Do you know where your Domain is?
Updated: Feb 15
This is a more serious post than the ones I usually write, and as I'm writing it, I am simmering in anger.
I've designed websites for 24 years now, and have seen this happen once before. So now, when I start a conversation with a new client about designing their website, it's one of the first questions I ask:
"Who owns your Domain Name? Do you have the login for it?"
Did you know? If you have email thought the registrar, and most do, if the person paying the Registrar (GoDaddy, Network Solutions Etc.), your email accounts no longer exist, your website goes down, and becomes available to others and even can go to auction.
Also, if you are not on the DomainRegistration, you cannot recover it if something happens to the person who registered it.
Here is a recent horror story -
In 2008, a client and business owner had a local IT company owner named "Mike", purchase her company's Domain Name for her on GoDaddy, and create a simple website for her business, along with a business email. Over the years the site stayed static, without any changes; it developed broken links, information became outdated, and the site desperately needed an update. So, the business owner hired me to design a new site, which I did. However, when we tried to get the existing domain registration pointed to her new site, "Mike" would not, or could not, do it. He also, could not figure out how to transfer the domain registration to her. Their business relationship was fine, he did not refuse because of resentment over the new site, "Mike had developed personal troubles. He has since disappeared: In his last email to my client, he told her he had closed down his GoDaddy account, left social media, and no one has heard from him in a long time.
He also stopped paying GoDaddy and invoicing my client for her hosting/email/registration. So the site hosting and domain registration expired in January 2023, and her business email no longer works.
We contacted GoDaddy trying to prove my client is the business owner, but they could not help since my client was not the Domain Registrar.
Now the Domain Name is now up for auction on GoDaddy!
I've removed my client's domain name for obvious reasons.
They want over $500.00 for the name. This is called "Domain Squatting", and it is illegal, but it's done all the time. Without filing a complaint in Federal Court against the squatter, we just have to wait it out and hope no one wants the name.
When I first saw that the registration had expired, I put a hold on it through Network Solutions, hoping to capture it when it became available, but that did not work. I even went on the ICANN site looking for alternatives, but there are none.
So a plea to all business owners: Make sure you own your domain name and have filed your username and password in a secure place. It's also a good idea to have a technical contact from your business and the designer or agency who is creating your site on the domain registration for a backup.
Never let anyone register your company's domain name other than yourself!