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Is Your Domain Name In Trouble?!

By Alyice Edrich
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2004

How long ago was it that you purchased your Domain Name? Is it time to re-register? Check your expiration date today! If you have six months or less on your contract, re-register today, before something happens and it's too late.

Don't think it can happen to you? It has already happened to many small and large businesses. They waited until the last minute, business got so busy that they forgot altogether, or an error occurred with the registrar company and before these businesses knew it, someone had come along and snatched up their domain name, right out from under them.

One business man had close to two weeks to re-register his domain name, so he went online to make a payment and renew the domain for a few more years. However, something happened with his domain host that prevented him from making a payment online, so he called the company and asked them to take care of it. He gave them all the necessary information and paid with his credit card, by phone. Thinking the problem was solved, he went about his daily business.

A week later, his domain name "officially" expired and someone purchased it right out from under him! All that work, gone!

A work-at-home mom had a fairly successful online business, but for whatever reason, didn't get her domain registered before the deadline. Know what happened to her site? A porn site snatched it up.

Others have lost their domain names due to harvesting software programs that now let others know the second your domain name is vulnerable.

Talk about a WAKE UP CALL! If you have a domain name, register it at least a few months in advance of it's expiration date. That way, if anything does go hay wire, you have time to fix it before you lose your domain name.

You put a lot of hard work and hours into your website. You put in a lot of money for advertising, so that people know where to find you. You have gained the respect and admiration of many people and businesses. Don't throw caution out the door thinking this cannot happen to you.

Jeanne of Devine-Designs has experienced her fair share of what I like to call scrupulous behavior. When she started Expat-Moms, she began it on a free web host server (like geocities, tripod, and the like). Her reasoning was simple... test the waters and see how successful the business was before going all out, financially.

Once her cold feet turned warm, she went to purchase the domain name (http://expatmoms.com), but to her surprise, someone had bought it out from under her! Now, the site sits unused, while her new domain with the hyphen is doing extremely well.

Jeanne isn't the only one this has happened to. "Harvesters" often snatch up domain names in hopes of re-selling them at a higher, if not outrageous price!

How do they know which domain names are going to be viable? Simple. They go to free web host servers, find the business name chosen, then purchase the domain name in hopes that the owner will one day get so big that he or she goes looking for that domain name. Others simply go to a keyword program, like Overture and purchase domain names using the top keywords.

I recently read about a woman who befriended a man, shared her hopes and dreams, including the name she had chosen for her "new" company. After a few more months of deliberation, she went to purchase her domain name, only to find her so-called friend was not a friend at all. He had gone out and purchased the name she had chosen for her company... right out from under her!

If you are serious about an online business? Don't wait until it is too late. With domain names as low as $12.95 per year, there is truly no excuse NOT to invest in a web address. And don't forget, it's a tax write-off.

TIPS:

Pick your company wisely. Try to find a company that sends out reminder notices. If the company you use doesn't and you are happy with where you are at, please mark your calendars every year! I have a monthly bills-to-be-paid sheet, and I list my domain names, web host, and other business related expenses as a monthly expense. That way, I know every month what is due out the door, when.

If you must insist on using a free web host server, take the precaution of ordering your domain name and have it redirected to your free web host server, for under $30 per year!

Be safe, and check the expiration date of your domain name today. If it is up in six months time or less, order an extension or renewal of that domain name today... and try to order at least two years or more.

While it used to be advantageous to purchase a domain name that had expired to keep the high rankings, Google as changed its algorithm policy to weed out sites that purchased domain names for this sole purpose. (Keep in mind that taking over someone else's completed site does not fall under this category.)

About the Author
Alyice Edrich is the author of several work-from-home e-books and the editor of The Dabbling Mum.com-a national publication for BUSY parents. She is also a telecommunications rep and sales discount domain names at (http://edrichcommunications.com)