What happens if you don't pay your cell phone bill? If you don’t make a payment every month, your phone services will end. You might get some leniency at first, maybe a late fee or two, but at some point, they will cut your phone service off entirely. This is pretty intuitive: if you simply pay the bill by the due date, you won't have any issues.
This concept of paying to keep your service active is so simple, that you’d think everybody understands it. However, that’s not always the case.
Republican Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush purchased a domain name for his website, but no one on his team ran a domain check to see when it would expire. When the time ran out, they forgot to renew the domain name. Renewing a domain name is a bit different than paying your cell phone bill, but will often have the same result: end of service. When you purchase a domain name, such as “JebBush.com”, you can choose the amount of time you’d like reserve this name for. Most domain registrars allow you to reserve this name for anywhere from one to ten years. Once that time is up, you must renew the domain name, otherwise it becomes available to the public for purchase. After domain expiration, it enters the “grace period” and then a redemption grace period. During these times, you still have a chance to renew. If you don’t, that's it. Your domain name is gone forever unless you can coax its new owner into selling it back to you. If your competitors are paying attention, they may have even pre-registered to purchase your domain name. This means, they gain control of it the second it becomes available to the general public, after you ignored your expiration and grace period warnings.
Well, Someone on THEIR Marketing Team Got Fired...
Someone on Jeb’s marketing or web development team wasn’t paying attention or running domain checks, because the domain name JebBush.com expired and was snatched up by Bush’s opponent: Donald Trump. Oops. Once Trump owned the domain, he then redirected it to take visitors back to his own campaign website. Even better? Trump owns the domain name until November 2024, meaning for the next eight years, Jeb Bush will not have access to any content on JebBush.com. Either Jeb didn’t renew his domain name’s subscription when the time came up, or he didn’t purchase the name in the first place. Regardless of the situation, now Donald Trump is master of Jeb Bush’s domain. Literally.
Competitors Stealing Your Name Could Steal Your Business. Run Domain Checks!
Mistakes like this are not only embarrassing, they can hurt your business. Say you’re a company that sells, we don’t know: cat sweaters. You sell these sweaters on your website and your domain name is: “purrrfectsweaters.com.” Business is booming thanks to your savvy internet marketing skills, and you get a hundred orders a day from your online store. You’re bringing in massive amounts of revenue. If you don’t stay on top of your domain name subscription, your competitor can purchase it. The competitor has the ability to "forward" your URL, the one they just purchased after you failed to renew it, so that it automatically takes users to their own site. This is called a redirect, and in this case, it’s very bad for you. Normally, a user who types your domain name into their browser will be taken to your site, but now all of a sudden, your domain name redirects to your competitor’s site, losing you hundreds of cat-sweater orders a week. Me-owch!
You can solve this problem in a couple of ways:
Staying organized on the expiration dates of your domain names
Purchasing highly-similar domain names that are associated with your business, to keep competitors from stealing them and decreasing your site traffic.
At United Webworks, we have many clients, and even more domain names to keep track of. To make sure that none of these expire, we enter each name into a spreadsheet, along with its corresponding expiration date, and we organize these so that we can check the spreadsheet on a weekly basis to see if any domain names will need a renewal soon. This is what we like to call: our "domain check". We notify the client who purchased the domain name about a month in advance before their expiration date, so that they have the option to purchase another year of ownership. This way, none of our client’s competitors can shut down our client’s website by snatching up their domain name the day it expires.
Depending on the service you use for domain registration, and its terms, you may be able to receive an email notice automatically. For example, some resellers give you the option to have your domain name held for a few days until you renew it, so you have a little extra time to buy it back before someone else snatches it up. Whatever the case, it’s only a matter of time before a competitor purchases your domain name after it expires, so be sure to stay on top of your subscription.
Have a Domain Name Arsenal
It’s not only important to stay on top of the payments of your website’s domain name, it is also crucial that you have ownership of other domain names that may be very similar to your own. For example, as owner of purrrfectsweaters.com, you may also want to purchase purrfectsweaters.com, and purfectsweaters.com, so that if a customer accidentally types one of these domains into the URL bar, they are still taken to your site, and not a competitor’s. This is likely what happened to Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush. His current campaign domain name is “Jeb2016.com”, but he should own any domain name that users might think to enter into the web browser, hoping to get to his site. This would include: “JebBush.com”, “JebBushForPresident.com”, “JebBush2016.com” etc. Without buying these domain names, they are available to anyone else in the world for purchase, and who can then redirect these domain names to their own site in order to steal his “business,” i.e. his voters.
Owning a website is serious business, and there’s so much to remember surrounding hosting, domain names, and the like. That’s why, if you aren’t familiar with web marketing or development processes, it’s imperative that you hire a company who knows the ins and outs of creating and maintaining spectacular websites. United WebWorks has years of experience in email and website hosting, obtaining (and keeping!) domain names, updating and creating websites, and internet marketing - including valuable Search Engine Optimization. If your website isn’t up to par, or you’re struggling to stay on top of your online presence, contact United WebWorks today.
Your domain name is crucial to your business, don't let it lapse. We're United WebWorks, and we approve this message.