Do you own a branded web domain to represent your organization or small business?
Are you sure?
It happens more often than expected, but domain registrations do expire. There are lots of reasons why your domain wouldn’t automatically renew. First, you might have no set it up to do so. In fact, you may not have set it up at all. If you’ve used a third party service to set up your web presence, and then severed ties, your domain could be at risk of expiring.
Risks of an expired domain
The main problem with an expired domain is that poachers exist that will scoop it up. They monitor and watch for expired domains and grab them as soon as they become available. They figure (rightly so), if anyone has ever used that domain, it is inherently more valuable than any other. Maybe you let it expire by accident and it will be critical to your business to get it back. They can charge exorbitant prices to return your domain to you. Once you’ve let your registration slip and someone else has paid for it, there is little you can do besides paying the “ransom” … or choosing a new domain.
What can you do about it?
The best thing you can do is to set your domain up with an auto-renewal setting. Most domains cost somewhere in the ballpark of $12/year. So, it’s not usually the cost that is a factor, just the set up. If you’ve severed ties with a design agency, ask them to transfer your domain to your own ownership. There are numerous domain registration companies that have step by step instructions on how to transfer domain ownership between entities. Once you own your domain, verify the configuration is set for auto-renewal. Then, rest easy knowing auto-pilot will take care of the $12 annual charge. Ensure any contracts explicitly state your domain ownership. Do this even if an agency bought it on your behalf and maintains your web presence.