Every year, millions of domains names expire. In too many cases it happens unintentionally, the owners miss the renewal notices for various reasons and they do not figure out that they are in the process of losing their prized domain until it is too late!
However, as business owners, we must admit that most inadvertent domain drops are the result of poor organization, inconsistent methodologies or a total lack of methodology in managing one’s domain portfolio.
Domains end up spread around multiple Registrars, each of them using different contact info to communicate with you. Sooner or later one of those email addresses or point-of-contacts is going to slip off your radar, and then eventually your domains there will go with it.
How To Own A Domain Name
Rule #1. Have all your domains in one basket.
Because expiring domains are so lucrative, many Domain Registrars actively mine the pipeline of their own customers’ expiring domains. They do this by monitoring the traffic to them during the expiry cycle and when the “good ones” are ready to go over the edge, they renew those domains at their own expense and then keep them, transfer them to a related party, or sell them off.
If possible, keep all your domain in one basket and try to develop a relationship with your Registrar. This is hard to do with some large companies where you will never talk to the same employee twice, and may be an argument for going with a smaller, more personalized company who can get to know you and you them.
People may be afraid to go with the smaller Registrar because they wonder about its viability going forward for the long term. They figure the big company may be impersonal, but they’re “too big to fail”, so their domains are “safe” with them. What you should know is that the governing bodies who oversee all Registrars have in-place procedures to provide continuity of service in the event of any Registrar failure.
Further, all Registrars are required to backup their customer domain data into a third-party data escrow service. In the event of a Registrar failure (large or small, for whatever reason), that Registrar’s customer domains will be transitioned to a new Registrar using the data in escrow.
So don’t fall for the “bigger is better” argument for Domain Registrars. There are numerous anecdotal cases (just search google on “Domain Registrar nightmares” or something similar, where a large bureaucratic Registrar “took down” a domain on the flimsiest pretext without putting any critical thought into what they were doing.
A good way to source out a Registrar is via a fairly simple 2-step checklist:
- Send them an email. See if you get a form response, a personalized response with some thought behind it, or any response at all.
- Call them on the phone. How long did you hang on hold? Was it voice-mail hell? How did they treat you when you finally got somebody on the phone.
The whole point of a Domain Registrar is that you can rely on them to interact with you promptly, courteously and professionally that one time when everything hinges on it (i.e. when you’re about to go on KTN to talk about your project and you realize the website domain is down).
Put Your Registrars Through the 2-Step Test, then Select a Single Registrar and Consolidate Your Domains There.
1. Send them an email. Gauge the Response in terms of response time, reading comprehension, genuine (not canned) responses and helpfulness.
2. Call them on the phone. Measure wait times, complexity of voicemail menu, demeanor and professionalism of your call agent.
Are they trying to help you or upsell you?