, it could make one nervous or concerned. They use some pretty strong language that you must renew your domain name in order to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web. If you fail to renew your domain name by the end of your expiration date it may result in a loss of your online identity which could make it very difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web. What a bunch of nonsense.
It’s true that if you don’t renew your domain name that you’ll eventually lose it, but as long as your contact information is up to date, it’s not so easy to have that happen, unless you completely ignore your e-mails and letters from your current registrar. I believe registrars like godaddy have a timeframe that you can pay some sort of penalty (something like that) and get your domain renewed, even after it’s expired. If you don’t do anything about it after its expired, in about 90 days it will typically come up as available to the general public.
My advice, especially if you only have one or a few domains, is to register them for five years or more. That way you’re not having to worry about letters, e-mails, and domains about to expire.