Whether by accident or purposely not renewing domain names, owners will neglect to renew domain names if they are careless.
Have you ever forgotten to renew a domain or lost ownership of domain names?
I can’t say that I have personally had the experience of losing ownership of a domain name due to inaccurate contact information or credit card information on file for the domain or outright theft.
However, I’ve read a number of stories where owners have committed the following errors:
- forgotten to update their contact information
- forgotten to update their credit card information for an expired credit card
- did not enable or set their domains to auto renew
- turned off their renewal notification emails
You name it, and I’ve read or know someone who has experienced it at one point in the many years of owning and developing domain names into viable businesses.
Ever so often I receive an email inquiring about a lost domain name that an inquirer states they were the previous owner.
As I would not want to ever find myself in a position of losing domain names I once owned, I try to work out deals with previous owners to get the domain name back in their possession.
But again, as crazy as life is, I understand things just happen in life.
Keep your contact and credit card information up to date and secure for all domain accounts
For instance, there was a gentleman that contacted me not to long ago about a domain name that he had lost and I won in a GoDaddy Auction.
He had previously owned the domain name for a few years.
Initially, I was a little skeptical by his email and claim to ownership.
So I did some research based on what he told me and to my surprise his story checked out.
The gentleman had been in prison for an unrelated crime, and his credit card information on file for the domain name had expired while in prison.
So once released from prison, he contacted me in an effort to get the domain back into his possession for a reasonable price.
In addition to the domain name he was contacting me about re-purchasing, he had unfortunately lost a few hundred domain names due to his credit card expiring while in prison.
As I stated, his story checked out.
Never wanting to toe the line of extortion and exploitation, or ever be put in his shoes as a domain owner of quite a few domain names myself, I ask him to prove that he previously owned the domain name with receipts of purchase and other valid information.
If he could prove previous ownership, although I had checked out the history of the domain name using DomainTools.com, then I would only ask that he pay me what I paid for the domain in auction.
And sure enough, he was able to present a GoDaddy account number as well as a legitimate receipt of purchase.
I did check with GoDaddy and they were able to confirm his ownership as well.
Fortunately for him, no one was out of money or a domain name. We made a clean swap of the domain name and funds.
This is the same opportunity I offer others as I know I would want the same to be done to me.
Anytime a previous owner contacts me, I typically try to work with them to get lost domain names back into their ownership.
Guard and protect your domain names and account at all costs
I’ve experienced a number of stories where people claim to have previously owned domain names in an effort to scam me and others.
Most of the time, these domain name hijackers and scammers try to hack your account or they try to plead with you that they owned the domain name – always stating a service or trade mark.
Yet they are unable to produce anything meaningful and legitimate documentation of previous ownership of the domain name.
That’s why it is important that you keep your contact information updated on all domain names you own.
Aim to always check your credit card and contact information on a quarterly, if not monthly, basis.
In some cases, you can also have your contact information protected using domain privacy services.
In addition, you should also setup pass codes and two-step authorization for domain name transfers.
Taking and putting these precautions into place will make it quite cumbersome for domain name hijackers and scammers to steal your precious domain names.
Enable email renewal notifications and auto renewal payment for domains
Take it one step further and ensure that you have your renewal notifications turned on as well as your auto renewal payment for domain names.
I can’t tell you how many people throw money down the drain on losing domain names when they don’t have too.
They lose phenomenal domain names on a daily because the neglect to enable renewal email notifications and payments.
I receive email renewals sometimes as much as 120 days from the domain name expiring.
And should I let it expire on purpose, I typically have roughly 40 days to retain ownership of the domain name although I’ll have to pay a domain reinstatement fee.
The amount of days you have to recover a domain name will vary based on who you registered your domain name with.
Nevertheless, I’m quite surprised with domain owners who turn off their email renewal notifications.
Having email renewal notifications disabled is like shooting yourself in the foot twice.
Beware of “previous owners” contacting you via a domain buying service
Most recently, I had a so called “previous owner” contact me via a domain buying service and accusing me of stealing “their” domain name.
It was stated via the domain broker that this person was operating a business on this domain name and somehow missed the 40-day grace period after the domain name expired.
How does this happen?
For what the domain name is worth as well as the exponential revenue it can generate, I purchased it for pennies on the dollar.
Now I know most of you are thinking, why not work out a deal with the person like I did with the previous guy that contacted me.
The short of the story is that I would have worked out the same deal of only paying me what I paid for it had they contacted me directly and not use a domain buying service.
I was contacted by a domain buying service hired by the “previous owner” and interfaced with the person’s domain broker.
Not sure where this saga will end up, but I do know that they are going to pay anywhere from 100 to 150 times as much as I paid for the domain name in auction.
Still lost? Let me explain.
Type in “who is” in a search engine and I’m sure you’ll find a few outlets to choose from. But I digress.
If a person really was the previous owner of a domain name, then why add a middle person in the mix such as a domain buying service and incur additional expenses of a service fee as well as commission.
Now why on God’s green earth would someone who lost a precious domain name by accident and can prove previous ownership want to hide behind a domain buying service? Exactly, they wouldn’t.
One of the only reasons for people to use domain buying services is to keep their identity anonymous as their true identity could have them paying 5-6 figure values for desired domain names.
So their chance for a fairly small transaction of a domain name at cost went out the window.
In their initial offering for the domain name, they shot low at $100.
I countered not really caring if they accepted the offer or not, because I already have plans to build and develop a lead generation website using the domain name.
A few days passed and the person countered my counter at $500 as well as had their domain broker call me. The domain broker and I chatted, and I let him know what my intentions were as did he.
The broker informed me that his client was the “previous owner” and was upset by allowing the domain name to accidentally expire. *BLINK, BLINK*
Nevertheless, I ended the call with a final offer that was substantially higher than the counter.
The point I’m making to you is if the person was truly the owner of the domain name and operated a website on the domain name that was their way of life, I think they would have, and if not they should have, scoured the internet high and low for a current domain name owner’s contact information.
After all, I, as well as others, don’t add privacy on domain names we own as we do want people who are interested in buying to contact us by phone and/or email.
That said, I’ll wait to see what happens with the domain name and whether the buyer counters or accepts the current offer.
I’ll have to let you know the outcome in another post.
Take action now to not experience the expensive lesson in losing domain names
I can’t express to you the importance of guarding your domain names as you would your social security.
As you would and should go through great lengths to protect your social security, you should do the same for your domain names.
Domain names are much like physical real estate.
Domains names are hard to come by in terms of the early 90’s pricing.
Domain names only tend to go up in value as days and years pass to the extent that domain names can only be leased and not purchased.
Just like not paying a mortgage or property taxes, a piece of land can be taken away from you.
The same can be said for virtual real estate in the form of domain names.
You don’t pay the measly fee of a latte to renew on an annual basis, then you’ll be forced to pay tens and hundreds of thousands to retain ownership of the domain name due to your carelessness.
It’s quite simple.
Keep your contact and credit card information current at all times and add the necessary privacy, passcodes and two-step authentications to your account to keep hackers and scammers at bay.
All it takes is one time for it to happen.
After all, the saying in life is “there is nothing like a bought lesson.”
When you pay and you pay with your own hard earned money for a preventable mistake and simple oversight, you always remember it and the pain it caused you emotionally and financially.
So do yourself a favor, and don’t lose another domain name at your own expense because of laziness and carelessness.