Of all people, you should!

No one is immune to being scammed – even us. Sometimes we get emails stating the expiration of our domain name is imminent unless we renew it right now!

And, I find myself thinking, “OMG, how did this get away from me or how did I miss the renewal notice?” Then I look more closely at the email and note that the sending party is not even our domain registrar.

As our client, you are welcome to call or email us at any time to request a review of renewal documents you receive. When in doubt, call us.

So, let’s talk about domain name registration and why you should care.

First, what is a domain registrar and why should you be on good speaking terms with them?

Well, we wouldn’t expect you to be on actual speaking terms, but maybe amenable to receiving and paying attention to emails when they reach out. When your domain registrar speaks, it is good to listen. Sure a few promo emails here and there, but please do read the important stuff – most of it is.

Your domain registrar is tasked with maintaining your domain ownership along with your contact records, so that when it is time to renew your ownership, they know how to reach you.

Perhaps you’ve changed email addresses since you set up the account, or you no longer actively monitor that email address, even though you still have it. By law, your domain registrar is required to get in touch with you annually to ask if the contact information they have on file is correct. LISTEN! It is VERY IMPORTANT that you ensure this information is correct, because if for some reason, you have not put your renewal on auto pilot, or the credit card on file has expired, you could lose the ownership of your domain.

Who should be your registrar?

We believe it is important to register with a reputable registrar. There are several well-known service providers in this category and we have our own preferences. Without tilting the scales in any particular favor, it is our opinion that you should first know what services are included in the cost of your registration fee. If simple things like forwarding your domain name to another domain are not included, perhaps you should shop around.

For instance, if your company, Dog Bones Inc., owns the domain dogbones.com as its main domain name and you’ve also purchased dogbonesinc.com in case someone types that into their address bar, then having the ability to have dogbonesinc.com forward to dogbones.com should be included in the services of your domain’s registration. Some registrars charge as much as $49/year for forwarding. Not cool!

Is the purchase cost of a domain name important?

Considering the fact that you will likely own your domain name for many years, and possibly you will own more than one domain name, it makes sense to look for reasonably priced domain services.  Annual fees add up over time.

What is a reasonable amount to pay annually for a domain name?

This question has a very subjective answer, because purchasing a domain name that is already owned or very trendy could cost you thousands of dollars for its initial purchase. For a domain name that is not already owned, you might expect to pay anywhere from $5/year to $65/year. Beware the super low-priced domain service may be rife with add-on fees for simple services. We would expect to pay somewhere around $12-$18/year.

Privacy. Should you pay for it?

YES! There is a public record called WHOIS which lists all of the contacts associated with each domain name’s ownership. This will be the primary contact (owner), administrator, technical and billing (can be 4 separate entities). The privacy service allows this information to be blocked from public consumption. There are a number of reasons you might choose to keep this information private. One very important one is to reduce email spam by keeping these email addresses private.

What happens if your domain expires without your knowledge?

This absolutely CAN HAPPEN, and with heavy hearts we have seen it firsthand. All due to out of date contact information.

The rules for redemption (meaning recovery of expired domain and its window of time) have changed over the years. We asked Google this question: What happens to a domain name when it expires?

It was was answered by GoDaddy.  Here is the lead intro:

Note: A registrant can renew an expired domain name at no extra cost up to day 18. If they renew an expired domain name anytime between day 19 and day 42, they must also pay an $80.00 redemption fee. The domain name might not be available for renewal after day 30.

The full article is available here:

https://www.godaddy.com/help/what-happens-after-domain-names-expire-6700

Why is all of this so important?

Even if owning your domain only costs you $10 per year, you can bet it has a much higher value in the impact you would feel were you to unintentionally lose it.

Think about it. You probably have a website, email addresses and printed materials, not to mention online directories pointing links to this very domain. Updating all these channels with new a domain name is quite painful, not to mention costly.

How long should you register your domain name for?

We are sometimes asked by customers to register their domain for 20-25 years. This length of ownership is not usually offered by registrars. To us, a concern is that domain owners may lose sight of the fact that their domain needs to be renewed. Let’s face it, the tools we use to remind ourselves of things like this are not reliable. A cell phone gets replaced or a note in a written calendar may not get transferred… and somehow the e-mail reminder does not arrive. Ugh.

What is a good practice?

  • First, we highly recommend that you document where and when you registered your domain at the time you did so. This should include your username, password and PIN (if applicable).
  • Register your domain for a minimum of 5 years, if you have the budget to do so.
  • Use your most reliable and favorite email address that you keep as your favorite – as in, “I will never abandon this!” – email address as your contact information.
  • Add a trusted someone, your IT company, webmaster, bookkeeper, etc. as 2nd, third, and 4th contacts on the domain’s record.
  • Pay for the privacy setting, so that you protect yourself and all these trusted backup people from being spammed to death.*
  • Put your next renewal date on your calendar.

Lastly, although you will receive an email notification from your registrar asking you to review your contact details annually, it is good to bear in mind that if you should happen to have a change of address, phone number, email address or credit card.  It is ultimately up to you to go into your registrar’s control panel to update this information. Likewise, if one of your fallover contacts has similar changes.

*The WHOIS record will not show this information, but your registrar will use the contact info they have on file to reach you.