A Rose by Any Other Name

While it is true that, a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet. Think of all the lost revenue and confusion that would be caused if one day you went to the florist, ordered “roses,” and you were handed a clump of crabgrass!

You see, what happened was that the R. Chinensis forgot to renew the name “Rose” and it was released to the general plant population. So that the Digitaria Ischaemum, also known as “Crabgrass” snatched it up and is now trying to re-brand itself off of all the hard work and good-will the R. Chinensis put in, cultivating the name and identity of “Rose.”

What does this have to do with websites, you wonder?

Well, one of the things I hear all too often, from clients and business associates is something along the lines of either:

“We lost our domain name. We changed email addresses and were never notified”
“Domain names expire? I thought that all we had to do was host our site.”

Either way, a domain can be lost and then re-registered by a competitor, a squatter (someone who is only looking to make a buck by reselling the domain), or by a completely unrelated site.

It becomes a nightmare if you lose your domain name. You will pay dearly to regain the domain name, either through the squatter’s fees, legal costs or some combination, thereof, if you can even get it back at all! Then there is all the lost revenue from people who were coming to your site on a regular basis and cannot find a way to contact you. Not to mention all the costs involved in creating new marketing materials (business cards, letter head, signage, etc.) with a new domain name.

It is, of course, a very preventable situation.

REMEMBER THIS – domains are leased, they are not owned. They can, and often do, expire, sometimes intentionally, very often unintentionally. The minimum term for a domain registration is 1 year. The maximum is 10 years.

Do the following:

1) Look up your domain name using a “whois” tool, like that found at http://www.internic.com/whois.html and find the expiration date. Mark the date in your calendar, at least one month before the actual expiration. Then when the date arrives, renew your domain right away.

2) Know where the user name and password are for your domain name, so if you have to make any changes, you can.

3) Make sure that the email and snail-mail addresses are correct in your whois record. Many times a domain name has been registered with information that is now out-of-date. When a domain registrar, like Total Hosting, tries to contact the domain holder, it is usually done via email. If you do not respond, your domain will likely expire and be taken by someone else.

4) Make sure that the domain is registered to you, not your website developer or even an employee.

5) Avoid the name game. There is a wide range of fees being charged for domain names. Make sure you are getting the best value for your money. Do you need any extras, like email or domain forwarding? Are you paying extra for this? In these times, it pays to shop around. You can always transfer your domain to another registrar.{mos_ri}

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