You know the story. You want a domain. You buy a domain. Just pull out your credit card, and €60 later, you have a global domain. Done. You’re up and running. Your site looks great. Visitors are click, click, clicking. Everyone is happy and time marches on. Then, one morning things turn for the worse. Your domain is being used by another company. All your traffic is going to a new site, and your customers are finding themselves on a site that has no relationship to your brand and is so far from your product offering you’re bordering on massive revenue loss. What happened? Your domain expired and someone else took it.
If you don’t think it can happen to you, let’s look at the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Association (MVA). The MVA used the site www.starspangled200.org to commemorate the War of 1812 on its state license plates between 2012 and 2016. The site www.starspangled200.org was designed and owned by the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission in 2007 to raise funds for bicentennial projects and events. But somewhere between 2016, the domain stopped being about the history of the War of 1812 and started being about online casinos in the Philippines.
A March 2023 Vice article reported that close to 800,000 drivers in Maryland have the starspangled200.org on their license plates. But what they did not know was that over that period of time, that starspangled website stopped being about the War of 1812 and became a website for an online casino in the Philippines at https://www.globeinternational.info/
The article notes that the domain registration information on starspangled200.org had been re-registered and transferred a number of times in the past several years. Today, starspangled.org goes directly to the MVA website and Maryland drivers can safely resume driving without advertising a casino.
How does it affect you? The MVA situation seems an issue that no one would overlook, but it happens. A domain expires, no one renews it and another company takes it over.
This shows the importance of renewals and the attention that needs to be taken by both the domain user and the registrar company. So, here are four easy steps to prevent your domain from being lost to someone else.
- Turn on auto-renew on all your domains
- Get a gap analysis with Okens on all your domains to find your domain risks
- Ensure you have worldwide coverage for your domain so no domains are exposed to hackers or thiefs
- Create a domain line of credit to ensure all your domains renew and are paid for at the same time
For more information on auto-renew and a domain line of credit, visit Okens