Domain Name Issues And Related Business Risks

I have learned a lot about domain name maintenance and management issues over the past week! As a follow-up to my blog post yesterday, I have since discovered that as a result of a divestiture *two* registrars claim control of my domain (that I created and have owned and used since 2002); one in Australia has primary control, and the one I have always communicated with in Washington state has secondary control…I never knew this before.

To make a long story short, each registrar made some changes that ended up expiring my domain and making my website and primary email address un-usable, and then subsequent changes resulted in my website not correctly forwarding to my business URL ( and messages sent to my email going from outright bouncing to being wafted into limbo until the mess was straightened up.
Something for you to check into; does more than one registrar have control over your domain name? From what I have learned this sounds like it is very common.
If yes, it could cause you all the problems I’ve had in the past week, and even more.
If you do not have someone dedicated to addressing the domain name management for your organization…and it’s likely if you are a small or medium size business (SMB) that you do not…then take note and think about checking on these things. Learn from the bumps and bruises I’ve received! There are definitely risks involved.
1) Losing Customers or Potential Customers While Your Site Is Unavailable
My domain was expired for over 6 days. And even though it is technically unexpired now, my email is not completely working again because of some DNS servers yet to be updated, and my website is still not fixed because of changes that must be made by the registrar in Australia, and it sounds like they won’t get to it until tomorrow. So, by the time it is all (hopefully) corrected my website will have been down for over 7 days.
Fortunately my website is informatonal only; I do not do any ecommerce through it, and I don’t collect forms or any other type of direct customer communication through my website.
However, a large percentage of businesses depend heavily upon their websites to have a successful business. If a mix-up occurs with your registrar(s), and your site is unavailable it could hit you hard in the cash box. Customers may see your site is down upon visiting just once, and then move on to other businesses with similar services or products and never check back at your site again.
2) You Could Lose Your Domain Name
With the type of errors that were made in my situation, if I had not persisted and kept calling the customer service / tech support people…who told me on the very first call they had fixed what needed to be fixed, and told me that again upon every subsequent and many calls…my domain could have been made available for new ownership.
Know who your registrar is and how to contact them. Make sure that your account information contains your current phone number, email address and mailing address, and that all the other information for your account and profile is correct. Occasionally check your account information to make sure it was not changed through some activity going on with your registrar. Find out if more than one registrar has maintenance capabilities for your domain. The divestiture and double ownership of my domain really screwed up things for my domain and got most of the information involved out of whack.
3) Your Business Could Suffer From Registrar Mistakes Or Inadequacies
Hold your registrar to their Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) contractual requirements.
The Internet domain name registrars must adhere to the ICANN Registrar Accreditation Agreement.
I discovered during my ordeal some of the required documentation was not being maintained.
Keep track of all the changes you make to your domain and maintain documentation of all the communications and contact names involved with your domain name maintenance. You may need it for disputes if business damages occur as a result of domain name errors and subsequent website and/or email unavailability, or even losing your domain name
When dealing with your registrar, be persistent, and don’t let them try to intimidate you into not asking for more information.
Also, demand good customer service.
Today I got the very first customer service rep I got when I first contacted the registrar about my domain disappearing. I was reminding him that on that first day he told me everything was fixed after he changed my credit card expiration date, and that now today he told me everything was fixed after he changed my MX number. I then asked him if he should have changed the MX number that first day I had called, and if he could look to ensure that everything else looked okay so we could make sure the problem was completely resolved and nothing else still needed to be fixd. He told me, “Look lady, I talk to hundreds of customers a day. When I hang up the phone, I move on to my next call and I don’t even try to remember what I did. I may have changed the MX number then. If I said I fixed things then I probably did. Your domain is just one of millions, ya know.”
Well, suffice it to say I asked him several more questions, got even harsher and more caustic uninformational responses from him, and after several requests to speak to his supervisor I was finally transferred to the supervisor, who was much more helpful and discovered even more problems between the two controlling registrars than had been known before.
If I had not persisted with my questions, it’s likely I would still not have my domain on the road back to normal, and I would likely be making yet more calls tomorrow and the next day and the next day…to report problems still existed.
Your registrar is providing you with a very important service; to maintain your domain name. Demand that they provide good service, even if yours is only one of millions of domains!
Now I still have a lot more to learn about domain name issues…

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